Rivian is opening a retail space in Atlanta to promote electric vehicles
ATLANTA (AP) — Rivian Automotive confirmed Thursday that it will move forward with building a factory in Georgia early next year.
The California-based electric truck company announced it is opening a retail location in an Atlanta development, the eighth in a network of what the company calls “spaces” being rolled out in select locations nationwide. The company plans to establish additional locations in Colorado, Texas and California in the coming months.
Customers can’t buy a truck or SUV at Rivian’s Atlanta location, as the company only sells online to evade Georgia rules that require automakers to have dealers. But the company is hoping people who have already reserved a Rivian vehicle or are considering purchasing one will stop by to learn about electric vehicles, climb inside, take a test drive, and even purchase a Rivian-branded jacket or backpack.
“We’re selling a physical product, so people want to actually try it,” said Denise Cherry, director of design and retail development at Rivian. “That’s human nature.”
Rivian currently produces its R1T pickup truck and R1S SUV at a factory in Normal, Illinois. The car is currently priced at more than $70,000 per piece. It plans to establish a $5 billion manufacturing complex at the east Atlanta site, where it will produce lower-priced R2 vehicles aimed at the mass market. The company is supposed to eventually hire 7,500 employees at the site near the social circle, where the dirt is supposed to be graded by the end of the year.
“We are pleased with the progress we have made so far,” Cherry said. “I mean we’re almost done with the rankings.”
The first phase of the Rivian factory is supposed to produce 200,000 vehicles annually, with production starting in 2024, and the second phase, capable of producing another 200,000 vehicles annually, will be completed by 2030. The design of the R2 will be revealed next year, according to Rivian. Thursday, officials said.
State and local governments have offered Rivian an incentive package worth about $1.5 billion. The company’s deadline to complete its investment and hiring under that deal was extended to 2030 earlier this year, as Rivian said it would slow the pace of capital investment, and as neighbors opposed to development of the Georgia site continued to pursue legal challenges. The company generated billions of dollars in cash through an initial public offering in 2021 but has faced questions about achieving profitability.
The Rivian space at Atlanta’s Ponce City Market is intended in part to ease potential buyers’ concerns about whether they’ll easily be able to take long trips in a Rivian truck while it’s charging, with a diagram of potential trips on the wall.
“We want you to understand how to take your family on a road trip, what charging looks like, and how we start to break down some of those barriers to electric vehicle adoption,” Cherry said.