Elon Musk Laid Off Supercharger Team After Taking $17 Million in Federal Charging Grants

Tesla announced Tuesday that it will lay off everyone who works on both the new vehicle and Supercharger teams. At this point, no one has any idea what CEO Elon Musk was thinking or what’s going to happen going forward. Including other automakers that recently switched to NACS. Maybe Musk is just looking to get out of the charging game? If that’s the case, then it must be a recent development because, as Politico reports, Tesla is also the single biggest benefactor of federal EV charging grants from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Out of all the EV charging grants that have been handed out so far, Tesla reportedly won almost 13 percent of them, totaling more than $17 million. Considering that the Tesla Supercharger network is currently the best network in the country, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. And with the deals Tesla struck to allow non-Teslas to use Superchargers, we’re almost surprised that figure isn’t higher. There are plenty of things that Tesla does wrong, but its charging network definitely isn’t one of them.

Then again, perhaps Tesla wasn’t awarded more grants to avoid making it look like the federal government is lining Tesla’s pockets or creating a state-funded monopoly. As Politico points out, 13 percent of all grants awarded is unlikely to prompt any antitrust claims.

Tesla doesn’t just have an advantage because of the network it’s already built, either. In addition to proposing larger charging hubs than much of its competition, Tesla also builds them for a lot less money. That $17 million that it was awarded was for 41 charging stations, whereas Oklahoma-based Francis Energy reportedly needed $30.4 million to build 37 stations.

The irony, of course, is that while Tesla is more than happy to take the federal government’s money, its CEO has spent months tweeting about how Biden is ruining the country, calling him “a damp [sock] puppet in human form” while also actively engaged in carrying out the Great Replacement Theory, an incredibly racist far-right conspiracy that claims immigrants are going to wipe out the white race.

If Musk had any principles, you’d think he would have refused the damp sock puppet’s money, but we all know Musk doesn’t have any principles beyond doing what he wants at any given moment. More importantly, though, it makes Musk’s decision to fire the entire Supercharger team even more confusing. Tesla was in an incredible position to keep being awarded more grants, clearly had interest in continuing to build out the Supercharger network, and now, just, what? Gave up?

Maybe Musk plans to hire a brand new Supercharger team. Maybe Tesla just plans to let the Superchargers go to fallow. Maybe there’s something we’re missing here, but if you’re confused, just know you’re far from the only one.

This article originally appeared on Jalopnik.

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