Home » Tesla Should Sell Its Supercharging Business

Tesla Should Sell Its Supercharging Business

Tmd Tesla Superchargers Ts2
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And Elon wept, seeing as he had no more chargers to conquer.

The big news of yesterday, besides the Astros actually winning a game in extra innings, was that Elon Musk unfollowed a bunch of people on X. Just kidding (sort of)! The big news was that Musk fired almost the entire team responsible for running his successful Supercharging business. There are a lot of theories for why he did this, but there’s one I think is kinda fascinating and it makes this move, and a sale of the business, sort of logical.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Less logical and more emotional is Musk’s unfollowing of people, which I do want to talk about a little bit because it fits nicely into a discussion about why talking about Elon Musk is often not fun.

And let’s finish up talking broadly about April’s first sales reports and, oh, the UAW planning to strike against Stellantis. Let the Hump Day Morning Dump begin!

Tesla Fires Supercharging Team And, Fine, It’s A Mediocre Business

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Tesla, the EV automaker that creates 10x headlines for every 1x car it builds, is in the news for yet another round of massive layoffs following the company’s relatively poor performance in Q1 of this year.

What’s drawn the most attention is that the layoffs seem to have almost entirely obliterated one team. From the BBC:

Tesla has fired its entire Supercharger division, staff who worked in the team say.

There are over 50,000 Superchargers globally, the company says, making it the world’s largest fast-charging network for electric vehicles.

Boss Elon Musk said the firm would cut one in ten jobs, as it faces strong competition from less expensive rivals.

That seems bad! Here’s some analysis from Tesla-watcher Fred Lambert, who also noted that Tesla is backing out of some leases for new Supercharger sites:

I am extremely perplexed by the move.

If one thing was a clear success at Tesla, it’s the Supercharger network. Even from a talent perspective. No other charging team in the world has been able to do what Tesla did.

Tesla had just won the charging standard battle – making NACS the new standard in North America and all other automakers adopting and jumping onboard with the Supercharger network.

The timing is perplexing from the outside. Tesla has won the charging war and now most major automakers are going to be switching to the Tesla-developed NACS standard. In fact, one would think that Tesla would want to invest more in NACS since more automakers and customers will be using the service.

Here’s an article over at Electrek from late last year about how potentially valuable the Supercharging network might be for the company:

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Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives, who has been covering Tesla for a long time, came out with a new note to clients today in which he stated that he believes the Supercharger network will represent 3% to 6% of Tesla’s total revenue or $10 to $20 billion in revenue by 2030.

Ives wrote:

With the introduction of Tesla’s Magic Dock, an adapter that will allow non-Tesla EVs to charge on the NACS standard, this provides the company an incremental opportunity to further expand its charging footprint to the entire EV fleet.

That doesn’t seem to be happening here, so what’s going on? The Reuters report on this same news makes a point that’s worth considering:

More traditional automakers might hang on to a business that promised steady revenue and near-continuous data exchanges with customers, analysts said. But Musk could take a Silicon Valley entrepreneur’s view that charging is a legacy business that could be streamlined or even divested.

“My guess is that now that the industry has adopted the NACS standard, he views Supercharging less as a strategic moat and more as a cost center,” said KC Boyce, a vice president at data analytics firm Escalent.

The Tesla Supercharger network could have significant value if Musk wanted to sell it, analysts said. Rival U.S. charging networks have struggled with reliability problems and do not have the scale or prime locations Tesla has locked in.

Here’s my reaction to that underlined parts:

In business, a “moat” works much like an actual moat in medieval times, keeping invaders (competitors) out, and keeping the people (customers) in. When only Teslas had access to the incredible Supercharging network it was one reason why people felt the need to buy a Tesla and it was hard to argue with!

As has been continually reported, one of the reasons why NACS is becoming the standard is that car companies and customers are super disappointed with non-Tesla charging companies like Electrify America.

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But once anyone can get into a Tesla Supercharger the moat is gone, and it just becomes another business. And one with a lot more competition. It’s also a tough business, with Volkswagen spending $2 billion and failing so far.

If there was a huge competitive advantage to be had in charging then carmakers would all have their own charging networks; instead, automakers are teaming up to make joint ventures like Ionna (BMW + Mercedes + Honda + Hyundai/Kia/Genesis).

Tesla has a first-mover advantage in terms of Supercharger locations and technology, but the technology part is now partially gone. Given that Elon Musk is shifting the carmaker away from being a carmaker, why not just sell the Supercharger division? It has a lot of value and that money could be put into AI or other endeavors. What does Musk himself have to say?

That’s not the usual enthusiasm Musk tends to have for his next big idea.

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Musk Unfollowers Some Of His Biggest Fans

Muskdefending

I don’t know who originally created the meme, based on The Simpsons, but it’s always true. It’s so hard to talk about Elon Musk and we, as a site, even have a whole section in our style guide about the topic because we don’t want to be knee-jerk, reflexively critical of Musk just because some of us might disagree with his personal beliefs.

The Lisan al Gaib Musk ain’t, but the fervor around Musk is real, and it doesn’t help that Musk also owns the social platform most associated with people exhibiting cult-like behavior.  Apostasy is soon to follow!

For instance:

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This is interesting. Sawyer tweets about everything Tesla-related and does so with a very pro-Tesla perspective. While I don’t always agree with Sawyer’s reflexively pro-Tesla view, he’s a good follow because he’s just relentless and notices everything [Ed Note: Agreed; Sawyer Merritt is on the ball. -DT]. Omar, aka Whole Mars Catalog, is a little more out there in his support of Tesla.

