Tesla boss Elon Musk told executives at the electric car maker it must dramatically cut staff, Ford outlined its plans for a $3.7 billion investment in electric vehicles and Stellantis has been charged for selling vehicles that don’t meet emissions standards. All that and more in The Morning Shift for Friday, June 3, 2022.
1st Gear – Tesla to Cut 10 Percent of Jobs
In the same week that Tesla boss Elon Musk warned employees at the electric car maker to return to the office or quit, he’s now suggesting that the firm needs to lay off up to 10 percent of its staff.
According to Reuters, the Tesla CEO sent an email to executives at the firm warning that he had a “super bad feeling” about the economy and that it was time to “pause all hiring worldwide.” From Reuters:
“Almost 100,000 people were employed at Tesla and its subsidiaries at the end of 2021, its annual SEC filing showed.
“Musk has warned in recent weeks about the risks of recession, but his email ordering a hiring freeze and staff cuts was the most direct and high-profile message of its kind from the head of an automaker.”
The report says Musk did not elaborate on the bad feeling that led to the call to cut staff. But it does follow his recent cautions that we might be in a recession. On Twitter, he warned that recession was coming but that it was “actually a good thing” for some reason. He argued that “it has been raining money on fools for too long. Some bankruptcies need to happen.” I take it this means I’m not a fool?
Despite calling for a hiring freeze, Tesla currently has almost 5,000 listing on LinkedIn. And the move comes less than two months after Tesla outlined its ambitious hiring plans for its new site in Texas.
2nd Gear – Ford Invests $3.7 Billion in EVs
While Tesla might be looking to make cuts, Ford is doing the exact opposite and has announced an ambitious round of funding to support the development and construction of its next-generation vehicles, including EVs.
According to CNN, the Blue Oval will invest $3.7 billion across three mid-western states to ramp up production of new electric models, build an as-yet-unseen new Mustang model, and increase construction of commercial trucks and vans.
Ford will spend $2 billion in its home state of Michigan as part of a move to create 2,000 new jobs and increase production capacity for its F-150 Lightning electric pickup. In Michigan, funds will also support the build of a redesigned Ranger pickup and a yet-to-be-revealed new Ford Mustang.
The company will also invest in its plants in Ohio and Missouri, per CNN:
“Ford will spend $1.5 billion at its Ohio assembly plant to build a “new electric commercial vehicle” that will be introduced around 2025. The company will also be investing around $100 million in an engine plant and a transmission factory in the state.
“In Missouri, Ford is spending $95 million to add an additional factory shift to produce gas-powered Transit commercial vans and electric E-Transit vans.”
In total, the spending will help create 6,200 unionized manufacturing jobs across Ford’s US plants.
3rd Gear – Stellantis Charged Over Emissions
U.S. lawmakers have charged Stellantis with criminal conspiracy as part of a multi-year probe into emissions fraud surrounding vehicles with diesel engines.
“The government’s criminal information charges FCA US with conspiracy to defraud the U.S. to violate the Clean Air Act and to commit wire fraud, said the automaker deceived U.S. regulators and sold the vehicles “knowing that those vehicles did not meet U.S. emissions standards” and also deceived customers “by making false and misleading representations.”
“Stellantis declined to comment.”
Last week, Reuters reported that Stellantis intended to plead guilty to the allegations, which relate to its “efforts to evade emissions requirements” for certain diesel-powered Ram pickup trucks and Jeep SUVs.
Stellantis is expected to receive a fine of up to $96 million as part of the settlement, and further payments could bring the total penalty closer to $300 million.
A final plea hearing for the case is scheduled for 1:30pm today in Detroit.
4th Gear – Tesla Slams on the Brakes
The NHSTA has had its eye on Tesla and its autopilot level 2 driver-assist system for some time. And now, it is calling for answers from the EV maker after more than 750 Tesla owners complained that their cars were braking for no reason when the system was engaged.
In a 14-page letter seen by AP News, the NHSTA asks Tesla to share “all consumer and field reports it has received about false braking, as well as reports of crashes, injuries, deaths and property damage claims.” Per AP News:
“In the letter, NHTSA asks for the initial speed of when the cars began to brake, the final speed, and the average deceleration. It also asks if the automated systems detected a target obstacle, and whether Tesla has video of the braking incidents.
“The agency is now seeking information on warranty claims for phantom braking including the owners’ names and what repairs were made. It’s also seeking information on Tesla’s sensors, any testing or investigations into the braking problems, or if any modifications were made.”
Also, in order to find out more about how Tesla has tested the system, the NHTSA has asked the firm to share details on how it detects metal bridges, different sized vehicles and reflections or shadows caused by snow or heavy rain.
Tesla has until June 20th to share the desired information with the NHTSA, but says that the firm can ask for an extension if required.
5th Gear – GM Hails aSelf-Driving Taxi
Cruise, the self-driving car firm backed by General Motors has become the first company of its kind to receive a permit to charge passengers for rides in its autonomous vehicles.
Reuters reports that Cruise was awarded the permit to carry paying riders in driverless cars yesterday, becoming the first company to do so in San Francisco. According to Reuters:
“The permit was Cruise’s final hurdle in California. Cruise said it would launch paid services within the next couple of weeks using up to 30 driverless Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles.
“The California Public Utilities Commission approved Cruise’s permit late Thursday in a 4-0 vote.
“Commissioner Clifford Rechtschaffen said during the meeting the panel had been “taking a careful, incremental approach” to regulating autonomous vehicles.”
Under the rules of the permit, self-driving taxis must be limited to 30mph, must stay within an area that avoids the busy downtown region and should stay off the road “at times of heavy fog, precipitation or smoke.”
The move to allow driverless cars on the streets of SF came despite warnings from local emergency responders. They warned that a “Cruise AV briefly blocked a San Francisco fire engine in April,” and police in the area tried to pull over a driverless car that then drove away from them.
Reverse: Let’s Take a Walk
It’s 57 years since the first American astronaut walked in space. In 1965, Major Edward H. White II opened the hatch of Gemini 4 and stepped into the abyss.
Neutral: How are you?
It’s the end of the longest short week in ages; how have you been? Are you doing anything nice this weekend? I’ve got tickets to a show tomorrow and a friend’s birthday BBQ on Sunday. It should be nice!