Rivian to receive $827 million incentive package from Illinois

EV maker put Georgia facility on hold in March. Illinois to provide subsidies in a 30-year deal to expand, keep thousands of jobs in city of Normal
Sabrina Eijan takes a photograph of the new Rivian R2 prototype that will eventually be made in Georgia at the Ponce City Market in Atlanta on April 27, 2024.  (Steve Schaefer / AJC)

Credit: Steve Schaefer /

Credit: Steve Schaefer /

Sabrina Eijan takes a photograph of the new Rivian R2 prototype that will eventually be made in Georgia at the Ponce City Market in Atlanta on April 27, 2024. (Steve Schaefer / AJC)

Electric vehicle maker Rivian, which in March paused vertical construction of its Georgia factory, is getting a nine-figure package of incentives to expand production in Illinois and start assembly of a crossover that was to have launched in the Peach State.

California-based Rivian said Thursday that Illinois has agreed to provide $827 million in subsidies to support expansion of its plant in the city of Normal in central Illinois to build the R2, a two-row vehicle that the automaker expects to be a volume seller.

Nearly two months ago, Rivian pumped the brakes on its Georgia factory east of Atlanta in a move the company said would save it more than $2.2 billion in the near term and help the company get the vehicle to market faster.

Rivian has weathered criticism from some Georgia lawmakers who have sought to punish the company for putting the project on hold. Gov. Brian Kemp has said Georgia will honor its commitments to the state’s second-largest economic development project, and he expects Rivian to honor its promises.

Georgia and local leaders provided Rivian with an incentive package of land, tax breaks, credits and other inducements valued at $1.5 billion in exchange for the company building the factory and hiring 7,500 workers. Most of the incentives, however, only accrue to Rivian if it meets its obligations.

The company has said it will still build the plant near Rutledge and meet its commitment to hire 7,500 workers by the 2030.

“These incentives support Rivian’s work to bring R2 to market quicker through our production ramp in Normal, allowing us to transition and quickly resume work in Georgia when the time is right,” Rivian spokesman Peebles Squire said Thursday.

Television station 25News in Illinois reported the incentives span 30 years with most of the support coming from tax credits. The station reported that Rivian must retain 6,000 workers in Normal during the term of the agreement.

Rivian expects to begin customer deliveries of the R2 in the first half of 2026. On Saturday, Rivian officials said at an Atlanta event that the company will expand R2 production and build two other smaller crossovers when it develops its factory along I-20 in southern Walton and Morgan counties. But the company has not given a firm date to restart development.

“By pivoting to Normal, we created some concern in the market and certainly with the legislators as to that we were abandoning Georgia,” said Tony Sanger, Rivian vice president of facilities. “And that’s not the case. The news here is we are not abandoning Georgia. We will be back.”

031024 Rutledge: Construction equipment sit at the Rivian electric vehicle factory site near Rutledge, east of Atlanta on March 10, 2024. Curtis Compton for the Atlanta Journal Constitution

Credit: Curtis Compton

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Credit: Curtis Compton

In Illinois, Rivian’s sole manufacturing plant produces the R1T truck, R1S SUV and electric delivery vans. The company has said it will expand the facility to produce the initial line of R2 crossovers.

Rivian has spent more than $2 billion to acquire and renovate a former Mitsubishi factory. The company said Thursday it will spend another $1.5 billion, 25News reported, and expand capacity to 215,000 vehicles per year.

“Illinois is positioned to be a powerhouse in this market for years to come, bringing quality jobs and revitalizing communities across the state,” Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said in a news release. “I want to thank our partners at Rivian, who have doubled down on their investment in Illinois. Together, we’re taking a tremendous step forward — for our electric vehicle ecosystem, for our economy, and for our state. Each and every dollar invested in this market is a win for the working people of Illinois and brings us a step closer to meeting our ambitious climate goals.”

Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe has also said Georgia remains important to the company’s expansion plans.

Since it put the Georgia project on hold, the state has pushed the EV maker to divulge how it will comply with terms of its land lease and incentive agreement amid the stoppage. These issues include site security, stabilizing graded land with vegetation and stormwater management.

On Saturday, Sanger said at the Atlanta event that the factory site is not dormant with workers performing some grading and other work to prepare for the restart of construction.

State Rep. Tim Fleming, R-Covington, who represents the area near the Rivian site, said he’d like a firm timeline for the restart of the Georgia factory.

“I appreciate the fact that Rivian now wants to be transparent with Georgia as they sent a letter last week reaffirming their commitment to build the R2 and R3 in Georgia,” Fleming said. “They are now getting $800 million from Illinois to build the R2 there. That seems like a lot of R2s.  Now that Rivian has received their incentives from Illinois, it would be great if they would give Georgia a definite timeline on when they will begin construction on the crown jewel of economic development sites in the Southeast here in Georgia.”

Cox Enterprises, which owns The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, owns about a 3% stake in Rivian.

-Staff writer Greg Bluestein contributed to this report.