April 1 is a day notorious for lighthearted and satirical jokes that Tesla CEO Elon Musk has taken advantage of in the past. This year, the Normal, Il Fire Department decided to get a bit creative with its April Fools’ joke, posting a photoshopped image of Rivian’s Amazon delivery vans for a supposed “R1A Ambulance.” The vehicle will reportedly be deployed in the area, which happens to be the home of the electric truck maker’s production facility.
The Normal Fire Department tweeted a picture of the fictional emergency vehicle to its Twitter account on April 1. While photoshopped, the fictional vehicle looked compelling, complete with official insignias and a concept for its interior. Normal’s Fire Department noted on a post on its official Facebook page that “The Rivian R1A Ambulance will be built on a similar frame and body as the Amazon.com Prime delivery fleet that will be built at the Normal, Illinois automotive plant.”
In addition to the tweet showing the exterior of the Rivian-built emergency vehicle, the Normal Fire Department added pictures of the interior of the emergency van in a Facebook post. These pictures rounded out the perfectly timed and tastefully detailed joke, giving the impression that the Normal FD would be transitioning to a fleet of electric ambulances.
As the unsuspecting fell prey to its April Fools’ prank, the Normal Fire Department eventually explained that its “Rivian R1A” post was in fact a joke. “Normally, we don’t have to put out a ‘April Fools’ because our ideas are pretty far fetched, but apparently our electric ambulance was gaining some media attention so wanted to make sure everyone knew that it is absolutely, 100% NOT REAL. Thanks for playing along, @Rivian,” the department’s Twitter wrote in a later post.
During this challenging time, it’s good to come together and find humor and compassion, especially while many of us are stuck at home. The lighthearted nature of the Normal FD’s April Fools’ joke solidifies the fact that many of us can continue to find points in a new environment where positivity is hard to come by. April Fools is a time to lighten our spirits, and the Normal Fire Department certainly deserves kudos as they’ve put a smile on many faces with this well-timed joke.
As for Rivian, the electric truck maker recently released an update on the construction of its production facility located in Normal, Illinois. The update was filmed just before the company temporarily shut down facilities to “help slow the spread of COVID-19,” more commonly known as the coronavirus.
Rivian labeled its video as a “Progress Report,” where numerous workers inside the plant detail what the company is currently doing to get the two-and-a-half-million square foot facility prepared to begin building all-electric pickups and SUVs starting in early 2021. Rivian will initially build around 20,000 to 40,000 R1T and R1S vehicles at the plant starting next year.
A worker navigating the site recognizes the facility as a “construction project that is soon to be a car plant.” While the coronavirus has halted the work at the plant temporarily, Rivian did not indicate that the pause in construction would push back delivery dates for any of its vehicles. The facility was formerly a manufacturing plant owned by Japanese carmaker Mitsubishi that was purchased for $16 million in January 2017.
Watch Rivian’s update of its production plant in Normal, Illinois, below.