The last thing Tesla Cybertruck reservation holders need right now is another production delay, but a most recent development does not bode well for the electric truck finally making it to production this summer.
The Tesla group manager of raw materials, Mustapha El Akkari, reportedly left the Elon Musk-led company to join Rivian, where he will assume the position of senior director of structures and raw materials. Rivian makes the R1T, which is a competitor for the upcoming Tesla Cybertruck.
According to a report in The Information (via Gizmodo) citing an unnamed person familiar with the move, El Akkari ran the raw materials group responsible for managing Tesla's non-battery supply chain for the Cybertruck and other Tesla vehicles.
According to his LinkedIn profile, he had worked for Tesla for four and a half years and was responsible for managing $16 billion in spend on raw materials. At the time of writing, El Akkari hadn't updated his LinkedIn page to reflect the reported move to Rivian. Neither Tesla nor Rivian have confirmed the move.
All the signs point to this being a great loss for Tesla, especially given the timing. After being delayed for years, the Cybertruck is finally on track to enter initial production this summer and volume production in 2024.
Elon Musk said during the Q1 2023 earnings call in April that Tesla would organize a Cybertruck handover event toward "the end of the third quarter," which likely means September. Last month, Musk said Tesla is working hard to get the Cybertruck into production, but noted that the electric truck was a tough product to design and even tougher to build.
Despite that, the CEO said during Tesla's annual shareholders meeting that he expected the Cybertruck to sell between 250,000 and 500,000 units per year once production is fully ramped, which is a very ambitious target.
Back to the main topic of this article, it's not yet clear whether losing El Akkari will result in a delay of Tesla's planned delivery event. El Akkari is not the only key Tesla exec poached by Rivian in recent years.
The list also includes Charly Mwangi, Tesla's former senior director of engineering, and Nick Kalayjian, Tesla's former vice president of engineering. Mwangi no longer works for Rivian but Kalayjian is still with the EV startup, currently serving as chief product development officer.