If there’s anything we have learned about startup electric vehicle manufacturers over the years, it’s that they don’t typically get along too well in the arms race to make their product stand out and get to the market first. None more so than Tesla, who have just launched a lawsuit against Rivian. It claims Rivian has intentionally encouraged Tesla employees to swap companies, and spill Tesla’s trade secrets in an effort to gain insider information into Tesla. Bloomberg was the first to report on the Tesla lawsuit, with a quote from the complaint:
“Misappropriating Tesla’s competitively useful confidential information when leaving Tesla for a new employer is obviously wrong and risky. One would engage in that behavior only for an important benefit- to use it to serve the competitive interests of a new employer.”
Unsurprisingly, Rivian denied all the claims, saying they actually have a vetting process when taking on new hires that prevents them from bringing intellectual property from previous companies. They also mentioned their 2,400 employees come from a wide array of technology and automotive backgrounds. This appears to be hinting at the fact that they do have people from Tesla, but they have employees with many other backgrounds, so they aren’t seeking out Tesla employees in particular.
It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out, especially with Rivian considering moving their headquarters to Tesla’s territory in California from Plymouth, Michigan. The company says they are considering the move because their employees are currently spread between a few campuses, and consolidating to one location could improve productivity and organization.
This also illustrates the fierce competition heating up inside the emerging EV pickup market, with contenders from the established brands like Ford, GMC, and Chevrolet gearing up their trucks. Then there’s the startup side, with Tesla, Rivian, Bollinger, Nikola and Lordstown Motors. These brands have a far more uphill battle to bring their electric trucks to market, hence the lawsuit. Depending on who wins the new Tesla lawsuit, it’ll show these startup brands will stop at nothing to get ahead.