Ridiculous Backstory of Tesla CEO Decision to Layoff Entire Supercharger Team

Tesla Supercharger Network - Elon Musk

Tesla CEO Elon Musk made a sudden decision to fire the entire Supercharger team after its division chief refused to carry out additional layoffs.

In an email to staff on April 29, Musk announced he was dissolving the entire team responsible for Tesla’s charging infrastructure, according to The Information. However, Musk has since reversed this decision and rehired some of the workers.

Musk held a one-on-one meeting with Supercharger chief Rebecca Tinucci the day before sending the email. According to the report, Musk fired Tinucci’s entire team because she resisted further layoffs. Tinucci had already laid off about 15% to 20% of her team before meeting with Musk.

Last month, Musk announced Tesla’s first round of mass layoffs for the year, informing staff in a memo that more than 10% of employees would be let go. Before the layoffs, Tesla employed over 140,000 people.

Tesla Supercharger Network

The extensive job cuts came as the company faced poor sales and increased competition from Chinese automakers like BYD.

At one point, Musk was considering reducing Tesla’s workforce by 20% to align with the most recent decrease in quarterly vehicle deliveries, citing a source familiar with the matter.

When Musk announced the dissolution of the Supercharger team last month, he stated that he would start asking Tesla executives who retain “more than three people who don’t obviously pass the excellent, necessary and trustworthy test” to resign, according to an email obtained by The Information.

“Hopefully, these actions are making it clear that we need to be absolutely hardcore about headcount and cost reduction,” Musk wrote. However, this “hard core” move led to immediate problems.

Major automakers who adopted Tesla’s charging technology, such as General Motors, Ford, and Mercedes-Benz, were left in a difficult position with the sudden elimination of the Supercharger division.

Tesla’s investors and partners also criticized the abrupt move, frustrated by the company’s lack of communication following the Supercharger team’s dismissal.

Elon Musk – Rebecca Tinucci

“There’s no one remaining from the team that we worked with. In terms of formal communication from Tesla, we haven’t received anything,” Aaron Luque, the CEO of EnviroSpark, which installs Tesla chargers, told BI.

The backlash might have been pivotal in changing Musk’s mind. The Tesla chief acted quickly to address concerns and assured investors that Tesla’s Supercharger network would continue to operate.

“Tesla still plans to grow the Supercharger network, just at a slower pace for new locations and more focus on 100% uptime and expansion of existing locations,” he wrote in an X post on April 30.

Musk’s reversal could also have been influenced by Tesla’s commitments to the U.S. government.

Politico reported in February, citing reviewed data, that the company secured nearly 13% of all EV charging awards from President Joe Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure law. Thus, a slowdown in Tesla’s charging infrastructure rollout would be a setback for Biden’s clean-energy agenda.

“Just to reiterate: Tesla will spend well over $500M expanding our Supercharger network to create thousands of NEW chargers this year,” Musk said in an X post on Friday.

Mason Williams
Driven by a commitment to integrity and excellence, Mason's writing empowers readers to make informed decisions, facing challenges, and seize opportunities in an increasingly complex world. His work serves as a guiding light, illuminating the way forward amidst uncertainty.