Tesla Fires Many on Charger Team, Raising Doubts About Expansion

Elon Musk has gutted the part of Tesla responsible for building electric vehicle charging stations, sowing uncertainty about the future of the largest and most reliable U.S. charging network.

The layoffs of several hundred Tesla employees, which many of them posted about on social media on Tuesday, raised questions about deals that Mr. Musk, Tesla’s chief executive, struck with the leaders of General Motors, Ford Motor and other automakers last year allowing cars made by other companies to use Tesla Supercharger stations.

Tesla’s agreements with other makers of electric cars assured buyers that they would be able to find fast chargers on road trips, addressing one of the main reasons that many people are hesitant to buy such cars. It was also seen as a coup for Mr. Musk, validating Tesla’s technology and giving the company outsize influence over the auto industry.

Almost all major manufacturers announced plans to switch the hardware and software in their cars to make them compatible with Tesla’s chargers. Ford has been mailing adapters to owners of its older electric vehicles so they can connect to Tesla’s chargers.

“Ford’s plans for our customers do not change,” Martin Günsberg, a Ford spokesman, said in an email.

The abrupt dismissal of the Supercharger team caught many people off guard, and suggested that Mr. Musk had changed his mind about the company’s strategy in ways that were not yet clear to outsiders.

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