Ryan Denham

Ryan Denham started his career as a copy editor and later business and city government reporter at The Pantagraph in 2006. He later worked for WJBC radio in Bloomington. He now works in website development for Illinois State University and is a freelance reporter for WGLT.

Gas-powered pickups and SUVs now make up two-thirds of U.S. auto sales. But, until recently, truck buyers looking for an American-made electric-powered pickup would be out of luck. America's small electric vehicle fleet is just that — small, mostly cars and sedans. That's where a new startup automaker saw an opening.

Rivian plans to make battery-powered trucks and SUVs in a former auto plant in central Illinois. It's the same plant where Wade Jensen's career began three decades ago, when Mitsubishi and Chrysler teamed up there to build cars.