Energy

Tesla is growing its workforce as rival carmakers cut jobs to catch up in the EV race 

The Tesla Model Y body shop in Fremont, CA. (Credit: Tesla)

Tesla has a ton of things in the pipeline that will keep it busy for the foreseeable future — from building Giga Berlin, ramping the production of the Model Y in the US and China, rolling out the upcoming Cybertruck, Semi, and new Roadster, to further improving its core battery technology. In order to achieve these goals, Tesla has been on a hiring spree to acquire talent to boost its current workforce. In contrast, other carmakers have been cutting jobs as they start a difficult transition towards sustainable transportation.

“It’s hard to think of another company that has more exciting product and technology roadmap. So super-fired up about where Tesla will be in the next 10 years. If you look back 10 years from today to 2010, we will produce approximately 1,000 times more cars in 2020 than we produced in 2010… and we have also Solarglass and solar retrofit and Powerwall, Powerpack, all those things too. So where we will be in 10 years, very excited to consider the prospect,” Tesla chief executive and co-founder Elon Musk said during the company’s Q4 2019 earnings call.

Tesla Continues Its Push

Elon Musk has turned himself into a solar salesman and has kicked off 2020 by setting the stage for a Solarglass Roof installation ramp in the United States. Musk has also mentioned bringing the Solarglass Roof to other markets such as China and Europe. Aside from looking for roofers, it is also partnering with homebuilders and other residential industry players. Giga New York, where solar panels and other components are made, is also looking to add more employees to its workforce.

Tesla is also seemingly testing the waters to build Giga Texas, where it can potentially ramp the production of the Cybertruck and help its other facilities scale battery production. Amidst all this, Elon Musk has also announced that he will be hosting an AI hackathon to fish for talents who can potentially help accelerate the rollout of its Full Self-Driving suite.

Tesla Cybertruck and Tesla Semi with Elon Musk for Jay Leno’s Garage (Source: teslacybertruck | Instagram)

Across the pond, Tesla is busy trying to prepare an industrial property in Grunheide to begin the construction of Giga Berlin, which is poised to go online next year. This Tesla Gigafactory in Europe aims to produce 10,000 vehicles per week and it will need a 12,000-strong workforce to do that. Giga Berlin is currently looking for people to help them in construction, engineering, manufacturing, and operations.

In China, Giga Shanghai is aiming to ramp production of the locally-made Model 3, while starting its program for the Model Y. Tesla is even looking for designers that would help it produce a new vehicle Tesla for the local market and the rest of the globe. Job openings for Tesla China skyrocketed 118% between October last year to February 2020 and have seen a 376% jump in the past year, according to Thinknum Alternative Data’s report. While the coronavirus outbreak in China slowed down job postings recently, the overall hiring activity of the Palo Alto, California-based carmaker is on the upswing across the globe.

Tesla is undeniably the leader in electric vehicles. Through the years, it has been trying to perfect its manufacturing processes, car software technology, and battery capacity. In fact, a recent Model 3 teardown by Nikkei Business Publications revealed that Tesla could be six years ahead of the competition on the hardware front. On the battery front, Consumer Reports recently validated its advantage over other carmakers, and we’re yet to hear the compelling story that will blow people’s minds Elon Musk promised come Battery Day in April.

Tesla Competitors Trying To Catch Up, But That’s All They Can Do — Try

While Tesla keeps on looking for new hires to help it bring its product and technology roadmap into fruition, other carmakers have been cutting jobs. As legacy automakers try to catch up on the electrification of its fleet, most of them need to lay off workers to free funds that they can use for research and development of technology that can come close to what Tesla has had for years.

Last December 2019, Daimler and Audi announced that it will cut 10,000 jobs as the major shift in vehicle technology happens. Audi is also getting rid of 9,500 jobs to free funds for its electrification efforts. Bloomberg News compiled data that revealed carmakers in Germany, the United States, and the United Kingdom are eliminating around 80,000 jobs as they reassess their current workforce in an era of electrification. In China, electric vehicle startup NIO also retrenched about 20% of its workforce. Asian automotive leaders Toyota and Honda have also cut costs to bolster research and development of electric cars and ride-sharing programs.

Tesla has had its own challenges but the company is definitely thriving now, as evidenced by its tangible lead in the EV space. For Q4 2019, Tesla posted revenue amounting to $7.38 billion, beating Wall Street’s estimates. Maintaining profitability, it was able to generate $1.1 billion of free cashflow in 2019. Its stock price also saw a meteoric rise recently propelling its market cap value to $169.16 billion on Feb. 19.

The striking contrast affecting the labor force of Tesla and other carmakers paints the difficult task of traditional automakers who seemed to have been caught flat-footed in a rapidly changing auto industry. Not that these giant car brands do not have the money, but Tesla is just way, way ahead in electrification. With all the activities on the side of Tesla, perhaps legacy carmakers should indeed be frightened.

Tesla is growing its workforce as rival carmakers cut jobs to catch up in the EV race 
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