‘Quality Is Going To Deteriorate’: Laid-Off Tesla Employees On Superchargers’ Future

By automotive-mag.com 7 Min Read

Because he worked as a technician servicing Tesla’s Superchargers, John thought he had job security, especially as that network started opening up to other automakers.

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

“This” would be the multiple rounds of layoffs that cost John and an estimated 20,000 other Tesla employees their jobs over the past month. This week alone, those layoffs included most, if not all, of the team developing and servicing Tesla’s Supercharger network—its vast and well-regarded system of fast public EV chargers. The move comes when Tesla seems to be pivoting away from new cars and their support ecosystem to focus on AI and robotaxis instead. 

The former employees who spoke to InsideEVs did so under the condition of anonymity out of fear of professional repercussions or litigation from Tesla; they are being referred to by pseudonyms in this story. Those ex-employees who worked on or around Supercharger service and maintenance said that life at Tesla was often chaotic and intensely busy. But with even fewer people to diagnose and fix those fast chargers, they all wonder: will the network’s legendary ease of use and reliability start to suffer? 

“That’s the billion-dollar question,” said Angelo, another laid-off Tesla employee quoted with a pseudonym. He had been working with a team involved in 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.”

John said he shared the same concerns. “What I’m hearing is, there’s still some guys in the field, but they’re gonna be pretty over-tasked,” he said. And for those employees who are left, “they’re kind of worried and concerned about their positions as well,” he said. 

With more than 50,000 Superchargers, Tesla lays claim to the world’s largest EV fast-charging network. Last year Tesla indicated that, on average, a Supercharger station is used some 320 times per week, a number that has surely gone up since then with the Magic Dock units allowing any EV to charge there and cars from Ford, Rivian and others due to use them more soon. 

“My personal opinion is that quality is going to deteriorate,” Angelo said. “Customers are going to start seeing issues last longer than what they were used to.”

“Don’t get me wrong, we still have a great team on the energy side,” he said. “But we got a lot of issues fixed remotely. The amount of work that needs to be done far exceeds” the amount of people left, he said. 

He added, “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 Information first reported this week’s layoffs to the 500-person Supercharger team. In recent days, that outlet, Bloomberg and others have reported that a number of executives are being laid off or leaving the company as well, including Rebecca Tinucci, senior director of the company’s Supercharger group; Daniel Ho, head of new products; and Allie Arebalo, previously Tesla’s top human resources executive. 

Tesla does not respond to requests for comments from media outlets in North America. However, in an email memo sent this week, CEO Elon Musk told employees that the company must be “absolutely hardcore about headcount and cost reduction.” He later said on X that Supercharger growth would continue, “just at a slower pace for new locations and more focus on 100% uptime and expansion of existing locations.” 

But Angelo indicated that it will be much more difficult with so many fewer people on the Supercharger team now, especially given the workload those teams dealt with. “I was pretty much available 19 to 24 hours a day. I had to stay connected to my phone all of the time,” he said. “I sacrificed a lot of family time.”

His remarks about working at Tesla echo what many other employees have said about working at the Fremont plant or the company’s other operations, especially during the “Production Hell” era when the Model 3 was ramping up. 

Hyundai Ioniq 5 at Tesla Supercharger station in San Clemente, California

Angelo said he got a call from one of his teammates saying they had been locked out of their computer; he then found out the layoffs were happening thanks to an article on Electrek. He said it’s been essentially “radio silence” from Tesla since then, including details on whether these employees are getting severance.

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

Still, Angelo and John said they valued their time at Tesla and remain proud of the robust network they helped build and maintain. But John also likened being employed there to a kind of bad romantic relationship. “You put your all into it, you’re loyal to the company, and then all of a sudden you’re let go,” he said. “You’ve got to keep moving on, but at the same time, you’re kind of hurt inside.” 

Above all, they’re both nervous about what’s next for the charging network that so many people now depend on—including John, a Tesla owner. 

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

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