Former Tesla Supercharger Staffers Reveal Details of Department Fallout, Aftermath

By Staff
3 Min Read

Last month, Tesla CEO Elon Musk fired nearly all of the company’s 500-person Supercharger department. The move worried members of the auto industry that have come to rely on Tesla’s 2,261 fast-charging stations and 25,491 plugs in the U.S.

However, Bloomberg reported this week that the company began rehiring some of the division’s workers but did not disclose specific numbers. Two days later, Reuters published a report chronicling Tesla’s recent moves.

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Reuters’ report, which cites eight anonymous former charging network staffers, a contractor and a Tesla email to vendors, explained that the fallout began when former charging chief Rebecca Tinucci met with Musk for a meeting.

According to four sources with knowledge of the meeting, Tinucci and Musk were going to discuss the charging network’s future after Tinucci had cut 15% to 20% of the division’s staffers two weeks prior. The sources said that Musk revealed that he wanted additional layoffs. But when Tinucci resisted, arguing that further cuts would weaken the business, Musk fired her and the rest of the team. 

Despite the cuts, on April 30, Musk posted on X (formerly Twitter), which the Tesla CEO now owns, stating that the company still plans to expand the Supercharger network, albeit at a “slower pace.” Ten days later, Musk posted, “Just to reiterate: Tesla will spend well over $500M expanding our Supercharger network to create thousands of NEW chargers this year.” 

Two Reuters sources described the expansion budget as a reduction from Tesla’s original 2024 plans.

Reuters also reported that it obtained a copy of a letter from a Tesla global supply manager to Supercharger suppliers and contractors, telling them to “please hold on breaking ground on any newly awarded construction projects” and to stop materials purchases.

Three of Reuters’ anonymous sources said the company’s energy team assumed Supercharger duties, including contacting partners to finalize ongoing charger construction projects. However, Reuters quoted an anonymous construction contractor who said the remaining staffers “don’t know a thing.” The contractor added that he had expected Supercharger projects to provide approximately 20% of the company’s revenue this year but now plans to avoid Tesla. 

The charging department dilemma comes as Tesla reported a 9% fall in electric vehicle sales for the first quarter of 2024 compared to a year ago. The company also experienced a 55% first-quarter net income decrease from the previous year.

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