What’s next for Tesla: Lots of hiring — and competition

We already knew Tesla was hiring because last month, CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter to do some recruiting for engineers for Autopilot, the company’s autonomous-driving efforts. A new Wall Street Journal report offers more concrete numbers: Silicon Valley’s pioneering electric-car maker has 1,600 openings and is expected to add 4,500 employees over the next four years.

The Palo Alto company now has 14,000 employees worldwide, up from 899 in 2010, according to the Journal. It is spread out among eight Bay Area offices, and Musk has said it may build a consolidated headquarters soon.

Tesla’s growth comes as more and more companies are working on electric and/or self-driving vehicles.

Faraday Future, the Southern California startup, is intriguing and appears to be working on both. Closer to Tesla’s territory, there are traditional carmakers. For example, my colleague Troy Wolverton has written about Ford testing self-driving cars in California, and the company’s new research center in Palo Alto. NextEV, a Chinese electric-car maker, is establishing a base in San Jose and will be led by former Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior, as my colleague Michelle Quinn wrote recently. Of course, Google and Uber are also working on electric and/or self-driving cars. And Apple is said to be doing the same. (Musk has said those who “don’t make it” at Tesla go on to work at Apple.)

The competition for tech talent among all these companies is fierce, but Musk’s star power may help. “Elon’s tweet opened the gate to a new wave of exceptional candidates,” a spokeswoman told the Journal.

Tesla will need all the help it can get. It has promised the world (and investors) a lot in the next few years. As my colleague Louis Hansen has reported, and as Tech Insider’s Cadie Thompson wrote recently, among Tesla’s promises are: (update) the Gigafactory at full capacity in 2020 (end update); the unveiling of the mass-market Model 3 next year and its production to begin in 2017; fully autonomous cars by 2018; a boost in range to 621 miles by 2017; and — talk about needing a lot of workers — to make 500,000 cars a year by 2020. The company is expected to finish 2015 having made about 50,000 cars.

 

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Photo: Tesla CEO Elon Musk shows off the falcon wing design of the new Model X SUV crossover in its debut from the floor of its plant in Fremont, Calif., on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015. (LiPo Ching/Bay Area News Group)

 

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  • DeeAgeaux

    Gigafactory 1 opens in 2016 and produces battery cells from its test factory.

    Scheduled to be fully operational producing 35 GWh of batteries in 2020.

    • Levi Sumagaysay

      Thanks for pointing that out. Fixed above.

    • levisu

      Thanks for pointing this out. Fixed above.

  • Capt601

    And tesla will continue to say well in front of the other automakers by not being forced to use dealers like the others are forced by nada pushing money to politicians. All in order to keep their 100 year old ancient business practice going with zero competition, meanwhile they continue to cost consumers more and more money for car sales and especially service. With zero benefit to the actual consumer. #tesla4thewin

  • blackylawless

    Elon & companies (Tesla, SpaceX, and SolarCity) ignore the haters–unless criticism is constructive–and push ahead, innovate, and forge new paths.

 
 
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