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EV-Maker Rivian Laid Off Most of Its Battery Cell Development Team: Report

Rivian, a manufacturer of electric SUVs, pickup trucks and vans, has laid off the majority of its long-range battery cell research and development team, the latest company in recent weeks to cut back in that area.

The Irvine, California-based automaker laid off about 20 people this week including its lead cell engineer Victor Prajapati, a former senior manager at Tesla, sources familiar with the matter told the technology business news outlet The Information. The company had 14,122 employees as of December 2022.

The layoffs are the latest setback for the troubled automaker, whose shares have fallen more than 75% since its IPO in November 2021. The carmaker recorded a $477 million loss in the third quarter — $30,648 for every one of the more-than 15,000 vehicles it delivered in the period. The company has spent down $6 billion of its cash in the last year, leaving it with just $7.9 billion more as of the end of the third quarter.

Rivian did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Messenger. However, in a statement to The Information, it said: “While we place a very high value on the cell engineering competence we have built at Rivian, we’re focusing the team on [the company’s future electric R2 SUV] and its defined programs.”

The news comes just months after the company said it is considering building its own battery cells at an upcoming $5 billion facility in Georgia, the Morgan County Citizen reported in October. Those plans now seem uncertain. Rivian currently sources its battery cells externally and assembles them into packs in a facility in Normal, Illinois.

More recently, Chief Financial Officer Claire McDonough said at a conference hosted by Barclays last month that the company will introduce a simplified battery pack that “takes thousands of dollars of costs out [and] is much easier to manufacture and build as well.”

Shares of Rivian rose earlier this week when the investment bank Stifel gave the stock a buy recommendation. Its shares are up 9% since Monday.

The layoffs follow similar cuts at other EV battery makers. Last week, the Novi, Michigan-based EV battery startup One Next Energy laid off 128 employees or 25% of its workforce in response to market conditions, the transportation news site Electrek reported. LG Energy Solutions laid off 170 workers in November at its Michigan plant. SK on laid off over 100 workers at its plant in Georgia back in September.

This article was originally published by a themessenger.com . Read the Original article here. .

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