Tesla makes more layoffs while building a new $4 billion battery plant in Kansas

(Mike Wooldridge)

Two years after Oklahoma lost the bidding war with Kansas for a $4 billion Panasonic EV battery plant, construction remains underway even though the company to be supplied with batteries is making layoffs nationally.

Ground was broken in the summer of 2022 on the plant where eventually 4,000 employees will make electric vehicle batteries for Tesla. The site is in the town of De Soto just outside the Kansas City metro area.

Ironically, progress continues on the plant while Tesla is laying off thousands of workers because of a slump in EV sales around the nation. Road work and installation of electric power to run the De Soto plant were necessary as construction continues.

(Angie Wooldridge)

Tesla’s latest layoffs include 700 workers at its plant in Sparks, a suburb of Reno, Nevada. The company filed a layoff notice affecting 693 workers on April 19 but reports indicate the document wasn’t made public by state officials until this week.

Tesla’s Gigafactory Nevada operation is a lithium-ion battery and EV component factory and has been in operation since 2016. It has about 12,000 employees.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk sent a memo to employees earlier in April saying there will be a 10 percent layoff of the firm’s workforce because of a drop in first-quarter sales.

“—it is extremely important to look at every aspect of the company for cost reductions and increasing productivity,” declared Musk in the memo. The company reported a 9 percent decline in car sales from the first quarter of last year to the first quarter of 2024.

How many workers make up 10 percent? About 14,000 out of Tesla’s 140,473 workers will likely be let go. As we reported last week, Tesla announced it will lay off 2,700 at its Austin, Texas factory and another 3,300 workers in California.