So why the unfollow? Sawyer explains:

Musk didn’t say what happened, but unfollowing huge fans for sharing information you don’t want shared seems within Musk’s usual range of behaviors.

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I don’t think that Sawyer will take the same heel-turn that long-time Tesla stan Fred Lambert has (he’s lately been more critical of Musk than he was before), especially because…

… he’s still going to be voting to make Elon Musk basically the highest-paid employee of any company at any time in human history.

Hyundai And Kia Have A Down April

2023 Ev6
Photo: KIA

Kia has seen a few months of sales downturns and now Hyundai is joining, though it’s a pretty small number. Year-over-year Hyundai sales dropped 3% in April and Kia was down about 3.6%. What’s going on?

First, as I’ve noted before, when the numbers get down to a couple of percentage points, there’s some seasonality to consider. April has one fewer selling day this year than it did last year, so the overall market is expected to decrease about 2% year-over-year.

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That’s still not great, but at least Kia and Hyundai are both seeing EV sales jump. Kia hit a record with 3,623 EVs sold, which includes more than 2,000 of the EV6. At the same time, Hyundai saw EV sales up 26%.

The biggest drop in the group was Genesis, which lost 5.9%

UAW Warning Of Strike At Stellantis Warren Plant

Warren Stellantis Factory Plant
Source: Stellantis

When I said I was worried about Stellantis sticking the landing yesterday, I meant it. The company is making a big jump and all the little things can add up quickly

To wit, The Detroit News has a story today on a potential strike at the Stellantis plant in Warren, Michigan, which makes parts for numerous vehicles in the company. The issue? Safety.

“When it rains, the facility floods because the ceiling is leaking. We have to fight for every single pair of work gloves, while we handle metal and materials to build world class vehicles for Stellantis,” Local 869 president Romaine McKinney III said in a statement. “The list goes on, and we’re putting an end to it. Our union grievance procedure gives us the power to stand up for safety on the job, and we intend to take action if necessary.”

That’s not great. Here’s the response:

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“Stellantis is committed to providing a safe and healthy work environment for all employees,” the company said in a statement sent by spokesperson Jodi Tinson. “The company is in discussions with UAW Local 869 to assess open health and safety grievances at the Warren (Michigan) Stamping Plant and aims to resolve this matter without a work stoppage.”

When it rains it pours… and also the plant’s ceiling allegedly leaks.

What I’m Listening To While Writing TMD

The first Gorillaz album is so good. All the songs are great. This album came out the year I went to college and it blew my mind. Plus, who doesn’t love Del The Funky Homosapien as a ghost who can rap?

The Big Question

Who should buy the Supercharger network?

Top graphic images: Tada Images and Doomu, via Stock.Adobe.com

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ColoradoFX4
ColoradoFX4
1 month ago

Who should buy the Supercharger network?

I’ll tell you who shouldn’t: private equity.

Pupmeow
Pupmeow
1 month ago
Reply to  ColoradoFX4

Lord deliver us from that evil.

Hallucinogenic Jack
Hallucinogenic Jack
1 month ago
Reply to  ColoradoFX4

Thing is, there’s nothing to buy. He just canned most of the assets. The hardware, network, etc, is replicable. The people cannot be replaced. The network will be worthless in ten years.

Marlin May
Marlin May
1 month ago

The real estate (installations in prime locations), associated infrastructure, agreements with utilities along with city, county, state and the federal government. There’s a lot to buy that isn’t easily & quickly replaceable.

As someone has already mentioned, a big data powerhouse like Alphabet or Amazon would have the funds to buy the IP, hire the personnel that were dumped onto the open market, and have the big data chops to make use of the flood of data coming from the supercharger network. Especially if they merge that data with the information they already have with customers in both databases.

Eggsalad
Eggsalad
1 month ago

Under duress, I bought a 10-year-old Hyundai exactly a year ago. It’s been recalled twice since, and it’s currently under a “park away from structures” recall (since November) for which there is no solution in sight. I will not consider a Hyundai again.

Adam Rice
Adam Rice
1 month ago

Tesla will no longer need their charging network after they pivot to an all-diesel fleet. You heard it here first.

Stoney got got (potentially)
Stoney got got (potentially)
1 month ago

More than likely they aren’t doing all the firing “willy nilly.” I can see a sale, but not right away because they don’t need to. Tesla over the past year or two already accomplished having the whole charging segment by the balls, and is now going to be the only game in town.

With all the mandates in the US, and the often-times stricter global push, Tesla can basically sit on its hands at this point. Supercharger has taken everyone on a ride that there is no turning back from, and eventually the demand for more juice (which Tesla now controls the distribution of) will just keep increasing the value of the network.

To me, it’s one big game of “Who Blinks First?” and Tesla (think A Clockwork Orange except they are doing it to themselves) assuredly ain’t gonna blink anytime soon.

Which, as crazy as that sounds, seems straight up their alley.

Jonathan Hendry
Jonathan Hendry
1 month ago

Tesla is blinking because Elon is pissing in their eyes.

