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Rivian’s Tesla Alums Lead Charge as Debut Nears for First Three EVs

Several Rivian employees played key roles in bringing Tesla’s Model 3 to market.

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The R1T electric pickup truck

The R1T electric pickup truck

Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

Rivian Automotive Inc. will soon set off on an aggressive sprint to upend the electric-vehicle business, with plans to start selling three models — a pickup truck, SUV and delivery van — in a matter of months. For this ambitious effort, it has harnessed powerful weapons: Former Tesla Inc. engineers who launched the company’s Model 3 sedan. 

Charly Mwangi, Rivian’s manufacturing chief, and Nick Kalayjian, head of engineering, played key roles in bringing Tesla’s lowest-priced car to market in 2018. Each briefly worked at other startups before being lured to Rivian by the unique thrill of launching new vehicles, including the R1T, a truck geared to outdoor enthusiasts, that will go on sale in June.