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Elon Musk pledges to grow supercharger business he just decimated

Craig Trudell, Bloomberg News on

Published in Automotive News

Elon Musk touted plans to expand Tesla Inc.’s Supercharger network just over a week after firing almost all of the roughly 500 people who ran the business.

Tesla will spend “well over” $500 million on growing its network this year, Musk said on X, the social media network he owns. Ten days ago, the automaker’s chief executive officer wrote that Tesla planned to add chargers at a slower pace and focus more on uptime and existing locations.

Musk hasn’t offered specifics on how the charging business will operate after he dismissed its senior director and virtually everyone working under her late last month. The move came as a shock both to customers and other carmakers that are starting to use its plugs. Executives for manufacturers that signed agreements just last year to access Tesla’s Superchargers say they’ve been unable to reach representatives for the Austin-based company.

Tesla shares fell as much as 2.4% as of 11:30 a.m. Friday in New York. The stock has declined more than 30% this year.

 

While Tesla provides quarterly updates on the number of Supercharger stations and connectors, it hasn’t regularly shared information on how much it’s spent on the network. It’s unclear how the more than $500 million expense Musk referred to compares to past investment. He didn’t respond to an emailed request for comment.

The head of BP Plc’s electric-vehicle charging business in the U.S. told Bloomberg this week that the oil major was eager to step in and work with any real estate partners that Tesla may have abandoned. Blink Charging Co. CEO Brendan Jones also said Thursday that the company was poised to take advantage of its competitor pulling back.

Musk’s turnabout is reminiscent of when he abruptly announced in early 2019 that Tesla would close most of its stores and shift sales almost completely online. Ten days later — after landlords refused to let the company out of its leases — Musk backtracked and announced Tesla would raise vehicle prices.


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