Immediately after COVID-19 hold off, Rivian plans selecting surge for June start of electric truck. But legal struggle with Tesla looms

Set back again nearly a year by the pandemic, electric truck startup Rivian is occupied

Set back again nearly a year by the pandemic, electric truck startup Rivian is occupied making out its plant in Typical, with a belated production launch now prepared for subsequent summer months.



a man in a police car parked in a parking lot: The R1T Truck is on display as people gather during an open house and hiring event hosted by Rivian on Oct. 13, 2019 in Normal, Illinois.


© Camille Great/Chicago Tribune/TNS
The R1T Truck is on display as individuals acquire throughout an open up residence and using the services of function hosted by Rivian on Oct. 13, 2019 in Standard, Illinois.

But the program to provide 1000’s of careers to the rural university town about 130 miles south of Chicago has hit some bumps in the street, which includes a lawsuit from Tesla alleging Rivian is poaching workers and thieving trade secrets and techniques.

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The Rivian plant has a lot more robots (500) than staff members (400), but the human ranks are predicted to swell to about 1,000 with a “big round of staffing” early next calendar year, Rivian spokeswoman Amy Mast reported Wednesday.

The lawsuit may make it more difficult for Rivian to use Tesla as a talent pool.

Filed last month in California Exceptional Court, the lawsuit alleges Rivian is knowingly encouraging the misappropriation of trade strategies by dozens of Tesla employees it has hired, which includes four named workforce who allegedly introduced “highly valuable” info with them.

“Tesla has found out a disturbing pattern of staff who are departing for Rivian surreptitiously thieving Tesla trade top secret, confidential, and proprietary data — details that is in particular handy for a startup electric powered auto business,” the lawsuit alleges. “And Rivian encourages these thefts.”

A Tesla spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

On Monday, Rivian submitted a motion to dismiss the lawsuit as insufficient, speculative and an exertion by Tesla to “malign” a competitor and “scare” its own staff who were being imagining of jumping ship.

“Tesla did not file this situation to defend or guard any legit intellectual home legal rights,” Rivian said in its motion. “Tesla sued in an poor and malicious try to slow Rivian’s momentum and try to injury Rivian’s brand name.”

Founded 10 a long time ago, Plymouth, Michigan-primarily based Rivian started off 2020 with a great deal of momentum, fueled by additional than $2.8 billion in investments very last year from Ford, Cox Automotive and Amazon, between other individuals.

Although manufacturing has been delayed, financing has continued apace, with Rivian closing a $2.5 billion financial commitment spherical led by T. Rowe Rate on July 10. In its movement Monday, Rivian related the dots concerning that funding announcement and Tesla’s lawsuit.

“The very exact day — and mere several hours right after Rivian’s announcement — Tesla despatched an e-mail and letter to … notify Rivian of some issues Tesla claimed to have about previous Tesla employees’ possession of alleged trade techniques,” Rivian said in the filing. “One week just after sending its letter, on July 17, Tesla submitted this lawsuit.”

California-centered Tesla, which disrupted the automotive earth with the debut of its sleek Design S in 2012, now has a entire line of electric motor vehicles, a pickup truck in the pipeline and a market place capitalization of almost $290 billion following saying a five-for-a person inventory break up this week.

Rivian’s inaugural offerings — a pricey, large-overall performance electrical truck and SUV — were slated to roll off the line at a converted Mitsubishi plant later this year.

But the COVID-19 pandemic and the statewide shutdown in March delayed the plant build out, selecting and solution launch. Rivian now ideas to start manufacturing of the R1T truck in June and the R1S SUV in September 2021.

Rivian has about 2,300 staff in between its Michigan headquarters, California offices and Illinois manufacturing facility. In addition to 400 personnel at the plant, hundreds additional from the other Rivian places of work have descended on Ordinary to get the facility “production-ready” by year’s conclude, Mast claimed.

At the time the plant is completely outfitted, the hiring surge will start out. Mast said Rivian will have about 1,000 workers at the plant when manufacturing begins next summer season.

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