JaredTheGeek
JaredTheGeek
1 month ago

I don’t think that Tesla should sell the business. A lot of EV Charging providers are having difficulty right now. It’s a new market still and Tesla has provided a mature and highly available service. They are slowing their rollouts and concentrating on expanding sites and working on uptime according to Elon. The V4 charger rollout has only seen dispensers and not V4 cabinet infrastructure hitting. I like to believe there has been an examination of data about utilization, rollouts, and other data and this decision was made with that data in mind. It’s an opportunity for other companies to fill in the gaps and provide us with real competition. Rivian even has new chargers coming similar to the V4 cabinets. With NACS basically settled for the US this could reinvigorate the space.

Jim Stock
Jim Stock
1 month ago

I would like some company to buy them, like a gas pump company+VC$ and build a charger and put one+ at every gas station in the country. I know that will not happen but it would be cool.

Jon Benet
Jon Benet
1 month ago

Elon should just sell the whole company. He clearly wants to work on FSD only. The only way he gets FSD into enough cars to be profitable is by partnering with other car companies. He has pretty much fired every one in the businesses Tesla can’t compete in. SuperChargers, 4680, $25k Car, Solar are all dead. put on the back burner. It’s a bold move to bet the company on FSD. I don’t think it will work, but we will see. Elon’s a nut job and he can probably groom enough people into thinking it is working. He is also trying to fool the shareholder into giving him $56 billion or about 10% of Tesla’s market cap. Looks like a smoke show right now, but it is an interesting soap opera.

Luxobarge
Luxobarge
1 month ago

Who should buy the Supercharger network? Simple: ExxonMobil. (Or another petroleum giant.)

If the coming of electric cars is dangerous to the oil companies’ bottom line, then they can either fight a rearguard action and try to delay the inevitable loss of that line of business, or they can invest in the thing that will replace it and transform their company. That kind of long view is usually not what shareholders want to hear, but the petroleum giants have enough surplus cash to future-proof their business a little buit, and earn some environmentalist goodwill to boot.

A good car-oriented example of this is Studebaker, which alone among 19th century wagon makers made the leap from horse-drawn equipment to gasoline-powered automobiles and trucks by partnering with and then buying small manufacturers (Garford, E-M-F) and leveraging their existing dealer base to sell them. They kept the car business going for decades after they built their last horse wagon.

DadBod
DadBod
1 month ago
Reply to  Luxobarge

Even better, they could buy the network then focus on 9.99% uptime and kill EVs in the crib

Luxobarge
Luxobarge
1 month ago
Reply to  DadBod

TBH, a solid business model.

Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
1 month ago
Reply to  DadBod

Yeeeeeah, I don’t think I’d trust an oil company buying the one reliable charging network for a second.

Dumb Shadetree
Dumb Shadetree
1 month ago
Reply to  DadBod

We need 5 9’s of reliability!
Exxon: We got you, we’ll improve to 9.9999% uptime.

DadBod
DadBod
1 month ago
Reply to  Dumb Shadetree

Totally, this was the joke in my office when management was all about FIVE NINES!

Jon Benet
Jon Benet
1 month ago
Reply to  Luxobarge

Exxon Mobil did invent the Lithium Ion Battery.

Sir-Barks-A-lot
Sir-Barks-A-lot
1 month ago
Reply to  Luxobarge

Shell Recharge can expand overnight. But they’re not that forward thinking. BP I think uses rebadged superchargers so maybe them.

Ottomottopean
Ottomottopean
1 month ago
Reply to  Luxobarge

From that POV I could also see the Saudis stepping in to buy it since they’ll need a replacement income as well. Maybe they can even get the remnants of the solar business tech thrown into the deal so they can build a supply of electricity business to power the chargers.

I read a sci-fi novel years ago (Ben Bova maybe, ~2000-2005 maybe) where the Saudis had seen the end of oil coming and developed tech that transferred electricity from giant solar arrays in orbit around the earth down to the Sahara desert (because no one lived there) via microwaves. Basically the same area where oil fields are now because it’s not really habitable and microwaves aren’t really something you want to be around. Japan was supposed to be testing a similar system later this year I think.

So, I think you’re on the right track. Whether oil producers are that forward thinking is another question…

Stoney got got (potentially)
Stoney got got (potentially)
1 month ago
Reply to  Ottomottopean

The PIF fund has already been diverting money away from oil by the hundreds of Billions for the last decade or so, anyway. Hence, all their involvement in sports and real estate and to a lesser degree buying into/up luxury consumable goods.

I doubt they want the headache or comparatively paltry returns from charging networks, but who knows with those dudes?

Ottomottopean
Ottomottopean
1 month ago

I bet gasoline was pretty paltry in the late 1800s/early 1900s too. I would bet on the Saudis and other foreign interests to play the long game more than any entities in the US. Which may also be why I would think BP and Shell would be much more likely than Exxon-Mobile too.

Stoney got got (potentially)
Stoney got got (potentially)
1 month ago
Reply to  Ottomottopean

Huh? Back then, they were hunting whales for oil, lol.

Ottomottopean
Ottomottopean
1 month ago

Step 1: Steal underpants
Step 2…

SNL-LOL Jr
SNL-LOL Jr
1 month ago
Reply to  Ottomottopean

Scotland used to be big in oil exploration. I don’t think there are underpants for stealing though.

05LGT
05LGT
1 month ago
Reply to  Ottomottopean

Step 3: PROFIT!!!

05LGT
05LGT
1 month ago
Reply to  Ottomottopean

Step 2 was always monetize deeply personal and private information.

Drive By Commenter
Drive By Commenter
1 month ago
Reply to  Ottomottopean

Ben Bova had quite the interesting take on things. The way things have gone it’s almost alternate history at this point.

