Rivian running pilot production tests for its own battery factory
Following its failed battery joint venture with Samsung, electrick truck maker Rivian is nevertheless still planning to go ahead with a pilot battery production line in Korea, reports local media. Rivian intends to build its own battery Gigafactory in America instead of depending on the whims of suppliers and aims to expand power cells production for its electric vehicles there to a 100 GWh capacity by 2030. Unfortunately, the R1T and R1S trucks assembly delays prevented Rivian from purchase volume commitments, while its technology transfer demands were deemed "unacceptable," so its potential battery development and manufacturing partner Samsung gave up and formed such a joint venture with Stellantis instead.
Left to go its own way with the planned U.S. battery factory, Rivian still had to turn to Korean suppliers for the pilot run, as that's reportedly the only place with the capacity and the know-how to help it achieve its battery production goals at the moment. China's largest battery makers like CATL either lack the necessary skills, or their production facilities are booked for months ahead, whereas European or Japanese battery firms don't have the capacity or will for overseas expansion just yet, tip the industry insiders. According to one of Rivian's potential battery-making equipment suppliers in Korea:
Rivian plans to make a prismatic battery using a ternary cathode material in the United States... We have been continuously discussing battery design and production with our partners, and it is advantageous for battery production to increase the synergy effect with the Korean supplier industry.
Recently, a number of Rivian execs have visited Korea to tour the potential battery line facilities and prepare them for a pilot production run. They include Victor Prajapati - Senior Director of Cell Engineering at Rivian - as well as Mark Johnson, its Senior Engineer of Production. Another interesting figure mentioned in the report is Park Ki-tae, whose LinkedIn profile states that he is an ex-Samsung manager who now works in the U.S. and specializes in "Design of Manufacturing line (GWh scale)."
That's precisely what Rivian seems determined to build in the U.S., after it obtains the know-how and experience in battery production from Korean suppliers and manufacturers via its own pilot production line there. According to local industry insiders, this is Rivian's "strategy to speed up its own battery production by preparing a domestic pilot line and to achieve the electric vehicle production target early."