Fun Finds Friday: Coolest Thing Made in Illinois

[dot_recommends] April 29, 2022 Manufacturing Trends

Rivian R1T Electric Truck Won the "Coolest Thing" Contest

A Rivian R1T pickup truck goes over the side of a 45-degree embankment on a test track at the Normal automotive plant on Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021.


The Illinois Manufacturer’s Association announced that Rivian’s R1T truck won their 2022 Makers Madness Contest coolest thing made in Illinois contest.

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker presented James Chen, Rivian’s VP of public policy with the award.

The all electric pickup has a starting price of $67,500. Rivian recently reported production of 3,568 R1T trucks since start of production, and 2,553 in the first quarter of 2022.

So What’s Cool about the R1T Electric Pickup Truck?

These are some of the cool R1T features lised on the Rivian website:

  • All-Wheel Drive with 8 driving modes
  • Drives through 3+ feet of water
  • Rock crawls at a 100% grade
  • Traverses terrain with 14.9 inches of ground clearance
  • Tows up to 11,000 lbs.
  • Goes from 0-60 mph as quick as 3 seconds
  • Battery range between 260 – 400+ miles depending on the battery pack and motor


21st Century Jobs in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois

James Chen, Rivian’s vice president of public policy, accepted the award April 27, 2022.

Chen said, “Rivian’s mission, to keep the world adventurous forever, is based on the premise that technology, innovation, and collaboration can address our planet’s greatest challenges while also providing 21st century jobs that support our community and all who live in and around the Bloomington-Normal area.” According to local reporting in the Pantagraph.

In addition to the jobs in Illinois, Rivian is employing workers to build a nationwide DC fast charger network powered by renewable energy. Using this network of 10,000 chargers, Rivian drivers will be able to add up to 140 miles with a 20-minute charge. Other EVs that use the same plug will also have access to the charging stations.

Here at StratMg, our mission is to help save and create manufacturing jobs through sustainable growth, so I appreciate the emphasis on job creation by Rivian.

Built for Adventure

Rivian promotes the R1T as a truck build for adventure. “We’ve spent years researching in the field – hauling gear, loading bikes, wrestling wetsuits, cooking out, sleeping under the stars. In the end, these experiences resulted in a purpose-built truck equipped to handle any adventure.”

The 2022 Makers Madness competition was a bit of an adventure with 400 products entered in a bracket-style competition. Residents chose the winner through online voting for the “coolest” product made in Illinois. Over 200,000 votes were cast according to the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association.

We extend congratulations to Rivian and encourage you to share fun stories of manufacturing innovation with us. Let’s talk! Or, send us a message on LinkedIn or Tweet us.


Managing Partner

Image by Rivian



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With over two decades of experience, Parin leads an expert demand-generation agency, StratMg, that helps industrial manufacturing clients achieve unambiguous and quantified organic sales growth across the US, EMEA & APAC.

Parin has built & positioned StratMg to be a value-added marketing services provider that strives to create a culture of quantified sales-driven marketing initiatives leading to sustained business growth through channel management, diversification, new customer acquisition and retention strategies and tactical execution.

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