The Saudis have thought this through. It’s why they invested so heavily in Lucid and other renewable energy investments. IIRC a saying in the 1990’s was, “My father rode a camel, I drive a Mercedes and my son will ride a camel”. Recognizing that oil was making them wealthy but that the black gold would eventually run out or become worthless.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
1 month ago
Reply to  Ottomottopean

I was about to say the Saudis would buy it. Musk is (or was) BFFs with Saudi VIPs. They’ve widely been investing in EVs to avoid losing their oily cash cow.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
1 month ago

I mean it makes no sense to me whatsoever that Elon is gutting the staff of one of the two things Tesla is objectively really good at…but in his sleep deprived, ketamine addled brain maybe it does?

Loudog
Loudog
1 month ago

Perhaps we can look at this a different way: in 2022, Musk fired the FSD folks because it wasn’t headed where he thought it should be going. FSD is dead, right? What we’re seeing here is a more radical solution to a common silicon valley issue; the company grows quickly, folks get hired, maybe you didn’t get the people you wanted. Mass layoffs ensue. Rumor has it that this firing was a statement and the VP was dragging her feet in trimming headcount (see variuos Twitter threads on this.) This is not a good idea if you’re working for Musk.

Jonathan Hendry
Jonathan Hendry
1 month ago
Reply to  Loudog

Various Twitter threads? You’ll only get sycophants arguing that “the bitch had it coming”.

Loudog
Loudog
1 month ago

You have a better source? Lots of folks posting right now, and nobody has said that, at least in the areas I monitor.

Taco Shackleford
Taco Shackleford
1 month ago

The Lisan al Gaib Musk ain’t

He is much more Feyd Rautha then anyone else.

DialMforMiata
DialMforMiata
1 month ago

He’s looking more like Beast Rabban lately. At some point he’ll go full Baron Harkonnen.I bet suspensor technology is next.

Taco Shackleford
Taco Shackleford
1 month ago
Reply to  DialMforMiata

He’ll call it the SpaceX body upgrade – Full Self Floating.

Jonathan Hendry
Jonathan Hendry
1 month ago
Reply to  DialMforMiata

“Welcome to Tesla, new employee. Step into this lab and they’ll install your heart plug.”

LTDScott
LTDScott
1 month ago

The world we live in has deemed that perception is often reality and optics matter, but Elon doesn’t seem to care. Not that long ago I was mostly neutral on Elon and had a general positive opinion of Tesla cars and technology. I wasn’t in the market to buy an EV, but if I was, I would seriously consider a Tesla.

Today you practically couldn’t pay me to buy a Tesla. Admittedly part of it is my dislike of Elon in general due to his personal stance on some things, but more importantly I see so many of his moves as puzzling and not indicative of a healthy business with a strong leader that I would genuinely be hesitant to put any of my hard earned money into their products. Laying off the entire supercharger team is the cherry on top for me. Even if it’s a smart business move somehow, it sure doesn’t look good.

But of course this is some sort of 3D chess that I and many others are apparently not smart enough to understand.

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Username Loading...
1 month ago

My thoughts were that Tesla would move to franchise supercharging. They would produce and license the superchargers allowing others to shoulder the burden of installing and maintaining.

Chartreuse Bison
Chartreuse Bison
1 month ago

I think other charging networks are sorta like that. And that’s why they are absolute dogshit

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Username Loading...
1 month ago

I have no idea if it would be a good idea or not, and they could probably structure it so that significant downtime would crush any viability of a given location/franchise.

RidesBicyclesButLovesCars
RidesBicyclesButLovesCars
1 month ago

I think the other networks suck because of the equipment they install and the slow CCS handshake. My Tesla needs 30-60 seconds to get the charging started at a CCS charger. I’m slightly better than 50% success rate at CCS stations. I’m still at 100% success rate for superchargers. Charging typically starts in five seconds or less.

Tesla had a business need to get DC fast charging right. If they failed, they would fail as a car company. That pressure drove the reliability the supercharger network is known for. No one else had that pressure. Especially Electrify America and the DC fast charger manufacturers.

Hopefully this move by Elon doesn’t break the supercharger network. That would set back EV adoption in this country by years. My understanding is the people tasked with maintaining it are still employed. The group that was getting new locations planned and installed is gone.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
1 month ago

If he sells the Supercharger network, I’d hope he’d do some serious diligence on the buyer, because if the network becomes terrible, Tesla sales will tank.

Vic Vinegar
Vic Vinegar
1 month ago

But if you wanted to expand a brand of charging stations, “Superchargers” are the ones you want. “The others” are exactly that. The public barely recognizes them, and the ones who do, probably don’t think highly of it.

Pit-Smoked Clutch
Pit-Smoked Clutch
1 month ago

I’m too lazy to look up if Tesla releases this number, but do they even make any money on superchargers? I doubt it, because I don’t think anyone does, it’s why no one bothers to fix them when they break. Tesla has done it because they consider it a cost of doing business. They are expensive to install and only used by typical EV owners occasionally.

RidesBicyclesButLovesCars
RidesBicyclesButLovesCars
1 month ago

I agree. To use a gas station comparison, there is more profit to be made selling the pumps (and associated monitoring and maintenance plans) than selling the gas.

Almost every time we stop at a supercharger, we buy stuff from the business it’s located at. That supports the gas station business plan. Make pennies on the fuel, make bank on the roller dogs and caffeinated drinks.

