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Home ยป Elon Musk Resets Tesla’s Charging Team With Mass Layoffs and Rehires

Elon Musk Resets Tesla’s Charging Team With Mass Layoffs and Rehires

Tesla Supercharger sites

Tesla Supercharger network the old uproot and re-plant treatment, sources report that after enacting company-wide layoffs, Elon effectively nuked Tesla’s entire 500-person Supercharger division – only to turn around and rehire key veteran members just weeks later.

So what’s the method behind this seeming madness? Is this a brilliantly calculated reboot or simply more chaos from the eccentric CEO?

Elon Musk

For the unfamiliar, Tesla’s Supercharger network was born from humble roots over a decade ago as the automaker’s proprietary solution for quickly recharging its electric vehicles during longer trips. What began as a smattering of chargers along well-traveled routes has blossomed into a mighty web of over 50,000+ Superchargers spanning cities and highways across the globe.

Under the steady guidance of Tesla vets like former CTO JB Straubel and charging lead Drew Baglino, the Supercharger team had operated as a semi-independent unit with an internal goal to become a top 500 company in its own right. Last year saw the rollout of the unified North American Charging Standard (NACS) which made Superchargers accessible and profitable for non-Tesla EVs.

Then came Elon sweeping vision for “harder” company-wide layoffs equating to over 20% of Tesla’s workforce hitting the chopping block. Apparently no team was sacred, because despite past resistance from Baglino (who has since departed), the mass cut unfortunately extended to dismantling entire Supercharger division too.

Y’know, most would consider that a total disaster, right? Decapitating the head and brain trust behind your crucial charging infrastructure certainly doesn’t scream “genius strategy” on its face. But hey, when has Elon ever played by conventional rules?

In a shocking but potentially calculated reversal, many of those laid off Supercharger veterans are already being welcomed back into the fold. It’s almost like Elon pushed the big red “reboot” button just to clear the slate and start building the team back up from a fresh foundation.

Why the Phoenix Ressurrection?

The burning question is “why?” Why go through the headache and optics nightmare of firing your entire charging brain trust, just to re-hire a bunch of them shortly after? While Musk’s true motivations are anyone’s guess, Elon has validated this scorched-earth reboot approach in past interviews as a way of keeping teams “small, compact, hardcore, and technical” while ousting complacent middle managers. It’s a disruptive wake-up call for any division at risk of growing stale or bureaucratic.

There are a few potential rationales that could justify such an aggressive reboot:

Out with the old, in with the new – By forcing the mass layoff, Musk effectively blew up any entrenched power structures or roadblocks to rapid progress. He gets to hand-pick only the employees he wants with no corporate cobwebs to clear out first.

Hitting reset for a charging revamp – With plans to invest over $500 million expanding the Supercharger network with “thousands” of new stalls this year, rebuilding the entire charging team from scratch allows Musk to instill his latest vision from day one.

The great salary re-negotiation – By terminating every previous employment contract, Elon could aim to re-hire top talent at renegotiated, tesla-advantageous rates more in line with the new economic reality.

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