Amazon-backed EV maker Rivian in talks to build first international facility in the UK

Having emerged as a serious contender in the electric vehicle (EV) space and setting itself apart with a focus on heavy-duty trucks, US EV automaker Rivian is now looking at entering the UK. The company has been in talks with the British government about a potential car production facility outside of the US. With Amazon and Ford among its investors, the California-based company mulls expansion beyond the US and if the deal comes through, it will be the group’s first plant outside the US.

According to the exclusive report by Sky News, the Tesla of trucks is in talks with the UK government about the construction of a plant near Bristol. The talks are not yet at an advanced stage, and Britain is facing competition from rival proposals from Germany and the Netherlands.

Potential Bristol plant to buoy UK economy

The talks with ministers are understood to be focused on a facility to manufacture Rivian vehicles, rather than the batteries used to power them, although insiders said that the negotiations were fluid and could yet shift towards a gigafactory.

If the UK deal is finalised, it would be a major boost to the UK’s economy and of course, its automotive sector. Any investment decision is likely to be ultimately worth well over £1 billion.

The US carmaker had earlier this month raised $2.5 billion from investors earlier this month, taking the total sum it has raised since 2019 to a massive $10.5 billion.

Fiercely competitive EV space

With competitors such as Tesla, Lucid, Nikola and traditional automobile manufacturers that decide to adapt more to the EV space, the EV industry is just getting fiercely competitive.

The company was started in 2009 by Robert ‘RJ’ Scaringe. “As we near the start of vehicle production, it’s vital that we keep looking forward and pushing through to Rivian’s next phase of growth,” Rivian Chief Executive R.J. Scaringe had said in a statement earlier. “This infusion of funds will allow us to scale new vehicle programs, expand our domestic facility footprint and fuel international product rollout,” he added.

EV trucks on the anvil

Customer deliveries of its R1T electric trucks, which will sell from $67,500 (£48,500), are due to begin in the autumn – although they have faced previous delays. The group’s biggest customer to date is Amazon, which has placed an order for 100,000 EV trucks, production of which is scheduled to start this year.

A decision on whether to proceed with a plant in the UK or on the continent is expected in the next few months. However, it will be interesting to see the carmaker’s plans shape up as it mulls an IPO in New York in September and is also gearing up for its first EV launch later this year.