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Tesla has a reputation as a promising, sometimes exciting, often volatile, and occasionally erratic company. The company has been an innovator and pioneer in the development of mass-market electric vehicles, but sometimes its CEO makes decisions that surprise and confound everyone. Tesla’s latest confusing decisions could have a negative impact on other EV buyers — and the entire market for electric vehicles.

In mid-April 2024, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced that the company would be cutting 10% of its workforce, due to slow EV sales and a need to reduce costs. Tesla stock (as of May 14) is down by about 28% in 2024, amidst a broader downturn in demand and prices for EVs. But then on April 30, Elon Musk announced that he was laying off the Supercharger team, the entire 500-person division that was responsible for building and expanding Tesla’s EV Supercharger network.

But wait, there’s more: on May 13, Elon Musk announced that Tesla was re-hiring some of the people from the Supercharger team that had recently been laid off. But it’s not clear how many were re-hired, or whether Tesla will keep building Superchargers at as fast of a pace as the EV industry was expecting.

Let’s look at what Tesla firing its Supercharger team could mean for other EV buyers — even if you don’t buy a Tesla — and what you should do about it.

Tesla fires its Supercharger team: What’s next for EV charging?

Tesla has been building its network of fast EV “Superchargers” since 2012, and has created the world’s largest network of fast EV chargers, with 6,200 stations and 57,000 chargers. Tesla’s Superchargers are so widespread and useful that some other EV automakers have agreed to use the Tesla Supercharger’s connector technology as an industry standard. Ford, General Motors, and Rivian recently announced they would start building their cars with Tesla’s charging connectors.

If other car companies use Tesla’s EV plugs and charging stations, that’s ultimately good news for Tesla — because it means more customers for Tesla’s charging stations, even if they’re not driving Tesla vehicles. But by firing its Supercharger team, Tesla might have caused big problems for other EV companies, EV buyers, and for itself.

Will Tesla keep building Superchargers?

As of May 14, it’s unclear how the Tesla Supercharger team will operate going forward. Elon Musk has stated publicly on May 10 that Tesla would invest over $500 million in 2024 to create thousands of new EV chargers. But as of April 30, Musk said on X (formerly Twitter) that Tesla would be focusing on “100% uptime and expansion” of its existing Supercharger locations.

Why Tesla’s Supercharger slowdown matters to EV buyers

Along with costs of EV car insurance, one of the biggest concerns most people have about EVs is range anxiety — the idea that it will be difficult to charge your EV battery and that you could run out of power at the worst possible time. Many everyday EV drivers can charge their EV battery at home with a standard household outlet, but what if you have a longer commute or want to take a road trip through a rural area?

Tesla seems to have made a partial about-face on the decision to fire its entire Supercharger team. But if Tesla doesn’t continue to invest in building fast-charging stations for EVs, who will? If Tesla does not keep expanding its EV charging network, this could cause a larger slowdown in demand for EVs. Fewer Superchargers could mean fewer people feeling comfortable buying EVs. Other public charging infrastructure, private gas stations, or other businesses and locations will need to pick up the slack in offering fast EV charging.

What to do before you buy an EV: Research car insurance and charging stations

Before you buy an EV, before you even go to the dealership, do some research. Shop around for EV car insurance price quotes. Get comfortable with a ballpark estimate of how many miles you drive per day, and how effectively you could charge your EV at home.

And use websites like PlugShare ( to find public EV charging stations near you. Find EV chargers on the routes you drive most, and read customer reviews to see which EV chargers are free, reliable, well-maintained, and easy to access. Tesla’s Supercharger stations might be your best local option if you’re willing to pay, but don’t assume that any one company or location is your only choice for EV charging.

Bottom line

Tesla’s recent shocking, confusing announcements about its Supercharger team are the latest examples of why EV buyers need to be prepared for a few bumps in the road. Even if you love driving your EV and saving money on gas, there are still some uncertainties and inconsistencies in the availability and reliability of EV charging infrastructure.

The federal government and private companies are working to build more EV chargers and give people reliable electrified vehicle transportation from coast to coast. Hopefully Tesla’s recent decision will not cause a lasting setback in EV buyers’ battle with range anxiety.

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The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Tesla. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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