Rivian hires industry vet as it gears up to break ground on its next-gen EV plant

EV startup Rivian announced that Arnhelm Mittelbach has joined the team as its first Georgia plant manager. Mittlebach joins Rivian with over 20 years of experience at Mercedes-Benz as the EV maker prepares to break ground on its second EV plant.

Rivian will begin construction on its second manufacturing plant early next year in Georgia. The plant will be home to its next-gen R2 products.

The R2 products will be cheaper than its current electric models as it looks to expand its market. Rivian’s current R1T electric truck and R1S both start at over $70,000.

CEO RJ Scaringe said in June the R2 lineup will start at around $40,000 to $45,000. The R2 lineup will be unveiled next year.

The first production phase is also expected to begin next year, with around 200,000 annual capacity once complete. Rivian plans for a second phase, adding up to 400,000 annual EV capacity by the end of the decade.

Rivian is taking what it has learned from ramping the R1 series to simplify manufacturing with the R2 lineup. Although Scaringe said the R2 lineup will have “a very, very different vehicle architecture” than the R1, the company says it will “still be very much a Rivian.”

Rivian R1T (Source: Rivian)

Rivian hires ex-Mercedes exec as Georgia plant manager

Rivian announced Mittelbach began his role as Georgia plant manager on November 1. The former Mercedes-Benz executive will report directly to COO Frank Klein.

Mittelbach brings over 20 years of experience with Mercedes-Benz. He previously served as plant manager in East London, South Africa, and president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Vans in Charleston, SC. He also held several manufacturing roles in Germany.

Site plan for Rivian’s Georgia plant (Source: Rivian)

Klein said he is “thrilled” over the hiring, adding, “He brings tremendous experience in ramping up new factories and launching new products.”

Rivian launched an apprenticeship program last week to support the development of trained staff at its future site in Stanton Springs North, Georgia.

Exterior rendering of Rivian’s future Georgia facility (Source: Rivian)

Scaringe said the program will help “establish a pipeline of talent that will help us hit the ground running once the facility is operational.” The EV maker plans to employ around 7,500 people at the site by 2030.

Rivian recently hit another major milestone. Its Normal, Illinois, plant is now charging every new electric vehicle with 100% clean energy. Customers will soon begin receiving cars that have had their first charge entirely from wind and solar energy.

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