While everyone was distracted by Tesla’s Q2 results, a surprising little piece of news slipped out: Tesla is suing Rivian, as of the 17th of July.
Rivian is one of the most promising EV startups with products that seem very compelling, so it’s disappointing to see Tesla suing them. It certainly doesn’t fit perfectly with Tesla’s mission. But if Tesla went through the trouble to do this, maybe it’s more of an issue you’d think. I haven’t read the complaint yet –– I’ll read it after this and then pass judgment.
Even though I haven’t looked at it yet, here are my hot takes:
Tesla previously sued Zoox over a similar issue, and ultimately prevailed as Zoox settled the lawsuit with Tesla and ended up paying an undisclosed sum. Zoox was later acquired by Amazon. Amazon is also a major investor in Rivian.
Bezos seems to have this weird thing for Elon Musk. He loves getting into businesses that Elon is in, and Elon has jokingly called him a “copy cat” on Twitter. But only the paranoid survive, and Elon isn’t going to let his guard down against a ruthless competitor like Bezos.
Bezos is a smart guy. I think he’s very aware that Tesla is onto something big with electrification and autonomy. If Tesla executes well, Autopilot could pose a fundamental threat to Amazon by changing the logistics and economics of e-commerce profoundly.
Bezos isn’t going to let someone threaten his trillion dollar empire, so he’s making moves to learn about Tesla –– learn enough to be able to replace them.
The autonomy wars are heating up. Can Tesla take on Amazon and Google and win? Pop some popcorn, because we’re going to find out. The early battles have just begun.
P.S. After the Anthony Levandowski case, these accusations carry a lot of weight.