Sir-Barks-A-lot
Sir-Barks-A-lot
1 month ago

Chargepoint operates that way with the ability to buy into their maintenance contracts. Most businesses do not buy into those contracts and are responsible for their own maintenance that’s why Chargepoints are often down in private locations.

Spikersaurusrex
Spikersaurusrex
1 month ago

Is Stellantis bankrupt? First they’re not paying suppliers and now they aren’t supplying safety equipment to workers or maintaining a factory. Most employers recognize that you should fix leaky roofs just to protect the assets inside. It also seems pretty obvious that worker’s comp claims from people who were injured due to lack of protective equipment are untenable and extremely expensive in the long run. What’s next, are they going to quit remitting their payroll tax withholding?

One of the first things I’ve noticed about fast food restaurants that go out of business is that they start rationing the paper napkins. Is that what Stellantis is doing?

Sir-Barks-A-lot
Sir-Barks-A-lot
1 month ago

Stellantis seems to severely be neglecting the NA market which was once their most profitable sector. No idea why. Seem to be just fine in Europe.

Parsko
Parsko
1 month ago

Hot take 1: The Supercharger network had an ROI that fell “below the horizon” in his magical equations, and it was time to sell. Step 1: remove all staff.

Hot take 2: Elon is so butthurt lately by what’s going on that he has decided to bail on electric vehicles. Step 1: kill the Supercharger network.

Hot take 3: From takes below, his first mover advantage is waning, and now he can prop up selling his cars for a while until that advantage is fully gone.

Hot take 4: With the attention span of a goldfish, he has simply moved on. Step 1…..

Who? US, all of us. The taxpayer. We are going to end up owning this after Elon drives it into the ground, and we have no choice.

EmotionalSupportBMW
EmotionalSupportBMW
1 month ago

Tesla shouldn’t sell the Supercharger network and they really shouldn’t have fired everyone who worked on it. With the Supercharger network, they basically had a clear path to basically monopolizing the future gas pumps. There is no current real challenger currently. This is the tech company dream, market capture of a common day-to-day product. And the first sign of trouble Elon’s dumping it in favor of A.I? Why? All these large language model/AI companies are just vaporware money dumpster. Even noted fans of burning money on vaporware the Saudis are pulling back their investments in AI. There’s just no real path to profitability, as these models aren’t quite ready to replace us even at the most basic levels of functioning. This definitely deserves 56 billion dollars. Nothing says smart business like voluntarily taking out your competitive edge for the box. The box could be anything, even another competitive edge!

Aaron
Aaron
1 month ago

AI is the next big VC dump and Elon knows it. He’s just repeating his personal cycle, albeit with a little more baggage by way of some established companies that produce a tangible product. For the Supercharger layoffs, he probably sees it (wrongly) as a self-sustaining operation and an easy place to make cuts. Reducing expenses (layoffs) to juice the bottom line and hitching his wagon to the current Silicon Valley VC darling is a good way to keep that ‘infinite growth’ machine spinning for a few more quarters.

MY LEG!
MY LEG!
1 month ago
Reply to  Aaron

I think you got it exactly. Paypal muscled him out so he had to find something to throw money at so he ended up bumbling into SpaceX, Tesla, etc.

This is just his playbook he would have run if he was allowed to sink Paypal.

Last edited 1 month ago by MY LEG!
EmotionalSupportBMW
EmotionalSupportBMW
1 month ago
Reply to  Aaron

I think Elon is a coming in late to AI spending party. With the PIF pulling back money (They even downsized Neom RIP!). Softbank feeling the sting of the Yen. Andreessenn Horowitz tied up in other unprofitable vaporware. And Peter Thiel busy doing whatever odd adventures he’s up too. I’m not seeing who can really bring a money truck big enough for him. Elon’s name will always have his cache. But the whole money not being free thing is hitting these guys hard.

Aaron
Aaron
1 month ago

Elon’s too big to have an angel, anymore. He either hasn’t realized this or he’s hoping the masses will fill the role and pour money into Tesla by snapping up the stock. I think AI is one of the last gasps of this kind of VC-driven, infinite growth profit machine economy. As you put it, money isn’t free anymore and the suckers have been left holding the bag too many times.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
1 month ago
Reply to  Aaron

Related: the chatgpt release single handedly made Zuck stop pushing his Metaverse boondoggle in favor of AI.

Drew
Drew
1 month ago

To sell the Supercharger business without the staff will be rough, but I suspect finding a buyer will be doable. Doing so just as other makes are getting access feels like a way of offloading while the value seems high, but the modifications will be expensive. And laying off the people running it will slow down the transition at a critical point for accommodating those vehicles.

Seems like a move you make when you still want to keep the Tesla vehicle advantage for a little longer. Plus, if he sells quickly enough, he can extract the value before the competition starts installing NACS chargers in real numbers. The layoff doesn’t make a lot of sense, though. I guess it could be seen as a way to lay the responsibility and blame entirely on the new owners if the business sours.

Jonathan Hendry
Jonathan Hendry
1 month ago
Reply to  Drew

Maybe Exxon will buy the Supercharger business and shut it down to make EVs less viable.

Drew
Drew
1 month ago

That’s a fairly realistic possibility, sadly.

Toecutter
Toecutter
1 month ago

Even better: make it a public utility with no profit motive in order to minimize the costs of charging the cars. This will increase the uptake of EVs by reducing operating costs.

