Rivian Plans Major Plant Expansion In Normal

EyeOnRivian

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tl;dr

* Rivian submitted plans for two building additions. 262,000 sq ft for battery shop. 210,000 sq ft to expand body shop for R1T and R1S.
* Increased demand for its vehicles for both consumer and commercial use
* Plant Communication Manager Zach Dietmeier said Rivian expects to have the latest expansions done by January 2021.
* Dietmeier said ... Rivian plans to begin production sometime in 2021. He said the pickup truck would be produced first and the SUV would roll off the assembly line a few months later.

I know the January 2021 target date is for the expanded space and they can have the existing areas of the plant ready to go, but I can't help but wonder how much time will be needed to do iterations of: test production runs, test the vehicles, tweak the production line, repeat.

Not too long ago I read (don't recall where) production launch was pushed to end of first quarter 2021. Now, I'm thinking it will be later than that. And so much for maybe the R1S launching closer to the R1T launch date as some have postulated in this forum. For the sake of sanity I'm just personally going to push this out at least another year from today in my head. If it happens sooner, great. If not, well, who knows, maybe I'll be driving a different EV by then.
 

Mjhirsch78

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Yeah. The waiting is hard. So many companies are pushing back dates. If it gets to me by the end of next summer I’ll be happy. It is exciting that they are expanding, but I want my flippin’ truck!!
 

Pherdnut

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OR, they keep getting more preorders in spite of Covid and they need more space to continue new line expansion to meet demand through 2021. That starts with contractors building the spaces. I don't see why that would delay the rest of the operation. If they get to crash tests by fall, My bet's still on Q1.
 

EyeOnRivian

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If they get to crash tests by fall,
I'm predicating my guesstimate on my understanding that independent safety and crash test organizations (e.g. NHSTA, IIHS) require the vehicle to test is from auto manufacturer's production assembly line. And of course this also assumes Rivian wants these ratings before they launch. Based on that and the two plant building additions are for the battery and the other for the R1T and R1S and won't be ready until Jan 2021, I don't see how they can be tested before that.

Also, I don't see Rivian on NHSTA's vehicle test schedule for 2020, though this list might be for existing vehicles with a new model year. Plus, an auto manufacture can request (versus being selected) for testing which might also not appear on this list.
 

Pherdnut

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Pre-Covid they were talking tests by end of 2nd Q, IIRC. I think they were expecting to have their first line up and running by about now. So they were 2-3 months away before the factory shut down? I'm still wrapping my head around the early build-out of the plant though. Does this increase the plant's capacity beyond 250k a year? Why would they need the extra space so soon? Maybe Amazon van production is space-hungry? Or are they planning to be maxing capacity in their existing space a lot sooner than expected? Like maybe they've got 100k+ orders to fill and their original 20k first-year plans just weren't going to cut it. I think they said 20k way back, like before they got the bonkers investment capital from everybody.
 
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