Morale 'sucks' at EV startups like Lucid and Rivian. That could be a death blow for the Tesla wannabes.




Happy Monday, readers. Writing to you from a drizzly New York, I'm your host, Jordan Parker Erb.

Today, I want to highlight an enlightening piece from my colleague, Alexa St. John. Over the course of several months, she spoke with dozens of workers at electric-vehicle startups like Lucid and Rivian, and found that amid a storm of issues, employees are losing faith in the mission.

TLDR: Morale "sucks," and it's only getting worse.

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Collage of car production conveyer belt, people being laid off, and an angry construction worker 4x3
Collage of car production conveyer belt, people being laid off, and an angry construction worker 4x3  

Canoo; Rachel Mendelson/Insider

1. Morale "sucks" at electric-vehicle startups like Rivian and Lucid, insiders say. Over the past six months, more than three dozen workers in the EV-startup space told Insider they're not as optimistic as they once were - and that plummeting mood could be a death blow for struggling Tesla wannabes.

  • Once industry darlings, startups like Lucid and Rivian are facing a raft of troubles: production delays, a supply-chain crisis, and increasingly robust competition from the likes of Ford and General Motors.

  • According to some employees, low production numbers, managerial missteps, and layoffs are all sending morale into a tailspin. Some workers said their unhappiness had driven them to leave the industry entirely.

  • That's grim news for the likes of Rivian, Lucid, Canoo, Xos Trucks, Fisker, and Faraday Future, which are built on the faith of not just investors, but also the thousands of workers who chose them over legacy automakers or established tech giants.

Here's everything startup employees told us.

In other news:

A worker repairs energy lines during a power outage after Hurricane Ian passed through the area on September 29, 2022 in Bartow, Florida.
A worker repairs energy lines during a power outage after Hurricane Ian passed through the area on September 29, 2022 in Bartow, Florida.  

A worker repairs energy lines during a power outage after Hurricane Ian passed through the area on September 29, 2022 in Bartow, Florida. The hurricane brought high winds, storm surge and rain to the area causing severe damage.Gerardo Mora/Getty Images

2. Elon Musk will deliver 120 Starlink satellites to southwest Florida. In the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, the SpaceX satellites will help reinstate internet service in regions particularly hard hit by the storm. More on that here.

3. The most powerful women at Meta share their best advice. Following longtime COO Sheryl Sandberg's departure from the company, we asked five Meta execs to share their wisdom for women hoping to climb the corporate ranks. From leading with kindness to staying confident, here are their lessons for up-and-coming leaders.

4. An Amazon analyst said he "fell asleep" watching "Rings of Power." The TV show, a $1 billion "Lord of the Rings" spinoff produced by Amazon, has been suffering poor viewer reviews - and this analyst said his experience has made him even more worried the project may be a bust.

5. Meet 35 "Shopify Mafia" members who've launched their own companies. With Shopify dubbing itself "the entrepreneurship company," many of its ex-employees have become entrepreneurs in their own right, earning their place in the Shopify Mafia. We outlined some of the most notable entrepreneurs in the bunch and what they're working on - see our list here.

6. Ari Emanuel recently pushed for a settlement between Elon Musk and Twitter. Bloomberg reported that Emanuel, Musk's vacation buddy and famed Hollywood agent, attempted to broker a potential settlement between Twitter and the billionaire Tesla CEO. What we know so far.

7. Inside Google's last-ditch effort to save its failing Stadia game service. After many attempts to save it, Google last week announced it'd be shuttering Stadia, its game-streaming service. We took a look at everything that led up to this point.

8. Insider's reporter shares why he regrets buying the iPhone 14 Pro Max. Sam Tabahriti bought the brand-new phone the day after it was released. After a couple of weeks of playing with the iPhone, he's found there are no big surprises - and wishes he didn't buy it. He explains why.

Odds and ends:

A 540-square-foot backyard home.
A 540-square-foot backyard home.  

The 540-sqaure-foot backyard home with a black finish.Dwell

9. You can have this tiny home craned into your backyard. If you're looking to build a guest house, rental apartment, or fitness studio - and if you have $400,000 to spare - you can now have a 540-square-foot, one-bedroom tiny home put together in your yard. Get an inside look at the tiny house.

10. Tesla just gave us a fresh glimpse of its humanoid robot. In its first public debut at the company's AI event, Tesla's long-anticipated AI robot, Optimus, waved and danced for the crowd. Elon Musk said it could do much more - but he "didn't want it to fall on its face." See Optimus here.

What we're watching today:

Keep updated with the latest tech news throughout your day by checking out The Refresh from Insider, a dynamic audio news brief from the Insider newsroom. Listen here.

Curated by Jordan Parker Erb in New York. (Feedback or tips? Email jerb@insider.com or tweet @jordanparkererb.) Edited by Hallam Bullock (tweet @hallam_bullock) in London.

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