DETROIT -- Rivian, the startup electric vehicle manufacturer that is less than a year from launching its first two vehicles, is planning to transfer most of its engineering and product development staff from suburban Detroit to its battery systems and vehicle dynamics operation in Irvine, Calif.
Also, some of Rivian's 750-strong Michigan work force will transfer to the company's Normal, Ill., plant as the company gears up for production.
It's unclear how many employees are moving out of Rivian's offices in Plymouth, Mich.
Rivian spokeswoman Amy Mast confirmed some product development staff will be moving out of Michigan, but she said the company plans to keep some functions in its suburban Detroit facility. Rivian has eight facilities -- six in the United States, one in Canada and one in the United Kingdom.
"Of Rivian's 2,300 employees, approximately 1,000 are based in California and 750 in Michigan," Mast told Automotive News in an e-mail. "We are consolidating some engineering teams to our locations in California to improve workflows and reduce environmental impact from travel.
"We've recently completed an expansion at our Michigan location, and it will remain an important presence for us. We are also committed to creating a vibrant and inviting manufacturing presence in Normal, where all Rivian vehicles will be produced. As we grow, we'll keep evaluating and evolving our footprint and geography."
The move was reported earlier by Autoline, a website and broadcast program that covers the Detroit auto industry.
Relocating the product development teams from Detroit to California comes as most of the design and engineering work on the company's first two vehicles, the battery electric R1S sport utility and the R1T pickup, is nearly complete.
It also takes place as the company builds up its supplier base with Detroit-area parts makers.