SaabaruDude
SaabaruDude
1 month ago
Reply to  Toecutter

…because no profit motive bodes well for uptime and improvements?

Aaron
Aaron
1 month ago
Reply to  SaabaruDude

When the profit is derived from growth and not maintenance, it is. Most of these public charging networks are trying to hit growth goals to get government incentives and/or please investors.

Vic Vinegar
Vic Vinegar
1 month ago
Reply to  SaabaruDude

My electricity is delivered by a cooperative, they make some money, but not a ton. Our uptime is insanely good, far better than neighboring providers.

Drew
Drew
1 month ago
Reply to  Toecutter

That would be ideal, but I just don’t see it swinging that way. Which is too bad. When they started allocating money to the expansion of charging access, that should have been at least strongly considered going the public utility route, but I think it was always a foregone conclusion that it was going to be private.

Parsko
Parsko
1 month ago
Reply to  Toecutter

LOL, you’re right, but SOOOOOOOO wrong.

Aaron
Aaron
1 month ago
Reply to  Toecutter

I love the idea. I trust the local utility crews (the ones that can get my power back in a matter of minutes in the midst of a torrential downpour) to maintain uptimes better than VW’s penance project. Unfortunately, creating new public goods is not a thing we do in the US, anymore. I’ve oft heard the quip that, if someone came up with the idea of libraries today, they’d be called a communist and laughed out of the room.

Mike B
Mike B
1 month ago
Reply to  Aaron

I’ve heard the same, and also that the banning of lead paint and asbestos would be protested as being “woke”.

MY LEG!
MY LEG!
1 month ago
Reply to  Mike B

<deleted; unable to locate source atm – not going to spread bullshit>

Last edited 1 month ago by MY LEG!
Mike B
Mike B
1 month ago
Reply to  MY LEG!

Now I’m really curious. Care to give me the gist of it, so I can look it up myself?

Jonathan Hendry
Jonathan Hendry
1 month ago
Reply to  Mike B

There are Qanon-adjacent people who think lead paint was banned because it would block the mind control rays.

Marteau
Marteau
1 month ago

Deleted cause no emojis

Last edited 1 month ago by Marteau
Loudog
Loudog
1 month ago
Reply to  Toecutter

Public utilities have a terrible track record for innovation. We’re nowhere near done with completing the core technology for the EV build out. It may someday go public, but now is not that time.

Toecutter
Toecutter
1 month ago
Reply to  Loudog

It’s more than good enough right now if we go to more efficient vehicle platforms so that we can get more range on less battery. 40 kWh should be good for 300 miles range in a family-suitable vehicle with sufficient aero streamlining. With a battery of sufficient power density, this is a sub-15-minute charge time.

It’s these overbloated trucks/CUVs/SUV EVs with 200 kWh packs that require faster charging, and from a resource standpoint as well as cost standpoint, they will never be viable for the masses anyway. Yet that is the current focus by the auto industry and government, and it will likely cause mass adoption of EVs to be a failure. They’re seeking infinite growth on a planet of finite resources and expanding population.

Last edited 1 month ago by Toecutter
Loudog
Loudog
1 month ago
Reply to  Toecutter

I am a fan of your concepts, but the market isn’t moving in that direction. I’ve been watching Aptera but they seem to have a chronic “you can’t have this” issue. Maybe if they ship we could see it happen?
Assuming that we get a more rapid charging battery I think we’ll see two more generations of chargers before things get static. Unfortunately, you’re going to need those 200kWh trucks for lawn service/landscaping/many other functions, so we’re going to want those better chargers.

Jonathan Hendry
Jonathan Hendry
1 month ago
Reply to  Loudog

Public utilities don’t have to innovate as long as they can buy 3rd party innovations on the open market.

Municipalities can offer public wifi without having to do wifi R&D. They can just upgrade when new innovations come on the market.

Loudog
Loudog
1 month ago

Municipalities are piggybacking on massive private R&D. Public utilities are different because they’re defacto monopolies. They’re only allowed to innovate as much as their PUC will let them. Example: it took the telecom act of 1996 to kick data networking to where it is now. I saw DSL tech in 1988 in the CO of <some Air Force base>. PUC wouldn’t allow the LEC to deploy it.

Eric Smith
Eric Smith
1 month ago

At least down here in the wonderful world of right-to-work and freedumb we don’t really have very many public energy utilities. The entire US only 1 in 7 folks get power from a public utility and only 10% of generation is from public utilities. That private investment is at least partially to blame for the blackouts during the Texas ice storm a few years ago, etc.

The public ones tend to be small (crazy that out of 3195 in US 2020 are public yet still make up only 10% of generation). So it tends a lot more complex in general than “public utilities don’t innovate”. For one thing in some areas they tend to be at a distinct disadvantage due to lobbying efforts by the private utilities, leading to additional layers of bureaucracy (for instance) and unnecessarily complex governance structures.

I can point to two public utilities that did innovate (and led to a campaign outlawing that particular innovation in most of the US). Chattanooga’s power utility rolled out a public fiber network along its power lines that is amazing and brought highspeed internet to areas that were traditionally un/underserved by the private companies. Likewise after ATT and Comcast more or less declined to upgrade their networks, so the city of Lafayette, LA did similarly and rolled out a city-wide fiber network that has the highest customer satisfaction rating in the state and beats the pants off the private incumbents. I recognize those aren’t the best examples, but the two I could come up off the top of my head.

