A second battery engineer has bailed on Tesla since the electric vehicle makers began ramping up production on the supposedly inexpensive Model 3.
Jon Wagner, director of battery engineering, left the company two weeks ago as Tesla continues working on ways to fix a series of engineering problems, according to a Monday report from Jalopnik. He has worked with the company since 2013 and developed technology on the Model 3.
Wagner’s departure comes shortly after Kurt Kelty, who was director of battery technology with the company before it rolled out its first vehicle, left Tesla in August. Tesla has not responded to reporters’ requests for comment on what the company plans on doing going forward.
Their decision to leave Tesla at such a crucial moment could hamper the company’s ability to mass produce the Model 3, which has been stymied by slow production and labor unrest. Former employees with the company claim they were fired so the automaker could cut costs.
Tesla managed to build only 260 Model 3s between July and September, a number well below the 1,500 Tesla promised before the end of the fourth quarter. Total orders for the vehicle tumbled to 455,000 from a high of 518,000.
Production on the highly touted vehicle was expected to expand from 100 cars in August to 1,500 in September. Tesla’s decision to fire scores of employees could complicate that agenda, as well as ignite more calls for the company to unionize.
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