According to a breaking report by Electrek, manufacturing engineer Victor Prajapati, who played a major role in Tesla's battery cell production, has left the Silicon Valley electric automaker to pursue a new position at electric pickup truck startup Rivian.
Prajapati was a former manager at First Solar before he moved on to Tesla right around the time Model 3 production was first getting underway. The former Tesla engineer makes references to the tough times at Tesla related to bottlenecks and, what CEO Elon Musk called "Model 3 production hell."
Prajapati’s LinkedIn account claims that he actually had a major hand in helping Tesla to push past the production issues. His profile now lists him as Director Of Manufacturing Engineering at Rivian. In the experience section, listed under Tesla (June 2017 to July 2018), it reads:
"Managed one of the critical bottlenecks for Model 3 production during “production hell” ramping the line from <10 cars/week to 3,000 cars/week following an S-curve, managing a team of highly talented engineers and working with all of Tesla resources.
Built a manufacturing engineering team at Tesla to interface with Panasonic to quickly analyze the pareto of bottlenecks on the manufacturing line, once identified provide line side support to get to root cause and relieve bottlenecks."
From Jun 2018 to Oct 2020, Prajapati held the role of Senior Manager of Cell Manufacturing Engineering at Tesla. During his time with the electric automaker, he helped build the Cell Manufacturing Engineering division, headed up the Hibar acquisition, and built a team at Tesla to work with Panasonic to address and alleviate manufacturing bottlenecks.
We've seen many important people and high-level execs leave Tesla over the years. However, after a long string of departures some time ago (more so during the tougher times), there hasn't been as much news surrounding high-caliber departures and/or other companies reportedly "poaching" Tesla talent.
No matter how you look at it, this is to be expected. As more companies push to adopt EVs, and more compelling startups come onto the scene, seasoned experts and engineers will seek new opportunities for advancement and look for greener grass on the other side.