Stoney got got (potentially)
Stoney got got (potentially)
1 month ago
Reply to  Toecutter

I don’t think it’s such a swell idea to have even more stuff more constrained by being run by the government.

Geoff Buchholz
Geoff Buchholz
1 month ago
Reply to  Toecutter

Toe (may I call you Toe?), you are on to something.

I came here to suggest that the US Departments of Energy and Transportation find a way to buy it and run it jointly. It would be the logical next step in the government’s effort to encourage people to buy EVs, plus it could give thousands of people decent-paying jobs.

This, of course, would apply to the Superchargers in the 50 states and assorted territories, though I think it would be a smart play for other governments to take over their Supercharger networks, for the same reason.

Toecutter
Toecutter
1 month ago
Reply to  Geoff Buchholz

Ideally, it would have minimal government involvement(just enough to keep it operational/maintained without any hands in the cookie jar) and no nw taxes to fund it. Usage would be priced just enough to where the facilities can sustain themselves. Which would possibly be somewhere around $0.15-0.25/kWh depending upon location and user base.

If private companies want to build their own, there shouldn’t be anything stopping them, but they’ll have to find a way to either keep prices down to compete or offer the customers value for the extra money they will have to spend to pay for profit margin.

Unfortunately, governments and “private” corporations alike are bureaucratic nightmares that attract parasites to the top of their hierarchies. It would need to be structured in a way to disincentivize the parasites and shut them out of the money. It should b about allowing the user base inexpensive electricity for their cars, nothing more, nothing less, with bare minimum amenities.

Mechjaz
Mechjaz
1 month ago

For whatever reason the self-titled album has been coming to mind a lot lately and I’ve been listening to it once or twice a week. It’s still so, so good. Gravity (Sound Check) is sooo good, Clint Eastwood is still a jam. Demon Days was the first CD I ever bought with my own real-job (KFC, and I don’t even like fried chicken) money, but Gorillaz will always be my favorite.

Fuzzyweis
Fuzzyweis
1 month ago

It’s not just that other car makes are switching to NACS, it’s also other charging companies will be providing NACS, so from both sides the supercharging advantage is getting whittled away.

Drive By Commenter
Drive By Commenter
1 month ago

Shareholder value was not created by firing the whole team responsible for a great PR asset. People may hate Musk and may not like the cars. The Superchargers being far better than anyone else were a great advertisement. Look at one and it’s instant brand association and knowledge that they just plain worked. Now that value has been vaporized. Ready, fire, aim!

Greg
Greg
1 month ago

IMO, Elon is correct when he says Tesla is not a car company. As they started winning the charging war, I bought a little of their stock(not much at all, and obviously the price has been on a roller coaster since). I don’t have any faith in the CARS, I do have faith in their underlying tech and their charging network. Selling it would be the absolutely dumbest thing to do, and I think people are just hoping to get rid of Elons influence on EV’s.

I see Tesla not making cars in 10 years, and just doing infrastructure work, and IMO thats where they will make more money then they ever have, and become a company with value. He is also focusing on AI through Tesla, which I have to admit I don’t completely understand. But, will AI leverage data to sell to marketers for even more money? Probably.

While EVS are hitting some road blocks, they are still selling, and even if they reach a 50% use rate vs ICE these chargers will have a ton of value. And all the proprietary replacement parts that go with them. Tesla is tech company, they are not a car company to me.

If I could have bought into Star Link and their Space programs, I much rather would have done that, thats where I think the true future value is from any of Elons companies.

As far as his tweets, I really don’t give a shit. He’s always been wishy washy, and really just likes to be popular. I am for capitalism, but I am also of the belief that anyone with billions of dollars is a bad person. That includes all political spectrums and situations, from Dr Dre, to Warren Buffet or Elon Musk, it don’t matter to me. Sit at 800million and you and the next 20 generations should be OKAY if you aren’t an idiot. Donate the rest.

Last edited 1 month ago by Greg
Jonathan Hendry
Jonathan Hendry
1 month ago
Reply to  Greg

Tesla is a ketamine company.

Greg
Greg
1 month ago

I took special k once in college, holy shit. Had to go lay down. Never again, can’t imagine what it would take to use regularly.

DadBod
DadBod
1 month ago

Without the people to run it, how is the SuperCharger network worth anything to a buyer?

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
1 month ago
Reply to  DadBod

This is the weird thing to me. If he was planning on spinning it off or selling it, why fire everyone first? Doesn’t that make it less valuable?

Red865
Red865
1 month ago
Reply to  Rad Barchetta

That way the new SuperCharger owner can rehire employees back at much lower wages…no legacy salaries.

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
1 month ago
Reply to  Red865

It’s going to be a real challenge for the new owner to hire back the technical staff that understands how the whole thing works at a lower wage, especially if they’ve already moved on elsewhere. That kind of specialized knowledge doesn’t come cheap.

Red865
Red865
1 month ago
Reply to  Rad Barchetta

Can’t apply logic when you’re dealing with corporate finance.
I’ve worked for companies that would cut both arms off to make this qtr’s number look good.
My favorite was the across the board staffing cuts…doesn’t matter if your department is already seriously understaffed, except for Sales, they never cut Sales.

Dumb Shadetree
Dumb Shadetree
1 month ago
Reply to  Rad Barchetta

From what I’ve heard from a friend in middle management, Tesla already pays terrible wages. They include stock incentives for many (most?) employees to try and make up for the low pay. Hiring back the technical staff with higher wages should honestly be pretty easy.

