Rivian battery supplier Samsung SDI is considering a new battery plant near the EV hopeful's Illinois factory, local NPR affiliate WGLT reported last week.
The report cites United States Senator Dick Durbin, who said Normal, home to Rivian's ex-Mitsubishi assembly plant, is a "finalist" for a planned Samsung battery factory. Durbin met virtually with Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe recently.
The project has been discussed for at least six months under the codename "Project Maximus," according to the report. Normal Mayor Chris Koos told WGLT that a local incentives package was in play, and the media outlet reported that the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) was involved, indicating that state-level incentives might be presented as well.
Samsung SDI is the sole battery supplier of Rivian's vehicles at launch, although Rivian hasn't said that it's using them exclusively. Rivian plans to launch retail vehicle production with the R1T pickup truck and R1S SUV, as well as delivery vans for Amazon. The e-commerce giant has said it plans to put 100,000 of these vans into service by 2030.
Samsung—with SK Innovation, LG Chem, and CATL—is also one of the four core battery suppliers Volkswagen has looked to in ramping up its mass-market MEB electric vehicle family globally. Although Samsung encountered issues in not being able to ramp up quickly enough for VW's targets.
The battery supplier announced last year that it's working on production-bound solid-state cell tech that would effectively double energy density. The initial supply for Rivian will use conventional lithium-ion chemistry, but Rivian packages its cells in an innovative way that allows necessary cooling, via a plate between two layers, while saving space.