Musk says Tesla charger network will grow, days after layoffs

Tesla boss Elon Musk . Photo: Reuters

Tesla boss Elon Musk . Photo: Reuters

Published May 13, 2024


TESLA boss Elon Musk said on Friday that the electric vehicle manufacturer would invest more than $500 million (R9.2 billion) this year to install new superchargers, just days after a report of massive layoffs in this branch of the company.

“Just to reiterate: Tesla will spend well over $500m expanding our Supercharger network to create thousands of NEW chargers this year,” Elon said on X.

“That’s just on new sites and expansions, not counting operations costs, which are much higher,” he added.

According to tech news outlet The Information on Monday, Tesla was moving to disband its supercharger department, laying off most of its 500 workers as well as its senior director.

The revelation raised questions about the future development of Tesla’s network of over 50 000 fast chargers – the most extensive in the world, according to Tesla – which can add 320 kilometres of range in a quarter of an hour.

The fear of insufficient charging infrastructure is one of the reasons why sales of electric vehicles are progressing less rapidly than expected in the US and Tesla’s well-developed network was seen as key to reassuring customers.

In the first half of 2023, several competitors – Ford, General Motors and Rivian – entered into partnerships with Tesla so that their vehicles could use its fast-charging network in Canada and the US.

A few weeks later, seven automakers –BMW, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz and Stellantis – announced the creation of a joint venture to install, from mid-2024, at least 30 000 fast chargers in North America, accessible to all electric vehicles.

The reported layoffs came shortly after Tesla reported a 55% drop in quarterly earnings to $1.1bn, reflecting the decline in EV sales.