Tesla was the first US electric vehicle startup to temporarily close its factory in Shanghai because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tech giant Apple also closed all of its 42 stores in China to prevent the spread of the virus. Now that the deadly virus has reached the US and other parts of the world, Rivian, the Amazon and Ford backed auto startup, temporarily shuts down its factories and offices.
Rivian currently employs over 2,000 workers in various locations, including its major headquarters in Plymouth, Mich. It also closes its factory in Normal, Ill. Along with its operations in San Jose and Irvine, California. This site is where Rivian engineers are working on autonomous vehicle technology. The company has an office in the UK as well.
Last Friday, Rivian said that hourly and salaried employees would be paid despite the shutdown. For about a week, the majority of its facilities have between 2 and 5 percent occupancy, the company revealed. As per Rivian's spokesperson, the length of the shutdown is unknown at this time.
Presumably, Rivian would resume to its regular operation as soon as the COVID-19 pandemic is at a safe and manageable level. Tesla has faced a similar issue over the past week. However, it appears like it held out for as long as it could over the request from the government to shut down its facilities in the US temporarily.
But, like all other companies, Tesla also closed the doors of its factories in Fremont and New York recently. Unlike Tesla, which has been in the spotlight most of the time, Rivian spent most of its life shielded until in the late part of Nov 2018. It was during this time that the company unveiled it's the Rivian R1T and the Rivian R1S the all-electric pickup truck and SUV.
Following the official launch of the vehicles at the LA Auto Show, the electric vehicle startup attracted interest from various investors and customers. This includes auto giant Ford and the eCommerce giant Amazon. It also got an unprecedented number of preorders for the Rivian R1T and Rivian R1S.
Before 2019 ends, Rivian shared that it raised $1.3 billion of new funding, which is its fourth round of capital in 2019 alone. This happened following the company's announcements of $500 million from Ford, $350 million from Cox Automotive, and $700 million from Amazon. Rivian aims to release its all-electric pickup truck and all-electric SUV in the latter part of this year or next year.