Startup Rivian in talks to buy former Mitsubishi plant

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It’s been quite a few years since we last heard about startup automaker Rivian but the company is now making headlines again, this time with news that it’s in talks to buy the former Mitsubishi plant in Normal, Illinois.

A statement issued by the Illinois Department of Commerce outlines Rivian’s plans to reopen the plant in about five years and states that the company is developing a “portfolio of vehicles” as well as services to “advance the shift to sustainable mobility.” The statement also said that Rivian would invest $175 million in the plant by 2024.

Speaking with Reuters, Normal mayor Chris Koos said the plant was currently owned by liquidation service Maynards Industries which planned to dismantle it. He said those plans changed when Rivian started the talks to purchase it. Mitsubishi shuttered the plant in January.

Rivian was founded in 2009, originally as Avera, by a graduate of MIT’s Sloan Automotive Laboratory and set out to develop a fuel-efficient sports car. It’s since hired senior staff from the Detroit 3 automakers and is also reportedly developing self-driving technology.

It was previously reported that Rivian had also hired Peter Stevens, designer of the legendary McLaren F1 as well as models from Jaguar and Lotus. However, a company spokesman has denied the claim.

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