Rivian considers opening factory in Bristol

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According to a media report, Rivian has been negotiating with the British government for several weeks about the construction of a plant near Bristol. However, the talks are not yet at an advanced stage.

This was reported by Sky News with reference to industry circles. According to the report, the US company has identified a 250-hectare campus called ‘Gravity’ as a possible location. However, the article does not give any further details about the planned plant and its possible scope.

The ‘Gravity’ industrial park describes itself as a “blueprint for a smarter, cleaner future”. The campus offers companies the opportunity to buy or rent buildings and land. The industrial park is located south of Bristol near the Bristol Channel and is connected to the M5 motorway. The operators have plans to revitalise the rail infrastructure around the site – this has apparently not yet happened.

However, the sources point to the early stage of talks, which are apparently already being held at ministerial level on the part of the British government. Possible alternative locations for Rivian’s planned European plant are in Germany and the Netherlands. Earlier reports on the possible European plant also mentioned Hungary as a potential location.

If Rivian chooses the UK, the company would invest “well over a billion pounds” (equivalent to around 1.17 billion euros) in the site. “Sky News” sees a “further major boost for the country’s automotive sector” in the event of a positive decision – after Nissan and Vauxhall owner Stellantis had already recently confirmed their intention to continue operating their UK plants and to convert them for electric mobility.

As things stand, however, the European plans differ from those for Rivian’s second US plant. Rivian is planning a combined plant with vehicle and battery cell production as part of “Project Tera”. As Sky News now writes, 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”.

Currently, Rivian Automotive has a production facility in the US: in 2017, the company had bought a former Mitsubishi plant in Normal in the US state of Illinois. The electric transporters for Amazon and the two debut models R1S and R1T are assembled there.

It is not yet known which models will be built in the European plant. Rivian also wants to deliver its vehicles in Europe from the beginning of 2022, but initially probably still from US production. There have been rumours about smaller models for Europe and China for some time, but no official announcement yet. It is known, however, that Rivian has secured the naming rights for further models.



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