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Q&A: Tony Sanger discusses R2, Rivian’s future
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Several gathered at Madison Town Park in Morgan County to view the new Rivian vehicles, including the R2. - photo by Evan Newton

MORGAN COUNTY – Leaders from Rivian traveled to Morgan County on Friday to showcase the new R2, R3 and R3X vehicles that are in development.

Citizens got the chance to get a first-hand view of the three new vehicle models at Madison Town Park.

The vehicles, as well as Rivian in general, have been a major talking point statewide in recent months.

Back in March, the electric vehicle (EV) company announced its plans to suspend construction in the $5 billion Stanton Springs project and to shift the first line of R2 production to their facility in Normal, Illinois. This notably sparked doubt about the project’s long-term future.

However, correspondence between Rivian and the Joint Development Authority– which Newton County is a part of – and the State of Georgia suggest that Rivian will continue to move forward with the project.

During Friday’s showcase, The Covington News sat down with Tony Sanger, vice president of production facilities to get some insight on the new R2 vehicle as well as the EV company's future plans.

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The new Rivian R2 is expected to launch sometime in 2026 with a starting price point of $45,000. - photo by Evan Newton
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A look at the interior of the Rivian R2 - photo by Evan Newton

Q: What brings Rivian out to Madison [Morgan County] today?

Sanger: So we wanted to come out – it’s our community. We wanted to come and show the community out here what the new vehicles are that we’re gonna be producing here in Georgia when we come back from our pause.

It’s the R2 product that we’re gonna build in Illinois, but not at the volume we need to hit the mass market, so at some point in the very near future we need to pivot back and come build these here and build the R3’s here as well.

Q: When it comes to the R2, what makes it stand out?

Sanger: The R1’s are certainly our premium line, and the R2 is a product that is designed to hit the mass market that allows us to get the most vehicles out to the people at a price point that’s affordable.

Q: How can Georgians in particular benefit from this vehicle?

Sanger: I think it’s two-fold. One is the jobs that we’re gonna create in the community here. You know, really good, nice, technical high-paying jobs that’s gonna be good for the local economy.

And then it’s certainly an addressable vehicle that allows Georgia, you know you listen to the governor talk, he wants us to be the location for EV manufacturing. So it also needs to be the spot for EV usage.

Q: For those that do not know, why is Rivian pausing construction in Stanton Springs?

Sanger: The main reason for us is building the facility here in Georgia, it was basically completely greenfield. I had to bring all the infrastructure in, all the utilities in, had to bring all that in, whereas in Normal Illinois we already had those there and we had a facility that wasn’t at full capacity. So it just made a lot of good fiscal sense to pivot to Normal, add that capacity to Normal and then come back when we can build it here in earnest at the full capacity.

Q: Is there a projected timeline for Rivian’s return?

Sanger: It will be after our ramp. We are keenly aware of our obligations to the State and the JDA [Joint Development Authority] for when we need to have our facility up in the investments made.

Q: Some people are not happy with the Rivian project as a whole. What is Rivian planning on doing to meet some of those unhappy citizens in the middle?

Sanger: I think it’s a lot of events like we have today. You know, we want to be out and be seen in the market, make people understand what it is we are going to be doing and how we’re going to be doing it and I think that’s going to be key. It’s just being seen as the true members of the community that we wish to be.

Q: How excited are you for the future of Rivian?

Sanger: I’m very excited for the future of Rivian. I really am. My wife and I chose to live here in Morgan County. This is our home. This is where I really intend to put a really strong community in place.