RIP, Supercharger team.

Swearing Fealty

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is laying siege to the carmaker, seemingly doing anything he can to throw the company into chaos.

Late last month, news emerged that the mercurial billionaire had fired the entire company's 500-workers-strong Supercharger team, angering fans and leaving investors dumbfounded.

According to four former staffers who spoke with Reuters, Musk had a one-on-one meeting with the company's former head of EV charging Rebecca Tinucci before the culling — and seemingly didn't like what he heard, firing her and her entire team shortly after.

The pair reportedly disagreed over the deeper cuts Musk wanted to make, which Tinucci balked at.

Tinucci was one of the few high-ranking female executives left at the company and one of several senior managers who have since either been fired or left on their own accord following Tesla's disastrous quarterly earnings call.

As always, Musk's motivations are tough to parse. But given the ensuing chaos and a likely massive dent he's leaving in the rollout of charging infrastructure across the country, it's a difficult-to-reconcile decision.

Was there really a fundamental disagreement over how to conduct mass layoffs, or did Tinucci simply fail Musk's loyalty test? There's also a gender component: the billionaire already has a challenged relationship with women and has made plenty of misogynist comments in the past.

Car Wars

Musk has since reversed course and has started rehiring some of his EV maker's fired Supercharger team. Unsurprisingly, he's also reappointed a male executive to the head of the project, as Bloomberg reported this week.

Facing immense backlash, Musk quickly and conveniently changed his tune, promising that he would spend "well over" $500 million to expand Tesla’s Supercharger network.

But while that number may sound like a lot on paper, it likely doesn't amount to much. According to research firm EVAdoption, half a billion dollars will still mean that Tesla will be building 77 percent fewer charging ports per month in the US compared to its previous pace.

The effects of Musk's seemingly short-sighted move are already becoming apparent. Tesla is already pulling out of key leases and ghosting contractors.

"It’s just unfortunate that now they’re stuck holding the bag on all these different projects," one of the former charging team employees told Reuters. "It’s really sad to see all these relationships burned and people be really angry — rightfully so."

Meanwhile, Musk is still hellbent on gifting himself one of the largest corporate payouts in history, with the company hunting down a Delaware corporate law loophole to reinstate his $56 billion pay package.

More on Elon Musk: 98 Percent of Drivers Who Try Tesla's Full Self-Driving Demo Ditch It After the Trial Period Is Over

Share This Article