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Tesla Supercharger Network

Tesla Supercharger Network: Not for Sale

May 13, 2024 by Joe Panettieri

Is Tesla's Supercharger network up for sale? Some speculation started after Tesla laid off 500 employees from the EV (electric vehicle) charger network team. Then, BP expressed interest in potentially acquiring some Tesla Supercharger sites across the United States. But don't let the market chatter confuse you. It appears clear that Tesla will retain and expand its highly touted EV charger network -- even if the journey involves some speed bumps.

Amid the Tesla layoffs, some companies have attempted to snap up that talent and associated assets.

2-Sujay-Sharma-BP-Plus-Americas
Sujay Sharma, CEO, BP Plus Americas

In an interview with Bloomberg, BP Plus Americas CEO Sujay Sharma said: "If there are stranded real estate partners who are looking for someone to call, they should feel free to pick up the phone and call me or look me up on LinkedIn. We are actively seeking good talent and real estate opportunities that allow us to grow, despite whatever else is going on around us."

Don't Confuse EV Charger Network and Real Estate

Still, it's important to draw a clear line between Tesla's Supercharger network and the underlying third-party real estate.

Seeking to clarify the situation on May 10, Tesla CEO Elon Musk posted this on X: "Just to reiterate: Tesla will spend well over $500M expanding our Supercharger network to create thousands of NEW chargers this year. That’s just on new sites and expansions, not counting operations costs, which are much higher."

Elon Musk, CEO, Tesla
Elon Musk, CEO, Tesla

The same day, Musk touted a new Supercharger Community on X.

Read between the lines, and the Tesla Supercharger Network isn't up for sale. The strategy, Musk wrote on April 30, is as follows: "Tesla still plans to grow the Supercharger network, just at a slower pace for new locations and more focus on 100% uptime and expansion of existing locations."

Amid Musk's statements via X (formerly Twitter), some EV charging partners have yet to receive official updates from Tesla. Aaron Luque, CEO of Tesla charger installer Envirospark, told Business Insider that the company still hasn't heard from Tesla after Musk gutted the company's Supercharger division, with dozens of potential charging sites now stuck in limbo, Business Insider added.

EV Charger Network Industry Growth, Challenges

The bigger story here involves the worldwide energy transition. the need for associated EV charger infrastructure, and the challenging path forward.

Amid that journey, the U.S. electric vehicle (EV) charging market could reach 35 million charge points by 2030 -- up from roughly 4 million today, PwC asserts. Moreover, the global EV charger market could reach $105.8 billion by 2032, up from $9 billion in 2023, according to Precedence Research. That's a 28% compound annual growth rate (CAGR), Precedence notes.

Aaron-Luque-EnviroSpark-Energy-Solutions
Aaron Luque, CEO, EnviroSpark Energy Solutions

Key EV charger companies include ChargePoint, Blink Charging, EVgo, Tesla and plenty of others.

Still, the EV charger market faces numerous reliability challenges, Bloomberg reports. Indeed, parts break, information screens freeze, payment systems malfunction, and copper thieves steal the cords, Bloomberg noted.

Further complicating matters, many EV charger companies are losing money while spending heavily to expand and improve their networks. Amid that backdrop, ChargePoint had layoffs in January 2024 -- following a CEO change in November 2023, and earlier layoffs in September 2023.

Tesla Supercharger Network: Strategic Importance

In some ways, the Tesla Supercharger Network emerged as a de facto standard because of its highly respected user experience. Indeed, most EV car manufacturers are adjusting their strategies to ensure their cars can plug into Tesla's network.

The Tesla strategy is somewhat similar to the Apple iPhone strategy. Yes, the iPhone can be a standalone device. But the real power involves Apple designing all of the hardware and software to work together as a networked system. Much in the way that the Apple Store adds immense value to the iPhone ecosystem, the Tesla Supercharger network has a multiplier effect for Tesla owners.

As of Q1 2024, Tesla had deployed:

  • 6,249 Supercharger stations, up 26% from Q1 of 2023
  • 57,579 Supercharger connectors, up 27% from Q1 of 2023

Those data points surfaced in Tesla's 2024 Q1 Quarterly Update Deck.

Admittedly, the Tesla layoffs caused fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) about Tesla's Supercharger network strategy. Nonetheless, we believe Elon is committed to the EV charging network. But we'll be watching to see how partners and customers are supported in the months ahead.

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