Rivian | WGLT


The Constitution Trail soon will connect a Route 66 landmark in Normal to a stretch of the historic road that winds north to Towanda as a bike path.

During its virtual meeting Monday, the Normal Town Council approved the Kelley Basin-Route 66 Trail Connection Project on a 6-1 vote. Council member Stan Nord was the only “no” vote.

Rivian Automotive sign
Eric Stock / WGLT

The Illinois car dealer lawsuit against electric automaker Rivian is the latest chapter in a nationwide debate over the options consumers have to buy cars.

Neighbors of the Rivian plant in Normal are concerned a proposed expansion could threaten the area’s rural tranquility.

The electric automaker has plans to expand onto a 380-acre parcel of land on the west side of Rivian Motorway, across the road from the existing plant. The parcel is currently zoned agricultural and would be reclassified as manufacturing if approved by the Town of Normal. 

Fence around home construction
Eric Stock / WGLT

Rivian's announcement that it plans to hire 1,800 workers at its electric vehicle plant in Normal by the end of the year has real estate agents and homebuilders scrambling to make sure there are enough places for those workers to live in Bloomington-Normal.

Candidates competing for three open seats on the Normal Town Council sparred Thursday over how best to handle town finances and infrastructure, future development, and whether divisive politics is tainting town governance.

Pantagraph Media hosted the forum, moderated by Central Illinois Editor Chris Coates. He asked candidates what they viewed as Normal’s recent successes, what policy ideas they’d bring to the table if elected, and how they’d prioritize infrastructure funding, among other questions.   

Normal City Hall
Staff / WGLT

The job of a Normal Town Council member doesn’t pay much. It comes with a lot of headaches. It takes a lot of work to listen to residents and translate that into policy. Yet nine people are running for election to three positions on April 6.

Rivian Automotive sign
Eric Stock / WGLT

A group of Illinois car dealers has filed a lawsuit against Rivian and Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, alleging that plans to sell electric vehicles directly to consumers—without going through a dealer—are illegal.

Rivian plant from the sky

Rivian continues to ramp up hiring as the start of production approaches in June. The electric vehicle maker will begin manufacturing vans, trucks, and SUVs over the summer and early autumn.

a map of the Rivian plant and area
Rivian filing with the Town of Normal

The electric automaker Rivian is preparing for the possibility of adding up to 10.6 million square feet of new space at its plant in Normal.

Elon Musk
Mark Lennihan / AP

The electric automaker Rivian already has raised billions of dollars from the likes of Amazon and Ford. Why would it want to go public?

Rivian Amazon van
Business Wire

Amazon's first Rivian-made electric delivery vans are now being tested in Los Angeles.

Rivian truck
Megan McGowan / WGLT

The electric automaker Rivian has brought in another $2.65 billion in a new investment round as it prepares to begin production in Normal.

Cars in a parking lot
Gene J. Puskar / AP

Auto insurers and carmakers must overcome corporate secrecy concerns and find a way to collaborate on data-sharing to facilitate the shift to higher levels of autonomous driving.

Chevy Volt
Megan McGowan / WGLT

An Illinois Commerce Commission member says regulators are ready and willing to work with utilities to smooth out the road toward vehicle electrification.

Emily Bollinger / WGLT

Unit 5 schools will receive $1 million in free COVID-19 testing. It's a joint donation from electric vehicle manufacturer Rivian and testing company Reditus Laboratories.

Rivian truck in a parking lot

Don’t be surprised if you see Rivian vehicles—and even founder and CEO R.J. Scaringe—popping up more often around Bloomington-Normal in the coming weeks and months.

Rivian sign and plant photo
WGLT file photo

Rivian has leased the Phoenix Investors warehouse in north Normal as part of its ramp-up to production.

Rivian vehicle

Rivian customers learned more Wednesday about the color and customization options and hands-free driving capability of their new vehicles, which are expected to start hitting the road in about eight months.

Chevy Volt
Staff / WGLT

Ameren Illinois says it plans to help build out a network of public electric vehicle charging stations, including some in Rivian’s backyard here in central Illinois.

Elon with the truck
Ringo H.W. Chiu / AP

The friendly rivalry between Tesla and Rivian is not so friendly anymore.

Rivian truck in yellow
Rivian / Twitter

The electric automaker Rivian has pulled in another $2.5 billion—its largest single investment round to date—as it prepares to begin production in Normal.

Rachael speaks
IBEW Local 197 / Twitter

Union leaders are calling on local governments to do more to protect workers the next time they offer tax incentive agreements to companies.

construction site at Rivian

Rivian has submitted plans to the Town of Normal for two building additions that would add nearly 500,000 square feet to its facility as the electric vehicle company prepares to begin production.

Exterior of Rivian plant
Eric Stock / WGLT

Rivian says it plans to hire up to 40 employees by the end of the year to staff its new customer engagement center in Normal.

Rivian truck on a street
Rivian / Facebook

Bloomington-Normal may soon have another insurance company: Rivian.

Normal signage
Staff / WGLT

Projections made by the Town of Normal’s finance department anticipate a $10.4 million loss in the general fund, but officials say a strong fiscal position entering the pandemic will enable the town to get through the economic downturn.

RJ Scaringe
Carlos Delgado/AP Images for Rivian

Rivian founder and CEO RJ Scaringe said his company will not be seeking the $1 million grant that it was owed from the Town of Normal, saying “the funds would better serve our community by remaining with the municipality."

Lincoln Motor Company logo is shown at the North American International Auto Show in Detroi
Paul Sancya / AP

UPDATED 5:50 p.m. | The Lincoln Motor Co. said Tuesday it will not proceed with development of a new electric vehicle based on Rivian's skateboard platform, citing "the current environment."

Rivian Automotive sign
Eric Stock / WGLT

UPDATED 4:15 p.m. | The electric automaker Rivian will be able to claim its local property-tax breaks after meeting the minimum hiring and plant investment thresholds for the 2019 tax year, officials said.

Workers inside the plant
YouTube / Rivian

The coronavirus pandemic will delay the launch schedule for Rivian’s first electric trucks and SUVs being made in Normal.