Emerging electric vehicle manufacturer Rivian accelerated production by 67% in the third quarter, with more than 7,300 electric trucks rolling off the line at its Normal plant.
Rivian, which has seen a slower-than-expected ramp-up amid global semiconductor shortages, is on track to build a reduced target of 25,000 vehicles in its first full year of production, the company said in a press release Monday. .
The California-based company launched production at the converted Mitsubishi factory in September 2021. The plant, which has more than 6,000 employees and an annual capacity of 150,000 vehicles, has built 14,317 vehicles this year, including pickup trucks. R1T, R1S SUVs, and Amazon delivery vans. .
But production jumped from 4,401 vehicles in the second quarter to 7,363 during the third quarter, and the company said it “believes it is on track” to make 25,000 vehicles this year. Rivian delivered 6,584 vehicles during the third quarter, the company said.
While it has generated solid demand for its inaugural products, Rivian has struggled to keep up with demand. The company had more than 98,000 orders for its R1T truck and R1S SUV as of June 30. Amazon, an early investor in Rivian, ordered 100,000 commercial electric delivery vans, which began to hit the road in Chicago and other cities in July.
Electric vehicle sales, which accounted for 2.6% of the US car market in 2021, are forecast to nearly double this year to a 5% market share, according to the car shopping website Edmunds. Demand has been boosted by rising gasoline prices, but electric vehicles are generally more expensive than combustion engine vehicles. The national average price for an EV in August was $61,955, compared to $47,195 for all vehicles, Edmunds said.
President Joe Biden’s landmark climate bill, which was signed into law in August, is also likely to boost demand for electric vehicles. It includes an extension of the $7,500 federal tax credit for electric vehicle purchases, but sets a cap that would make trucks and SUVs priced over $80,000 ineligible. That would remove most Rivian sales from the mix for the tax credit starting next year.
Rivian, which bought the dormant Mitsubishi plant for $16 million in 2017, completed an extensive renovation last year, turning on the lights on a 3.3 million-square-foot factory and breathing new life into Normal, a college town about 130 miles south of Chicago. .
The company previously said it would hire an additional 1,500 workers and add a second shift at the Normal plant by the end of the third quarter. A spokesman did not provide an update on those plans on Tuesday.
Rivian is also building a second $5 billion assembly plant in Georgia, which is scheduled to produce its next-generation EV on the smaller R2 platform starting in 2025. Last week, a Georgia judge rejected a deal that would have provided a large property tax break to build the plant.