Rivian, producer of the world’s first and fastest electric truck, relocated to Irvine in 2020 to “access top talent, the beach and the diversity that California has to offer.” It now employs thousands in fields that range from engineering to design to propulsion.
Irvine resident Christian Kearny, Rivian’s director of cockpit engineering, oversees a team of nearly 30 who produce the interiors of Rivian’s electric truck and electric SUV. We asked him about his cool Irvine job.
What’s it like working at Rivian?
There’s a sense that we can do anything. It’s energizing. To be part of a team that’s rethinking how vehicles operate and how people interact with them is inspiring.
Many automakers were vying to deliver the first electric truck. How did it feel to cross the finish line first?
I’m extremely proud. There is a lot of satisfaction in knowing Rivian set a high bar that will inspire others to join in on our goal to protect the planet and keep the world adventurous forever.
What’s your job?
My team is responsible for the design and development of the dashboards and floor consoles in Rivian vehicles. When a vehicle is conceptualized, our styling studio puts together sketches of what the vehicle’s interior should look like. It’s our job to next make that vision a reality.
What makes the Rivian cockpit special?
Our authentic ash wood panels are one of the first things people notice when they get into the vehicle. Then there is the removable camp speaker and lantern that you can dock and recharge in your center console. And the electric air vents that you operate with the center display. There are so many special features in this interior that make it stand out.
Rivian is also trying to be ecologically responsible. How does that feel?
It makes me feel like I’m doing more than engineering vehicles. Environmental impact is part of every decision we make. Our goal is to build the kind of future our kids and our kids’ kids deserve.
You moved here from Ohio. How do you like it?
My family and I were eager to find a home in Irvine close to the office. We love our community, and I’ve enjoyed being able to bike to work, which I couldn’t do in Ohio. Also, as a father of two boys, I love going to their evening baseball games.