Rivian wants to open a factory near Bristol

Rivian wants to open a factory near Bristol

US electric carmaker Rivian has, according to a media report, been in negotiations with the British government for a number of weeks. The talks are apparently not at an advanced stage, but do concern the construction of an electric vehicle factory to the south of Bristol.

According to Sky News, with reference to industry contacts, Rivian has identified a 250-hectare campus called ‘Gravity’ as a potential location for its European factory. Sources in the article point to the early stage of talks, which apparently are already being held at ministerial level on the part of the British government.

Alternative locations competing for Rivian’s planned European plant are in the Netherlands and Germany - as well as Hungary if earlier reports hold water. If Rivian does decide on choosing the UK, the company would invest “well over a billion pounds” in the site.

The ‘Gravity’ industrial park is located south of Bristol near the Bristol Channel and is connected by the M5 motorway. The park offers companies the opportunity to buy or rent buildings and land, and describes itself as a “blueprint for a smarter, cleaner future”.

At present, Rivian’s European plans differ from its plans for its second US plant. The company is apparently planning a combined plant with vehicle and battery cell production as part of “Project Tera”. As Sky News puts it, talks for the possible plant near Bristol are said to “focus on a Rivian vehicle manufacturing facility rather than batteries” – but it is possible that negotiations “could still shift towards a Gigafactory”.

Rivian wants to deliver electric vehicles in Europe from the beginning of 2022, but it is far from certain which models will be built in the new European plant, wherever it does finally land. While there have been rumours about smaller models for Europe and China for some time, Rivian has made no official announcement as yet - although the company has secured naming rights for further models. Delivery of Rivian's electric vehicles in Europe will likely start with production from the US.

Rivian currently has a production facility in the in the US state of Illinois, where the company bought a former Mitsubishi plant in 2017. It is here that the electric transporters for Amazon and the two debut models R1S and R1T are assembled.

Olly Goodall

Author:Olly Goodall
Date Updated:3rd Aug 2021

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