Mitsubishi Motors | WGLT

Mitsubishi Motors

RJ on stage
Ryan Denham / WGLT

If all goes as planned, in a few years Rivian will be one of McLean County’s largest employers. Around 1,000 employees at its Normal manufacturing plant will be cranking out Rivian electric vehicles and skateboard platforms for other automakers.

But for now, local unions say Rivian isn’t being a good neighbor.

Wade Jensen in the plant
Ryan Denham / WGLT

Three years ago, Wade Jensen punched the clock for the last time at Mitsubishi’s manufacturing plant in Normal.

Rivian screenshot
Rivian / YouTube

Two years ago when Bloomington-Normal first met Rivian, it looked like a one-man band. R.J. Scaringe was seemingly the face, the brains, and the extent of the operation.

Not anymore.

Scaringe speaks at podium
Courtesy / Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council

When Rivian Automotive bought the shuttered Mitsubishi Motors plant in Normal, the company’s mystique was part of the excitement. Who was this MIT grad who wants to build electric vehicles here? What will the cars look like? Will it be like Tesla?