The electric war started: Tesla accuses its competitor Rivian of stealing employees and information

He filed a complaint alleging that 178 employees went to work for his rival, several of them “attracted to obtain confidential information.” Rivian has investments from Ford and Amazon and will also launch an electric pick up to deal with the Cybertruck.

Tesla-Rivian, Rivian-Tesla. That will be one of the great fights of the automotive industry in its brand new electric era, which will set the pace for the coming years across the planet. Although the firm of South African magnate Elon Musk has been in development for several years, with different models inserted in the market, and is already going to its fifth factory, in Texas, Rivian stands as a tough competitor for Musk’s fetish model, his Cybertruck.

The truth is that the war between the two companies began before their models began to settle the market. Days ago, Tesla sued his competitor Rivian, whom he accuses of stealing confidential information about his developments and removing employees. According to the complaint filed by Tesla, “Rivian is consciously encouraging the appropriation of Tesla’s trade secrets, confidential and recorded information by Tesla employees that Rivian hires.”

Elon Musk’s company, which on other occasions has already sued emerging companies in the technology sector such as Zoox and Aurora, also added that Rivian “develops an alarming scheme to attract its employees in order to obtain confidential information.” “Embezzling Tesla’s competitive and useful confidential information when leaving Tesla for a new company is obviously wrong and risky,” the complaint details. The text also refers to four former workers at the Californian firm, who allegedly brought confidential information when they joined Rivian. According to Musk’s company, 178 former Tesla employees became part of Rivian, which employs a total of 2,300 people.

Tesla’s allegations were flatly rejected by Rivian. A spokesperson for the company told CNBC that “the allegations in the lawsuit are unfounded and contrary to Rivian’s culture.” “Upon arrival at Rivian we require all employees to confirm that they have not and will not enter the intellectual property of former companies in which they have worked,” they explain from Rivian.

The young company founded in 2009 by Robert Scaringe, a skilled entrepreneur in the new auto industry, is supported by powerful investments from giants like Amazon and Ford. Without having launched a vehicle, so far Rivian has raised some $ 1.7 billion in investments from various companies, but both the SUV and the pick up are expected to be presented only during 2021. However, Scaringe knew how to generate expectations around His company based on its developments in technology -beyond vehicles-, which can be key as a support in the electrification processes of more traditional automakers. Amazon, for example, has already announced that it will buy 100,000 units of Rivian’s electric van as soon as it is released.

Rivian currently has among its ranks former executives and engineers from Apple, Tesla, McLaren and Ford. Standing out at his professional floor are Mike Bell, the current chief technology officer, who was Apple’s vice president and helped shape the iPhone; Graham Meeks, who for 17 years served as chief of body engineering at McLaren; and up to six ex-Apple who worked on the autonomous car project, Project Titan. The war has already started with a first court battle.

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