UPDATE: Rivian confirms EV factory, thousands of jobs for Georgia
Rivian confirms it will build electric vehicle plant in Georgia.#UPDATE #Rivianconfirms #EVfactory #thousands #jobsGeorgia Rivian has been in talks for months to develop the East Atlanta Megasite along I-20. The site straddles Walton and Morgan counties, between the small communities of Social Circle and Rutledge. The land will become a northern extension of Stanton Springs, a giant industrial complex that includes a Takeda therapeutics factory and a Facebook data center.
Caption A map of the area where the Rivian plant will be located. Caption A map of the area where the Rivian plant will be located.
State officials cited the state’s focus on the EV industry, advanced manufacturing workforce, interstate and rail network and Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport among the factors behind choosing Georgia.
“We’ve all been preparing for a company and a project like Rivian for a very long time,” Kemp said. “The fact is we did not get here by accident. We knew Georgia could land a project like Rivian. We just needed to find the right fit.”
Rivian said it evaluated ”a variety of sites across the country, looking for the right partner and combination of sustainable business operations, talent pool and proximity to supply chain and logistics.”
Officials did not outline compensation for jobs at the future factory, but Rivian Chief People Officer Helen Russell said the company offers competitive pay and benefits and stock. “Every employee at Rivian owns a piece of the business,” she said.
Auto factories are among the most coveted economic development projects. They bring billions in investment, thousands of jobs on site and the likelihood of spinoff jobs from a network of suppliers. The Rivian plant comes with added cachet — a cutting-edge assembly center for EVs, which many believe are the future of the auto industry.
EVs make up just 2% of U.S. auto sales today but are expected to grow exponentially amid tightening fuel standards, lower costs of production and consumer shifts to more environmentally friendly transportation.
Irvine, California-based Rivian went public in November, and Wall Street values the company at nearly $100 billion, believing the Tesla rival can own a significant piece of the EV future.
Despite Rivian’s stock market capitalization topping automotive giants Ford and GM, it is still very much a startup. It said Thursday it has delivered only 386 vehicles to date and plans to deliver its first vans to Amazon this month. Rivian currently has one plant, located in Illinois.
It’s not immediately known what state and local incentives were used to entice Rivian, but the number is likely to be staggering. The Fort Worth City Council approved a $440 million tax incentive package this year to lure the plant to North Texas, according to The Dallas Morning News. That sum didn’t include offerings from the state of Texas.
In 2018, when Georgia landed the SK Battery America plant, which counts Ford and Volkswagen among its EV battery clients, state and local officials offered the South Korean company about $300 million in tax breaks, grants, free land and worker training. Rivian’s expected investment is twice as large as the $2.6 billion SK project.
Pat Wilson, the state’s economic development commissioner, said the Rivian package will resemble the one offered Kia 15 years ago, which totaled more than $400 million. Like with Kia, Wilson said the state will also provide a workforce training center.
Critics say automakers often pit states against one another in expensive bidding wars for plants when factors like workforce and supply chain play far bigger roles in a company’s decision-making.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution first reported Georgia’s pursuit of Rivian in July. In November, the AJC first reported Rivian was in late-stage negotiations for a site east of Atlanta while simultaneously in discussions with other states. And last week, the AJC first reported that the formal announcement of a Rivian plant would come this week.
The Rivian announcement is likely to provide a jolt to Kemp, facing a difficult reelection next year. Former U.S. Sen. David Perdue announced a Republican primary challenge, and if Kemp survives that bruising contest, a potential rematch with 2018 rival Stacey Abrams awaits.
Thursday’s celebration elicited bipartisan praise. Democrats see Rivian as the vanguard of a cleaner electric mobility future. President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda calls for billions of federal dollars to build charging networks and support EV development.
“My vision is that Georgia should lead the nation in renewable energy, and today’s announcement is a huge step forward,” said U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Georgia. “I thank our state’s leaders for working collaboratively to attract this investment.’’
Georgia Republicans, however, note a provision in the Democrats’ proposed Build Back Better legislation would give buyers an e