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Monday, May 13, 2024

Elon Musk laid off the Tesla Supercharger group; now he’s rehiring them

A Tesla logo seen on a charging station outdoors during daytime.

Getty Photographs | NurPhoto

Two weeks in the past, Tesla CEO Elon Musk enacted widespread layoffs all through the corporate, together with the 500-strong group answerable for the model’s Supercharger. Now, Tesla is seeking to rent a few of them again, Bloomberg experiences, as Musk guarantees to spend $500 million increasing the community.

The Supercharger community is inarguably Tesla’s crown jewel. The corporate acknowledged early on that, although its house owners slow-charged at dwelling every night time, figuring out they’d the power to quickly recharge on the street was vital in making an electrical automobile a suitable different to present automobiles.

Since then, it has constructed out greater than 2,000 charging stations within the US alone, with greater than 25,000 plugs. Greater than that, the chargers invariably work, one thing that’s typically not true for different charging networks.

So profitable is the Supercharger community that, over the course of final 12 months, just about each different automaker that sells or plans to promote EVs within the US has introduced it would drop the CCS1 connector for the J3400 normal, initially developed by Tesla. However these bulletins had been about extra than simply switching plugs. Every time, the OEM additionally revealed it had negotiated entry for its prospects to the Supercharger community.

That made Musk’s dismissal of your complete group accountable so arduous to fathom. Whereas the Supercharger community accounts for less than about 5 % of Tesla’s revenues, that % is poised to develop as extra OEMs acquire entry. And though the charging expertise for Tesla EVs at Superchargers is normally flawless, that is as a result of it is optimized for a single make of automobile with simply 5 totally different fashions; there is not any assure that can show true when automobiles from different manufacturers attempt to cost.

The layoffs additionally appeared to place Tesla’s plan to construct a extra highly effective charger that might profit automobiles utilizing 800 V or 900 V architectures, together with Audi, Porsche, Lucid, and others, on maintain.

Worse but, dozens of Supercharger websites that had been within the works have stalled out, in accordance with a number of experiences.

However final week, Musk introduced that Tesla would spend greater than $500 million constructing out extra chargers, simply days after saying the main target would as an alternative be on uptime at present areas. And to do this, Tesla might want to rehire a complete bunch of individuals.

That began with Max de Zegher, who was an govt underneath the earlier head of Supercharging, Rebecca Tinucci. (On the time of the layoffs, Electrek reported that Musk removed your complete group as a result of its Tinucci didn’t lay off sufficient employees on her personal.)

This isn’t the primary time Musk has needed to back-track an impetuous enterprise determination. In 2019, he determined to shut all of Tesla’s retail areas to pay for a less expensive model of the Mannequin 3 sedan. Inside two weeks that call had been reversed, in no small half as a result of authorized penalties of breaking so many leases.

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