Home Auto Tesla’s charging team gutted after winning over major automakers

Tesla’s charging team gutted after winning over major automakers

Employees work at Tesla's Shanghai Gigafactory in east China's Shanghai, Dec. 22, 2023. (Xinhua/Fang Zhe)
Employees work at Tesla's Shanghai Gigafactory in east China's Shanghai, Dec. 22, 2023. (Xinhua/Fang Zhe)

Tesla has gutted its charging team in a new round of layoffs, despite recently winning over major automakers like Ford and General Motors and making its connector the de facto standard in North America.

Tesla’s Supercharger network has long been seen as one of its greatest competitive advantages. It’s widely available, has far better uptime than other charging networks and the connector technology — known as the North American Charging Standard, or NACS — is now being adopted by essentially every major automaker with a presence in North America.

CEO Elon Musk announced the new layoffs in an overnight email to executives, first reported by The Information, in which he said he wants leaders to be “absolutely hard core about headcount and cost reduction,” as he ordered them to cut more employees who “don’t obviously pass the excellent, necessary and trustworthy test” or resign. Senior director of EV charging Rebecca Tinucci and head of new vehicles Daniel Ho are out, according to The Information.

TechCrunch confirmed with sources that the entire global charging organization was let go. The move was unexpected and “clearly surprising to everyone,” one source at a major automaker told TechCrunch.

Will Jameson, one of the charging team leads let go in the cuts, said in a post on Musk’s social media platform X that he “has let our entire charging org go.”

“What this means for the charging network, NACS, and all the exciting work we were doing across the industry, I don’t yet know. What a wild ride it has been,” he wrote.

The cuts are so complete that Musk even suggested in the email that the company will slow its expansion of the Supercharger network, writing that Tesla “will continue to build out some new Supercharger locations, where critical, and finish those currently under construction.”

Musk is dissolving Tesla’s public policy team as well, according to reports. Rohan Patel the former VP of that team, left the company two weeks ago at the same time those layoffs were announced. Patel called it the “best policy/bizdev team in the business” at the time in a message to TechCrunch. “I know I’m extremely biased, but honestly the people who were on my team are just phenomenal,” he wrote.

Tesla’s policy team is largely responsible for the company winning around 13% of funding available from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and until recently was pursuing another federal grant of nearly $100 million to fund the buildout of a charging corridor for the company’s still-in-development electric big rig.

These cuts come just two weeks after Musk announced Tesla was laying off more than 10% of its workforce as part of a company-wide restructuring in service of going “balls to the wall for autonomy. The company is coming off a brutal first quarter where its profit dropped 55% on weaker EV sales. At the same time, the company’s board is trying to reinstate Musk’s $56 billion pay package that was struck down by a judge, and the CEO has publicly threatened to develop AI technology at his startup xAI unless he is given even more control over Tesla.

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