How To (Barely) Make Sense Of Tesla Sacking Its Supercharger Team


What reasons could Tesla possibly have to laying off its entire Supercharger team when most consider it to be one of the company's prized jewels?

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Far be it from me to expect Tesla’s chieftain to have fully thought out, rational plans that he doesn’t disclose to the world, but the explanation for the layoff of the entire Supercharger team might lie in an earlier post — the one about self-connecting chargers. The current team probably has expertise in electric power distribution, metering, and billing systems. These projects are all finished, and need far fewer people to maintain. So those people have to go.

A new fleet of robotaxis needs to be able to pull up to a station at the end of its shift and be automatically recharged. Designing a next generation of self-connecting chargers takes a different constellation of talent, probably with a lot of robotics skills, and a new crew of managers to herd their engineers.

Unless it turns out to be just a Model 3 with the steering wheel and pedals removed, a clean sheet robotaxi doesn’t necessarily need to have a NACS charging connector that needs near human-level tactile abilities to connect and disconnect. William Grey Walter’s 1950s tortoises and my 2010s robot vacuum cleaner have connector designs that allow them to find their chargers and recharge themselves just fine without any fancy robotics..

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