Tesla's Rebecca Tinucci Recognized in Time's Top 100 Most Influential Climate Leaders

By Kevin Armstrong
Rebecca Tinucci at Tesla's Investor Day 2023
Rebecca Tinucci at Tesla's Investor Day 2023
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As the Senior Director of Charging Infrastructure at Tesla, Rebecca Tinucci is not just a key executive in the company but also a pivotal figure in the electric vehicle industry. She has been recognized as one of the "100 Most Influential Climate Leaders in Business for 2023" by Time Magazine.

Well Deserved Recognition

Tinucci's notable achievement in 2023 was her successful negotiation with other leading EV manufacturers to expand access to Tesla's charging network across the United States. This strategic move involved integrating major automotive brands such as BMW, Ford, GM, Honda, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, and Toyota into Tesla's charging ecosystem.

This expansion has made Tesla's charging standard the de facto choice in North America and opened new revenue streams for the company by welcoming non-Tesla EV owners to use its network. Additionally, it has positioned Tesla to benefit from federal charging infrastructure funding, from which it was previously excluded.

This strategic expansion under Tinucci's leadership signifies a monumental shift in the EV charging landscape. By creating a more inclusive charging network, Tesla has not only bolstered its position in the market but also contributed significantly to the broader adoption of EVs, reinforcing the company's commitment to sustainability and innovation.

Tinucci was a shining star among Tesla's leadership during the Investor Day 2023 event in March. She enthusiastically led the audience through Tesla's charging advancements and teased the future. Tinucci was the one to first hint at the Tesla retro diner that is now under construction in Los Angeles. She also gave a lot of ammunition to speculate about a possible charging pad.

Educational and Early Professional Foundations

After completing her Commerce, Finance, and Management studies at the University of Virginia, Tinucci embarked on her professional journey in 2008 as a Management Consultant at Kurt Salmon Associates in New York. In 2009, she ventured into entrepreneurship by establishing Evatran. This enterprise, known as Plugless Power in the market, specializes in the pioneering field of wireless EV charging.

Tinucci's career took a significant turn when she relocated to the West Coast in 2018 and joined Tesla in a pivotal role as a Senior Product Manager. She distinguished herself by forming and leading a team focused on developing Machine Vision technologies for advanced manufacturing processes there. Her ability to drive progress was quickly recognized, leading to her promotion to Senior Program Manager of the Energy Group within just four months, where she focused on software development and pivotal strategic projects.

Ascending the Ranks at Tesla

Tinucci's climb through Tesla's ranks was rapid and impactful. She soon took on the role of Staff Technical Program Manager, where she was responsible for overseeing critical initiatives throughout the engineering division. As the Senior Manager for Super Charging, she played a crucial role in Tesla's expansion, implementing innovative features such as integrating wait times into Tesla's navigation system for busy Supercharger stations and introducing variable charging rates based on the time of day at selected locations.

Her promotion to Senior Director of Charging Infrastructure marked a significant milestone in her career. Tinucci oversees Tesla's worldwide charging business units in this role, directing a team of more than 450 professionals. Her recognition by Time Magazine underscores her influence and the critical role she plays in advancing sustainable transportation solutions. As she continues to lead Tesla's charging infrastructure to new heights, her contributions are setting new benchmarks in the EV assigning domain.

A Better Routeplanner 5.0 Launches; Adds EV Charger Ratings Using Rivian Data

By Karan Singh
Not a Tesla App

A Better Routeplanner 5.0 launched yesterday, and there are some pretty awesome features coming to all EV owners courtesy of Rivian. Rivian purchased ABRP last year and has made good on its promises to continue its improvement and ensure it remains open to all EV owners.

Charger Scoring

Rivian recently added a feature that would rate any chargers compatible with Rivian vehicles. The list of chargers includes Rivian Adventure Network (RAN) chargers, Tesla Superchargers and any other compatible third-party chargers. The charger score is automatically calculated based on the station's average top speed and reliability.

With the launch of ABRP 5.0, Rivian is integrating its charger scores directly into the free tier of ABRP so that all EV owners can benefit. ABRP users will now be able to see charger scores, and ABRP will automatically route users to chargers with higher scores if they are available on your route.

Google Automotive

Another cool feature for ABRP is that it will now be available as an app to install and use directly in vehicles that support Google Automotive. Any EV that uses Google Automotive, including Volvo,  Polestar, Ford, and GM will support the in-system experience, which will also provide data for charger scoring and routing.

This will be an excellent way to hold third-party networks accountable, which have commonly suffered from uptime or speed issues.

Tesla’s Implementation

Tesla previously implemented a “Qualified Third-Party Charger” program, that would allow highly-rated third-party chargers that meet a strict set of requirements to be displayed directly in the vehicle. However, this is currently limited to Europe and parts of the Middle East. Within North America, Tesla only displays third-party Tesla destination chargers in addition to Superchargers.

While Tesla doesn’t directly show charger scores, they clearly are tracking charge data, and are providing the cream of the crop of third-party chargers for navigation where the program is available. We’d hope that this implementation of qualified third-party chargers also comes to North America, as NACS is becoming the de facto standard for charging.

If Tesla does expand the display of third-party chargers to other regions, it’ll likely be similar to what we see in Europe today, and won’t be as open as Rivian’s implementation in ABRP.

Tesla Begins Testing FSD in China

By Karan Singh
Not a Tesla App

Tesla was recently granted permission to test FSD on Chinese streets – specifically in Shanghai. Just recently, Elon Musk visited China and discussed the potential for FSD to come to China.

Gearing Up for FSD China

This is just the first step for Tesla to begin its customer deployments of FSD – Tesla conducts similar ADAS testing in North America, where special testing vehicles and testing employees run the latest FSD (Supervised) versions against a gamut of real-world, real-life tests.

Tesla has recently been working on translating FSD release notes into multiple languages, alongside building a data center in Shanghai and establishing an FSD Operations and Labelling team at the same center. These are the first, key steps to bringing FSD to a new market that has unique and different traffic rules when compared North America.

China doesn’t have the regulatory hurdles or challenges that Tesla faces in Europe to bring FSD and has been working with Chinese corporations as well as the government, which has now provided its official approval for FSD testing in-country.

We might even see FSD deployed to early testing customers in China by the end of 2025.

ADAS Competitors

There are quite a few competitors in the Chinese market already- with challengers like Xpeng and Xiaomi working on building their own homegrown systems, mostly driven by a mixture of cameras, radars, ultrasonic sensors, and LIDAR. However, many of these systems face similar challenges to other non-Chinese competitors and don’t have the mileage under their belts to tackle Tesla’s dominating lead in data and data processing.

European Union

Tesla is poising itself for an FSD rollout internationally, with increased testing also taking place in the UK, France, and Spain – some of the key locations with unique infrastructure in the European Union. However, some EU-specific regulations restrict how FSD can perform – each and every action must be manually approved by the driver. Until that regulation is changed to adapt to systems like FSD, it won’t be making its way there just yet.

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