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Spectators can hardly keep up with the Tesla headlines this year. In the wake of Tesla’s far-from-positive Q1 earnings report, the drama continues. New Tesla layoffs will axe 500 additional staff. Reports have exposed details of an email Elon Musk sent to senior executives. In it, he warns of his “hard-core” headcount and other cost-reduction movements.

The company has just eliminated EV charging, vehicle programs, new product introduction, and public policy executives and their teams. The CEO has said that the company remains committed to producing cars, including an entry-level EV. However, it will look to focus more on autonomous vehicle technologies, including a robotaxi.

In an email to top executives, Elon Musk asserted that the most recent layoff and team leader exits are “making it clear that we need to be absolutely hard-core about headcount and cost reduction. While some on exec staff are taking this seriously, most are not yet doing so.” He goes on to warn staffers that he would ask any executive “who retains more than three people who don’t obviously pass the excellent, necessary and trustworthy test” to resign.

Tesla supercharger station in close view in Texas during the daytime
hapabapa via iStock

However, the release of so many key staffers will surely delay the new product pipeline, including regulatory market entry steps. As its model lineup ages, Chinese competition, like cheap EV maker BYD, is eyeing the top-seller throne. Tesla has its work cut out: the new product pipeline is technically empty, as it has yet to reveal the entry-level car, often referred to as the “Model 2.” Or any other model redesign, for that matter.

What’s more, the company is facing a new query on its 2023 Autopilot recall remedy. The NHTSA is questioning whether its optional and reversible over-the-air update released last year is enough to stop preventable, sometimes deadly, crashes while Autopilot is engaged.