Rivian hires Tesla battery manager

In less than a week, Elon Musk lost two of his most brilliant engineers: after the departure of engineering director Joseph Mardall towards the medical products drone startup Zipline, it was the turn of the engineer in charge of the development and manufacture of batteries Victor Prajapati brings his expertise to Rivian, the startup of electric pickup trucks and SUVs.

Unlike Mardall, Victor Prajapati will bring the experience gained from Tesla to a direct rival of Elon Musk. The company has received robust contributions: Ford has already invested US$ 500 million in the startup, while Amazon, in addition to putting US$ 700 million in the company, ordered 100,000 electric vans.

Prajapati joined Tesla at a time when production, in Musk’s words, was in “hell”, managing to make vehicle delivery jump from ten to three thousand units a week. , from the production of electric cells, which now come out of a pilot line of the automaker.

direct competition

Today, Rivian has more than a thousand employees at a plant in the state of Illinois, USA. In addition to pickup trucks and electric SVUs (like the Rivian R1T, competing directly with Tesla’s Cybertruck), the automaker must also trouble Elon Musk in another niche.

As Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe told Reuters in December, the company plans to sell passenger cars to China and the European market, with local production – that is, the automaker will have at least two plants outside the US.

The search for Tesla professionals is not new: Rivian has already taken Carrington Bradley, a former senior manager of charger deployment, to head the sector whose product competes directly with Tesla Supercharger, and Kit Ahuja, former manager for Development from Global Business, to be director of the Rivian Adventure Network.

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