Opportunities instead of retirement: German engineer switches from “Daimler Authority” to Tesla

The engineer Stefan Schwunk is not very popular with some Tesla fans. For more than two years he has been dealing with electric cars on his YouTube channel, but unlike many others, he was not infected by the Tesla enthusiasm and recently bought a VW ID.3 instead of a Model 3. He also subjected these two models and others to a body quality test in which the Tesla (perhaps as expected) clearly performed worst. But Schwunk himself could soon help improve quality at Tesla in Germany: On February 1, the previous Daimler employee wants to start a new job in the Gigafactory Berlin.

At Daimler “like in an authority”

Schwunk reports in detail about this change and the reasons for it in a current YouTube video. Since completing his studies in 2007, he has worked for the Daimler Group, first as a trainee, then as a process engineer for the Mercedes SLK and since 2018 as a quality engineer for the EQC electric car, among other things. He almost always liked it there, he says, and pay and additional benefits, including a company pension, are attractive.

But given his training and experience, Schwunk is also attractive to Tesla. For his decision to apply there in summer 2020, three reasons were decisive, according to his account. They are each interesting for themselves, because hundreds of other German car engineers may have to make or have made similar considerations.

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Sometimes he felt like he was in an authority at Daimler, Schwunk reports on the one hand. During the year, model updates like Tesla are unthinkable there. But he is “hot” for speed ”and wants to use the opportunity described by Tesla CEO Elon Musk to set up a fundamentally new production facility in the Gigafactory in Grünheide near Berlin.

The second reason is more individual: he has never officially been given management responsibility and, given his age of almost 43 years and the cumbersome promotion processes at Daimler, he sees little chance of doing so, says Schwunk. Thirdly, he is unhappy with the Group’s electric car policy: there are now several electric models, but many more hybrids and pure combustion engines. The consistent switch to electromobility must be specified by the top. That’s what he’s missing at Daimler, and many colleagues still talk about hydrogen cars as a true future concept, says Schwunk.

Tesla work reports announced

At Tesla, he should find fundamentally different conditions. In February, the YouTuber engineer wants to start his job in the German Gigafactory (in a position that is not precisely specified) and initially commute weekly from his home town of Bremen for family reasons. His at least 12,900 subscribers can still hope for information feed, as he announced: Although he is guaranteed not to reveal anything that would in any way endanger his new job. “Of course” but from his engineering point of view he will report “how I am doing at Tesla”. If the new employer allows this, his Schwunkvoll channel could soon find significantly more viewers.


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