Artificial IntelligenceCryptocurrencyMetaverseCybersecurityTech Forward

Tesla email shines light on how SpaceX delivered Starlink internet to Ukraine only days after Musk said it would

March 10, 2022, 7:38 AM UTC

An email Tesla sent staff in its Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) offices on Monday revealed some of the ways the electric-vehicle maker has supported the Ukraine government in the wake of Russia’s invasion, by accelerating delivery of Starlink terminals and offering staff paid time off if called on to fight.

The email, sent by Tesla’s director of Northern Europe and reported by CNBC, says the EV company will offer at least three months’ pay to any Ukrainian employees who are conscripted to defend their country from Russian invasion.

Tesla does not operate in Ukraine—and thus has no staff on the ground—but Ukranian nationals may have been called to the country after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy activated reservists in February in advance of Russia’s invasion.

Tesla’s email also praised employees for their help in delivering Starlink units to Ukraine, perhaps explaining how CEO Elon Musk was able to get the internet terminals to the war-torn country just one day after promising to send the satellite dishes.

At a talk this week at the California Institute of Technology, SpaceX president and COO Gwynne Shotwell revealed the company had been working on plans to launch the Starlink internet service in Ukraine for six weeks before Ukraine Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov issued an urgent request for Starlink stations via Twitter in late February. SpaceX was waiting for an official letter granting Starlink permission to operate in the country; according to Shotwell, Fedorov’s tweet was the go-ahead it needed.

According to the email Tesla sent on Monday, employees in Germany then volunteered to package Starlink terminals for rapid delivery. EMEA employees also assembled Tesla’s Powerwall units—a lithium-ion battery energy storage system that can provide backup power—to complement the Starlink delivery.

Some of those Powerwall cables were made using scrap from Tesla’s new Berlin gigafactory—which gained conditional approval to start commercial production earlier this month. Tesla has previously donated Powerwalls to areas affected by natural disasters, like Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, to restore electric power.

Another shipment of Starlink stations arrived in Ukraine on Thursday, according to a tweet by Fedorov.

The email also noted that Tesla had contacted its roughly 5,000 car owners in Ukraine to inform them they can use some Supercharger stations for free in Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia. This week, Tesla expanded the free charging scheme to all Superchargers across Poland and Slovakia.

Tesla isn’t the only foreign company to have offered support for Ukraine during its war with Russia. Airbnb is offering free short-term housing to up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees, while Uber is offering free rides from the Ukrainian border to major Polish cities. More than a dozen telecom providers are providing free roaming calls to Ukraine and scrapping roaming charges.

Never miss a story: Follow your favorite topics and authors to get a personalized email with the journalism that matters most to you.