Tesla Employees Fear Decline in Supercharger Quality

Ex-Tesla Staff Speak Out on Chaos Inside Company, Concerns for Supercharger Reliability

As a technician maintaining Tesla’s Superchargers, John believed that his job was secure, particularly with the expansion of the network to include other car manufacturers.

John, one of the verified, now-former Tesla employees who shared their experiences with InsideEVs this week, expressed, “We were thinking, we’ll really have a flood of more servicing to do. Then all of a sudden, this happens.”

The recent layoffs at Tesla have affected John and approximately 20,000 other employees, resulting in multiple rounds of job cuts over the past month. Specifically, this week saw the elimination of the team responsible for developing and maintaining Tesla’s Supercharger network, a widely respected system of fast public EV chargers. These layoffs are occurring as Tesla appears to be shifting its focus from new vehicles and their associated services towards AI and robotaxis.

Former workers who spoke with InsideEVs chose to remain anonymous due to concerns about potential backlash or legal action from Tesla, and will be identified by pseudonyms in this article. These ex-staff members, who were involved in Supercharger maintenance, described their time at Tesla as frequently disorganized and incredibly fast-paced. With a shortage of staff available to troubleshoot and repair the rapid chargers, they are all concerned about whether the network’s well-known convenience and dependability will begin to decline.

Angelo, another laid-off Tesla employee quoted with a pseudonym, pondered, “That’s the billion-dollar question.” He had been part of a team that dealt with Tesla’s Supercharger problem diagnosis and repair process.

“We couldn’t keep up. And now the network is even larger,” he said. “Now, guess what? There are even more consumers. There’s gonna be a lot more issues that could possibly come up.” The speaker expressed that they were unable to maintain pace with the growth of the network, which has now expanded even further. Additionally, the increase in consumers means that there is a higher likelihood of encountering a greater number of potential issues in the future.

John expressed his agreement with the concerns raised. “What I’m hearing is, there’s still some guys in the field, but they’re gonna be pretty over-tasked,” he said. He also noted that those employees who remain “they’re kind of worried and concerned about their positions as well.”

With over 50,000 Superchargers in operation, Tesla boasts the biggest EV fast-charging network globally. In the previous year, Tesla revealed that, on average, each Supercharger station was utilized around 320 times weekly. This number has likely increased since then, especially with the introduction of Magic Dock units that enable any EV to charge at these stations. Additionally, vehicles from Ford, Rivian, and other manufacturers are expected to make use of these Superchargers more frequently in the near future.

Angelo expressed his personal belief that there would be a decline in quality. He mentioned, “Customers will begin to notice problems persisting for longer periods than they are accustomed to.”

“Don’t misunderstand me, we still have a fantastic team in the energy department,” he stated. “However, many problems were resolved remotely. The workload far surpasses the number of remaining staff members,” he explained.

During a recent meeting, he expressed his frustration, saying, “Just two weeks ago, they told us in a meeting that charging is one of the most important things [here.] Then they turn around and do this. I guess we weren’t that important.”

The news of this week’s job cuts affecting the 500-member Supercharger team was initially brought to light by The Information. In the past few days, various media sources, including Bloomberg, have also covered the departure or layoffs of several executives. This list includes Rebecca Tinucci, who served as the senior director of the Supercharger group; Daniel Ho, in charge of new products; and Allie Arebalo, formerly Tesla’s head of human resources.

Tesla does not provide responses to media inquiries in North America. Nevertheless, CEO Elon Musk communicated to employees in an email this week emphasizing the necessity for the company to be “absolutely hardcore about headcount and cost reduction.” Musk later mentioned on X that the growth of Superchargers would persist, albeit “just at a slower pace for new locations and more focus on 100% uptime and expansion of existing locations.”

However, Angelo pointed out that it will be significantly more challenging with far fewer individuals on the Supercharger team now, particularly considering the heavy workload those teams faced. “I was essentially available 19 to 24 hours a day. I had to remain tethered to my phone constantly,” he explained. “I gave up a great deal of family time.”

His comments regarding his time at Tesla resonate with the sentiments expressed by numerous other employees who have worked at the Fremont plant or other facilities of the company, particularly during the challenging period known as “Production Hell” when the Model 3 production was being accelerated.

Angelo mentioned receiving a call from a teammate who informed him that they were locked out of their computer. He later discovered that the layoffs were taking place by reading an article on Electrek. He described the situation as “radio silence” from Tesla since then, with no information provided on whether the affected employees will receive severance pay.

“No information from the top,” he stated. “Nobody knows anything. Even some of the other leaders that were impacted above me. They have no idea.”

Angelo and John expressed their appreciation for their time at Tesla and their pride in the strong network they contributed to building and upkeeping. However, John compared working at the company to a negative romantic relationship, stating, “You put your all into it, you’re loyal to the company, and then all of a sudden you’re let go. You’ve got to keep moving on, but at the same time, you’re kind of hurt inside.”

Most of all, they are both anxious about the future of the charging infrastructure that has become crucial for many individuals, including John, who owns a Tesla.

“I’m in the same boat,” he said. “I don’t want to be stranded somewhere I can’t charge my Tesla either.”

For author inquiries, reach out to patrick.george@insideevs.com.

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