Does Rivian Have What It Takes To Follow In Tesla's Footsteps?

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Posted on EVANNEX on January 04, 2022, by Charles Morris

Of the new crop of EV startups, Rivian Automotive is widely considered one of the most promising, especially since the company raised a sizable pot of cash in a $11.9-billion stock offering in November. Now the company has announced plans to invest some of that war chest in a new $5-billion battery and assembly plant east of Atlanta, which is projected to employ 7,500 workers. 

Sources told AP that the headcount at the plant could grow to as many as 10,000, which would make it among the largest auto assembly complexes in the US. The deal is expected to be the largest industrial project in Georgia history, surpassing the 4,400-worker Kia complex that opened in West Point in 2009.

Founder and CEO Robert Scaringe told Bloomberg Television in November that the ability to recruit good workers [read: non-unionized workers] was the most important factor in the decision.

The state of Georgia is believed to have offered rich incentives to Rivian, which reportedly also considered factory sites in Texas, Arizona and Michigan. Georgia’s Mega Project Tax Credit could be worth $118 million in state income tax credits, and local governments may also reduce property taxes.

Rivian, like Tesla, sells directly to customers, and has no plans to build a dealership network. Georgia, like Texas, generally prohibits this sales model. We expect Rivian to work the political levers to try to change this state of affairs (as Tesla has been doing in Texas for years, so far without success).

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