Tesla Fires Bulk of Supercharger Team

Tesla Inc. eliminated almost its entire Supercharger organization, which has built a vast network of public charging stations that virtually every major automaker is in the process of tapping into in the US.

The decision to cut the nearly 500-person group, including its senior director, Rebecca Tinucci, was made by Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk in the last week, according to a person familiar with the matter. It comes in addition to the more than 10% staff cut ordered in mid-April, the person said.

The move will slow the network’s growth, according to a person familiar with the division, who asked not to be identified discussing private matters. There are already discussions about rehiring some of those impacted in order to operate the existing network and grow it at a much slower rate, the person said. In a post on X, Musk confirmed network growth would slow.

The job cuts have left executives at at least one other automaker, Rivian Automotive Inc., confused and concerned, according to another person familiar with internal company discussions. Rivian, Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. are among the carmakers adopting Tesla’s charging connectors for their battery-powered cars, giving thousands of customers access to the Tesla charging network.

Vehicles from those automakers were initially designed to use a standard called the Combined Charging System. There are fewer CCS chargers in the US than Tesla Superchargers, which use what Tesla has called the North American Charging Standard. Tesla’s infrastructure is also considered faster and more reliable.

The job eliminations mean Rivian, Ford and others have lost their main points of contact in Tesla’s charging unit shortly before the kickoff of the busy summer driving season. Tinucci was one of the main executives building and managing outside partnerships and was thought of highly, two people who had worked with her inside and outside of Tesla said. 

Bloomberg confirmed that Tinucci was no longer listed on internal organizational charts as of Tuesday. One of Tesla’s highest-ranking female executives, she spoke at the company’s Investor Day in March 2023. She didn’t respond to requests for comment. 

Some of the Supercharger servicing team, which manages third-party access to the network, remains intact, according to one of the people. Tesla has been building CCS-to-NACS adapters in Buffalo, New York, and shipping them to partnering carmakers. Companies that have signed charging contracts with Tesla are mostly using the adapters as a short-term fix. For example, Ford EV customers can use the Supercharger network with an adapter now, and the technology will be built into the vehicles beginning in 2025.

Rivian and Ford are both still shipping adapters to their customers, according to statements from the companies. Ford told its EV owners on Friday, before the elimination of the broader Tesla Supercharger team, deliveries may be delayed in some cases due to “constraints” with the supplier.

Easy access to high-speed charging is widely seen as critical to EV adoption, and Tesla invested billions of dollars into developing a global network of Superchargers that became the envy of other automakers. It’s also a critical component of Tesla sales, and the carmaker said the division was growing during its first-quarter results last week.

“Starting at the end of February, we began opening our North American Supercharger Network to more non-Tesla EV owners,” Tesla wrote in its shareholder deck. 

The Musk-led company has also signed charging partnerships with carmakers including Stellantis NV, Volvo, Polestar, Kia, Honda, Mercedes-Benz and BMW. It’s not clear who will now oversee Tesla’s partnerships with those companies. GM, Volvo and Polestar were all due to open NACS chargers to their customers in the immediate future, according to Tesla’s website.

Tesla had 6,249 Supercharger stations and more than 57,000 connectors as of the end of the first quarter. It has more fast chargers in the US than all other providers combined, according to BloombergNEF.

The Information first reported the Supercharger team cuts, citing a memo from Elon Musk.

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