Tesla fires supercharger team—Musk says network will grow at ‘slower pace’

Investing

Tesla fired its team that works on creating Superchargers, according to multiple reports Tuesday—marking the latest challenge for billionaire Elon Musk’s electric vehicle company as demand decreases.
Tesla Supercharger

Elon Musk internally announced that about 500 people, or the entire team that works on superchargers for Tesla, were being let go this week, according to The Financial Times.

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Key Facts

Tesla fired around 500 people, including the two executives working on the initiative, The Financial Times reported Tuesday, citing an internal memo sent by Musk.

Numerous employees impacted by the cuts took to social media: Strategic Charging Programs Lead Will Jameson confirmed Musk “let our entire charging org go,” adding, “what this means for the charging network, NACS, and all the exciting work we were doing across the industry, I don’t yet know.”

Tesla did not immediately respond to Forbes’ request for comment, but Musk seemingly addressed the downsizing on his social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, saying the Supercharger network will still grow, “just at a slower pace for new locations and more focus on 100% uptime and expansion of existing locations.”

Tesla cutting its Supercharger team comes months after the company made deals with major car manufacturers including General Motors and Ford to allow them access to Tesla’s electric vehicle charging network.

Crucial Quote

“Hopefully these actions are making it clear that we need to be absolutely hard core about headcount and cost reduction,” Musk said in the memo, The Financial Times reported. “While some execstaff are taking this seriously, most are not yet doing so.”

Big Number

More than 50,000. That’s how many Tesla Superchargers there are across the globe, according to the company. Superchargers can add as many as 200 miles to a Tesla’s range in 15 minutes.

What We Don’t Know

How this will impact car companies’ relationships with Tesla or deals made to use their Superchargers. A Ford spokesperson told The New York Times its plan for customers—which has included sending adapters to owners of older vehicles to enable them to use Tesla chargers—“do not change.”

Key Background

The hundreds of cuts follow news that Tesla laid off thousands—about 10% of its staff—about two weeks ago as the company continues to struggle through 2024. The layoffs impacted 6,000 people across California and Texas, and followed a series of layoffs in recent years, including about 3.5% of Tesla’s staff in 2022, 3,000 workers in 2019 and about 9% of the workforce in 2018. Tesla has had a difficult year: its share price is down about 26% year to date, and in early April the company announced it underperformed in deliveries for the first time since 2020.

Forbes Valuation

We estimate Musk’s net worth at about $199.6 billion as of Tuesday evening, making him the second-wealthiest person in the world.

Surprising Fact

The X account Tesla Charging was active as recently as five days ago, when it introduced new charging sites in Taiwan, Japan and New Zealand. The latest new U.S. charging site—12 charging stalls in Tallahassee, Florida—was introduced on the account on April 24.

This article was first published on forbes.com and all figures are in USD.

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