Monday, 04 October 2021 15:31

Tesla Widens Legal Action Against Rivian Over Alleged Theft of Battery Secrets

Written by Simon Alvarez, Teslarati


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Tesla Inc. is widening its legal action against fellow electric vehicle maker Rivian Automotive Inc., with the former accusing the latter of continuing to poach its employees and stealing “highly proprietary” technology related to batteries.

Battery tech is among Tesla’s most closely-held innovations. 


According to Tesla, the lawsuit it filed against Rivian 14 months ago has not stopped the pickup truck maker from poaching its employees and acquiring intellectual property. To highlight this point, Tesla said this summer, there was an instance where defectors to Rivian were “caught red-handed” stealing the core technology for its next-generation batteries. Tesla said batteries are the “most essential element for any electric vehicle.”


“Now apparently under pressure from investors after nearly a dozen years without producing a single commercial vehicle, Rivian has intensified its unlawful efforts,” Tesla said.


Tesla is particularly secretive about its batteries. Even with the company’s open patent program---which arguably helped companies like Xpeng Motors from China launch their own EV efforts---Tesla has been very careful not to share the intricate details of its batteries, from the 18650 cells used in the Model S and Model X to the 2170 cells used in the Model 3 and Model Y and to the 4680 cells currently being ramped in the Kato Road facility in Fremont, CA.
In comparison, Rivian uses 2170 cells from Samsung SDI for the R1T pickup truck and R1S SUV. The truck maker has been silent about its battery strategy, however, so it remains to be seen if Rivian’s 2170 cells are off-the-shelf or if they feature proprietary chemistries similar to...

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