SaabaruDude
SaabaruDude
1 month ago
Reply to  Rad Barchetta

Firing expensive staff (at least some/many of whom were contractors and not employees, according to other sources today) is like Page 2 of the “preparing to sell your company” playbook: goose your margins for a quarter by slashing costs, even if those cuts aren’t sustainable.

PlugInPA
PlugInPA
1 month ago
Reply to  SaabaruDude

You do that with nameless support staff though, not people who are regularly in the news and being named to “top whatever” lists.

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
1 month ago
Reply to  SaabaruDude

Yeah, but he didn’t fire just some of them, he fired all of them. All the engineering staff, all the service/support people, anyone with knowledge of how to build and maintain the network are gone. Whoever buys it up is going to have a hard time getting those people back at a reduced rate if they’ve already moved on.

Greg
Greg
1 month ago
Reply to  DadBod

A lot of companies, tech especially, hired LIKE CRAZY leading up and through covid. They now have bloated budgets, way to many employees and money is not free. That means you cut the fat you hired and realized was a little much, because you need more cash to run your company, and it isn’t cheap enough from the banks anymore.

Everyone is ignoring this. Despite every other large tech company in America and really the world, axing thousands of people. Elon does dumb things, but he’s not a complete idiot.

Last edited 1 month ago by Greg
PlugInPA
PlugInPA
1 month ago
Reply to  Greg

“We’re making cuts to all teams” is at least logical. Cutting an entire team is not.

Greg
Greg
1 month ago
Reply to  PlugInPA

Agreed. I like to give news about 3 days though, because a lot of times the initial story makes a lot more sense once its fleshed out. I can admit it might just be a big axing of the entire line. But I am hoping that there is a plan in place and it wasn’t just a random kill off.

PlugInPA
PlugInPA
1 month ago
Reply to  Greg

The most logical explanation I have seen is that Rebecca Tinucci refused orders to lay off a huge portion of her staff, so Elon showed everybody who’s boss by firing them all. It would be great if there were some explanation from Tesla about why this made business sense, but without one, I’m guessing everybody at Tesla is trying to figure it out too.

Greg
Greg
1 month ago
Reply to  PlugInPA

That actually makes a lot of sense to me. “Oh you want to play tough? You’re fired”. Might be something he regrets, but he wouldn’t be the first CEO/Boss to pull that move.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
1 month ago
Reply to  PlugInPA

Yes, that seems to be what happened, he threw a temper tantrum and fired not just the executives who failed to follow his orders in reducing headcount in their divisions, but the entire org chart underneath them to prove a point that he is not to be disobeyed. Scorched earth policy

Loudog
Loudog
1 month ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

Um, he *is* the CEO, and they need to follow his instructions. That’s the point. It doesn’t mean I approve of this, but if I was going to nuke a department in that company to make a point, that’s the one I’d have picked as well. Power, data and site maintenance skills are not exactly rare.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
1 month ago
Reply to  Loudog

Firing everyone under them was just a pure asshole move, firing a manager for insubordination is fine, but the people under them did nothing wrong and replacing and rebuilding an entire huge division from scratch is going to be a major distraction and waste of money and resources when all that needed to happen was fire the person in charge and then implement the 10% staff reduction

Loudog
Loudog
1 month ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

Asshole move? Maybe. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen this in SV though. Couple that with the Supercharger announcement coming soon, I think we’ll have a better idea about why this went down

Jonathan Hendry
Jonathan Hendry
1 month ago
Reply to  PlugInPA

I assume she refused to bear his child.

Last edited 1 month ago by Jonathan Hendry
Arch Duke Maxyenko
Arch Duke Maxyenko
1 month ago

Who should buy the Supercharger network? In what could only be described as hilariously ironic, GE should buy it.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
1 month ago

Nobody should buy it, it should be floated as a separate company with shares issued to existing Tesla stockholders

Goose
Goose
1 month ago
Reply to  Matt Hardigree
Last edited 1 month ago by Goose
Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
1 month ago
Reply to  Matt Hardigree

Does GE even really still exist?

DadBod
DadBod
1 month ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

LOL, no. Jack Welch destroyed it.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
1 month ago
Reply to  DadBod

Welch set it up, Immelt finished the job. They had 20+ years after Welch retired to change course and fix it, but didn’t do it and carried on with the same failed ideas

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
1 month ago

More ironic than Whipple?

Detroit Lightning
Detroit Lightning
1 month ago

lol at unfollowing his weird nerd superfans

PlugInPA
PlugInPA
1 month ago

FRIENDSHIP ENDED WITH SAWYER MERRITT

NOW CATTURD2 IS MY BEST FRIEND

Detroit Lightning
Detroit Lightning
1 month ago
Reply to  PlugInPA

hahahahahahhahahahah this got me good

05LGT
05LGT
1 month ago
Reply to  PlugInPA

My cat jumped and gave me a dirty look when I couldn’t keep the chuckles in.

PlugInPA
PlugInPA
1 month ago

Selling or spinning off the Supercharger network as a functioning business made sense, but now that the talent has been given the boot, it’s just a depreciating asset. Tesla has done revolutionary things, and Musk has been a huge part of that, but he has completely lost his marbles over the last four years and is destroying one of the most important companies in the USA.

Scoutdude
Scoutdude
1 month ago
Reply to  PlugInPA

Yeah if they wanted to sell it as a functioning business they needed to keep the employees, or at least most of them to be a functioning business.

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