Rivian gets another Apple Car veteran ahead of R2 launch

(Credit: Rivian)

Another longtime Apple veteran who helped with the company’s electric vehicle (EV) program has left for Rivian, ahead of the automaker’s next-generation vehicle launch.

Teslarati reported on the departure of Jonas Reinke, former Apple Head of Product, Mobility and Automotive Services, last week. Now, VP of Engineering DJ Novotney has also left Apple for Rivian, set to become senior VP of Vehicle Programs at the EV pickup and SUV maker, according to people familiar with the matter in a report from Bloomberg on Sunday.

The sources, who requested to remain anonymous, said that Novotney will start on Monday, reporting directly to Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe. He will also join Rivian ahead of the highly anticipated R2 launch, after working at Apple for almost 25 years, according to his LinkedIn page.

The Apple veteran also detailed his departure in a memo to colleagues:

Great products are what we do best and I have been so very lucky along the way to be part of so many amazing teams that developed everything from iPod, iPhone, iPad, Watch and so many more.

Apple has been my life, but now is the time for me to move on and help bring to life a new set of products.

Apple and Rivian spokespersons declined to comment on the matter , and Novotney did not respond to Bloomberg’s request for comment as of writing.

At Apple, Novotney worked on home devices and the long-rumored Apple Car project, which is now expected to launch in 2028 with fewer features than previously planned, after being delayed to 2026 a couple of years ago. He also worked on some robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) projects developing future home products, after being tapped by former Apple hardware chief Dan Riccio to lead iPad development.

Reinke, who will become VP of Product Management at Rivian, previously worked at both Apple and Porsche, and will also help play a major role in launching the R2 and R3 platforms, according to a recent statement from Scaringe. Last June, Rivian also hired former Apple, Tesla, and Meta alumnus Sarah O’Brien as the company’s Chief Communications Officer.

Recent reports have also said that Apple will tone down its plans for autonomy in the vehicle, while another source in September said that the EV project had “lost all visibility.”

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Zachary Visconti: Zach is a renewable energy reporter who has been covering electric vehicles since 2020. He grew up in Fremont, California, and he currently resides in Colorado. His work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, KRON4 San Francisco, FOX31 Denver and many other publications. When he isn't covering Tesla or other EV companies for Teslarati, you can find him writing and performing music, drinking lots of coffee, or hanging out with his cat, Banks. Reach out to Zach at zach@teslarati.com, or you can find him on X @zacharyvisconti.
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