RJ Scaringe, CEO of Rivian, presents his company’s all-electric R1T pickup truck at the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, California, United States, November 27, 2018. REUTERS / Mike Blake

WASHINGTON / DETROIT, July 27 (Reuters) – Rivian, backed by Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O), plans to invest $ 5 billion initially in its second electric vehicle assembly plant in the United States, according to a company document shared with state economic development officials.

The plant, dubbed “Project Tera,” requires around 10,000 acres of land according to a revised economic development document seen by Reuters, but economic development officials said it would be highly unlikely to find such large land. The initial proposal seen by Reuters did not identify Rivian by name and indicated that the facility required only 2,000 acres. By comparison, BMW’s assembly plant (BMWG.DE) in South Carolina spans approximately 1,200 acres.

The target date for starting production at the Rivian plant is the second quarter of 2023, with construction starting in fall 2021, according to the revised proposal. However, several people familiar with the matter have said the COVID-19 pandemic will likely delay that timeline for up to six months.

Rivian declined to comment.

Automakers are fighting to develop electric vehicles, as China, Europe and other countries and regions impose lower carbon emissions. In the United States, traditional automakers like General Motors Co (GM.N) and Ford Motor Co (FN) are retrofitting factories for the production of electric vehicles, while Tesla Inc (TSLA.O), the Taiwanese subcontractor Foxconn (2317.TW) and several startups have existing factories or are in the process of building them.

The location of the new Rivian plant has not been identified, but among the sites under consideration is land east of Mesa, Ariz., Near Gold Canyon, two people familiar with the matter said. . Rivian chief executive RJ Scaringe spoke with Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey about the project, one of the sources said.

Officials from Ducey’s office and the Arizona Commerce Authority were unable to reach us for comment. The Greater Phoenix Economic Council declined to comment.

Arizona has proven popular in the auto industry due to lower taxes and the cost of living, as well as a lack of hurricanes, floods and other catastrophic weather conditions that have affected factories. in other regions. Rivian already has a small engineering and testing facility in Wittmann, about 35 miles northeast of Phoenix.

In Pinal County, Arizona, in an area dubbed the Arizona Innovation and Technology Corridor, startups EV Lucid Group Inc (LCID.O) and Nikola Corp (NKLA.O) have opened or are building assembly plants, while that Nissan Motor Co (7201.T) and Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE) have vehicle testing grounds.

Pinal County officials said they looked forward to attracting more green power projects in the future, but declined to comment on the possibility of the Rivian plant.

Last week, Reuters, citing anonymous sources, reported that Rivian was planning to build a second US plant that would include the production of battery cells, and that it could be announced in September and inaugurated next year. Rivian confirmed at the time that he was exploring locations to track his Normal, Illinois plant, but declined to provide further details. Read more

The second plant will increase the company’s capacity and include a 50 gigawatt hour (GWh) battery cell production operation built in several phases, as well as a product and technology center, according to the 12 revised request for proposal. pages sent to states.

“The company recognized that future production and product plans will not be fully met by the current capacity of the Rivian plant in Normal, Ill.,” Rivian said in the document.

In addition to an initial investment of around $ 5 billion, the plant “would support more than 10,000 jobs,” according to the document. Companies often include jobs created indirectly by a project in their estimates, economic development officials said.

Other car makers have partnered with battery makers for cell production. Samsung SDI Co (006400.KS) supplies battery cells to Rivian, Illinois.

California-based Rivian, also backed by Ford Motor and T. Rowe Price (TROW.O), aims to compete when it deploys its R1T pickup and R1S SUV, as well as a delivery van for Amazon. Rivian will seek a valuation of more than $ 50 billion on a potential public listing later this year, a source told Reuters.

Rivian has raised $ 10.5 billion since the start of 2019, including $ 2.5 billion last week. Read more

This year has not been without challenges for Rivian, however, as CEO Scaringe told customers earlier this month that the pandemic has delayed the launch of his vehicles. Read more

Reporting by David Shepardson in Washington and Paul Lienert in Detroit Writing and additional reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit Editing by Matthew Lewis

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