Rivian | WGLT

Rivian

WGLT is following every move at the Rivian manufacturing plant in Normal. The electric vehicle startup has gone from stealth mode to big-time player in the auto world, attracting attention (and big money) from companies like Ford and Amazon.

Rivian plant from the sky
Rivian

Rivian has attracted another large investment, this time $350 million from Cox Automotive.

EV charging stations
David Zalubowski / AP

The shift from gas-powered to electric vehicles will accelerate in the next five years as the number of available EV models grows rapidly—including more SUVs and crossovers—and a fast-charging infrastructure is built out, according to an EV expert.

Joni Painter and Tari Renner
Eric Stock / WGLT

Bloomington City Council members on Monday rejected two of Mayor Tari Renner’s appointments to the city’s transportation commission, amid claims the city should try harder to place applicants on the boards they requested to serve.

Mitsubishi Motorway sign
Eric Stock / WGLT

Bloomington city staff expects a vote on a proposed highway name change to be a formality, even though it sparked debate in Normal last month.

Charging station at Rivian plant
Eric Stock / WGLT

The future of driving will be a system of systems: Cars talking to other cars talking to road sensors talking to traffic signals talking to nearby businesses.

screen with council agenda item.
Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

The Normal Town Council voted Monday to rename Mitsubishi Motorway for Rivian, which now owns the plant along that west-side road. It was a 4-2 vote.

Rivian plant exterior
Ryan Denham / WGLT

The Bloomington-Normal driving public might have to get used to a new name for a prominent road.

RJ and Alex
Rivian / YouTube

UPDATED 12:10 p.m. | The electric automaker Rivian has announced two new sustainability efforts, including plans to grow food outside its Normal manufacturing plant that will be served to its employees.

Worker welding
Jeff Smudde / WGLT

A new report makes the case that manufacturing is still a vital cog in Illinois’ economic engine—especially downstate.

Skillicorn at a podium
Courtesy

A state lawmaker is using Rivian to attack a plan to raise electric-vehicle registration fees to fund part of a massive infrastructure spending program.

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.

Mike, Mark, and John
Mary Cullen / WGLT

Every year leaders across McLean County gather to discuss the State of the County. This year, the county celebrated Rivian and Brandt Industries for providing continued economic development.

Rivian plant from the sky
Rivian

Local schools and other taxing bodies will be getting some unexpected tax revenue from Rivian after the electric vehicle startup failed to meet its minimum capital investment amount for 2018.

Rivian skateboard and SUV
Ryan Denham / WGLT

An auto industry expert says Rivian’s partnership with Ford is good news for both companies—and possibly for the Bloomington-Normal economy too.

Bill Ford and RJ Scaringe
Ford Motor Co.

Ford plans to invest $500 million in Rivian and use the electric vehicle startup’s skateboard platform to build a new battery-powered vehicle, the companies announced Wednesday.

Rivian plant exterior
Ryan Denham / WGLT

Work is underway on the $1.3 million first phase of a major office remodel at the Rivian plant in Normal.

RJ with SUV
Ryan Denham / WGLT

UPDATED 2:50 p.m. | Rivian has announced online shopping giant Amazon is leading a $700 million equity investment in the electric vehicle startup in Normal.

Amazon Prime truck
Ryan Denham / WGLT

This week’s Reuters report that GM and Amazon are considering investments in the electric startup Rivian raises all sorts of questions.

Why? How much? And what does this mean for Bloomington-Normal?

RJ with SUV
Ryan Denham / WGLT

UPDATED 9 a.m. | Amazon and General Motors are considering making investments in Rivian that would give them minority stakes in the electric vehicle startup, according to a published report.

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.

RJ with SUV
Ryan Denham / WGLT

When you watch Rivian’s promotional videos, their electric vehicles are always speeding across the beach, winding through a forest, or heading to some sort of adventure.

That’s not Steve Smieszek.

Jim and RJ
Ryan Denham / WGLT

There's no guarantee of success in the auto industry, especially for an electric vehicle startup like Rivian. But there was a moment when John Shook from Rivian's board of directors knew it was in good hands.

Rivian signage
Ryan Denham / WGLT

This week in a packed LA Auto Show presentation room, the crowd hooped and hollered when Rivian’s electric pickup and SUV pulled on stage for their big debut.

Crowd swarms pickup
Ryan Denham / WGLT

The electric automaker Rivian earned a lot of good press, consumer curiosity, and even a few jaw-drops this week as its pickup and SUV were finally revealed at the LA Auto Show.

But will those translate into sales?

SUV and pickup
Ryan Denham / WGLT

UPDATED 7:40 p.m. | Rivian made a big splash Tuesday at the LA Auto Show as it revealed its electric SUV and made the case that it’s positioned to succeed where many other EV startups have not.

RJ with the pickup truck in LA
Ryan Denham

Rivian wowed a crowd of investors and other VIPs on Monday as the EV startup’s pickup made its first public appearance under—and in front of—the stars in Los Angeles. 

Rivian Automotive

Illinois lawmakers are among those stakeholders trying to figure out how to best position the state to get economic opportunities, but also how to take a common sense approach to regulation, and public safety while moving toward people sharing the road with autonomous vehicles.

State Representative Tom Demmer (R) represents the 90th district in north central Illinois. He's a co sponsor of the early legislation already made law on this topic. Demmer said the debate is not particularly partisan, but it IS complicated.

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