Elon Musk realized that he still needs the Supercharger team

Elon Musk realized that he still needs the Supercharger team

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is re-hiring some of the workers from the Supercharger team he dissolved two weeks ago, Bloomberg reported on Monday.

Last month, Musk said in an email to his staff that he was dissolving the team behind Tesla’s Supercharger charging-station network, per The Information. But it seems that Musk has backtracked on his decision.

Musk has brought back some Supercharger workers, including Tesla’s charging director for North America, Max de Zegher, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The longtime Tesla employee joined the company in 2013 and has spent more than a decade with EV giant, per de Zegher’s LinkedIn profile. De Zegher started out in sales before focusing on the Tesla’s charging infrastructure in the UK, Europe, and North America.

Representatives for Musk and de Zegher didn’t respond to Bloomberg’s requests for comment. The outlet said it wasn’t immediately clear how many Supercharger workers were brought back.

Musk’s initial decision to lay off the Supercharger team shocked Tesla’s investors, partners, and customers. In particular, major automakers, like General Motors, Ford, and Mercedes-Benz, who adopted Tesla’s charging tech were left hanging by Musk’s move.

“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, CEO of Tesla charger installer Envirospark, told BI’s Tom Carter.

A slowdown in the rollout of Tesla’s charging infrastructure would be a setback for President Joe Biden’s clean energy agenda as well. In February 2022, the Biden administration said that it was handing out five billion dollars in funding to build 500,000 EV chargers in the US.

Tesla is a huge beneficiary of federal funding, winning almost 13% of all EV charging awards from Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure lawPolitico reported in February, citing data it reviewed. The company currently has over 50,000 Superchargers globally.

The backlash toward the Supercharger’s team dissolution might have been a critical factor in changing Musk’s mind. The billionaire spent the past two weeks engaging in damage control, where he repeatedly assured that Tesla’s superchargers weren’t going anywhere.

“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,” Musk said in an X post on April 30.

And on Friday, Musk took to his social media platform once more to clarify that Tesla was still committed to building out its Superchargers.

“Just to reiterate: Tesla will spend well over $500M expanding our Supercharger network to create thousands of NEW chargers this year,” Musk wrote. “That’s just on new sites and expansions, not counting operations costs, which are much higher.”

Musk’s seeming about-turn on the Tesla’s Supercharger business underscores the challenges he faces in trying to reposition the automaker as a bleeding edge software company.

On April 5, Musk announced in an X post that Tesla would be launching its long-awaited robotaxi on August 8. The Tesla chief even told investors last month that the company’s Optimus robots could become the company’s most valuable asset.

“We should be thought of as an AI or robotics company. If you value Tesla as just like an auto company, fundamentally, it’s just the wrong framework,” Musk said in an earnings call on April 23.

Representatives for Tesla didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from BI sent outside regular business hours.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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