Friday, July 19, 2024

Musk disbands Tesla EV charging team

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Elon Musk’s abrupt decision to lay off employees who ran Tesla’s electric vehicle charging business blindsided automakers gearing up to equip new EVs for customers to use the Tesla Supercharger network, industry officials and analysts said on Tuesday.
For now, General Motors (GM.N) , Ford (F.N), opens new tab and other automakers which struck deals last year to give customers access to the network said they are not changing their plans.

Tesla’s decision to open its network to rival EV manufacturers was hailed by U.S. President Joe Biden, and opened the door for Tesla to get federal subsidies to expand the reach of its North American Charging Standard (NACS) system.
Musk’s decision to dismiss the head of the business, Rebecca Tinucci, and most or all of the staff that operated and maintained the system, according to two former employees and multiple postings on LinkedIn, left officials at automakers and Tesla suppliers uncertain about the future.

Tesla did not respond to requests for comment.
Musk subsequently said on X that the carmaker still plans to expand the Supercharger network, “just at a slower pace for new locations and more focus on 100% uptime and expansion of existing locations.”
Andres Pinter, co-CEO of Bullet EV Charging Solutions, a supplier to the network, said, “As contractors for the Supercharger network, my team woke up to a sharp kick in the pants this morning.”

“Tesla has already been awarded money under the federal government’s NEVI program,” he said, referring to the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure formula program to provide funding to states to deploy EV charging networks. “There’s no way Mr. Musk would walk away from effectively free money. It may be possible Mr. Musk will reconstitute the EV charger team in bigger, badder, more Muskian way.”

GM and Ford, in separate statements, said they are not changing plans to equip their EVs with connectors that will allow drivers of Chevrolet, Cadillac or Ford brand EVs to recharge at Tesla stations.
“We have nothing new to announce regarding our plans,” GM said. “We are continuing to monitor the situation regarding changes to the Supercharger team and the potential impacts with no further comments or updates at this time.”

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