Originally published on CleanTechnica.
There is a certain gentlemen infamous in Tesla enthusiast circles with the initials B.S. He is infamous for a couple of reasons: 1) you guessed it, spreading anti-Tesla B.S. that can quickly misinform unfortunate bystanders, and 2) refusing to eat a hat he promised to eat.
No doubt about it, Mr. B.S. is talented with words, a clever constructor of sentences, and has a long history in the automotive world: he was a top PR person at Volkswagen for decades. But don’t let fancy clothes trick you into thinking that a troll is a brave journalist.
The latest rant from Mr. B.S. contends that Elon Musk doesn’t know a thing about manufacturing. (Note that Elon Musk has had desks right next to the Model S and X production lines for years, and also keeps a sleeping bag on hand for times when it’s best for him to sleep on the production floor, and somehow oversaw the scaling up of an auto company like we haven’t seen in approximately a century… an electric car company.) I’m not going to lie, Mr. B.S. eloquently paints a picture of the conference call that makes it seem like Elon is a clueless hack who lives in some kind of fantasyland. If I were new to the topic, I’d probably think he had several solid points and would be a Tesla/Elon skeptic.
But here are two things: 1) I listened to that whole call twice and have a very different perception of the whole thing, 2) Mr. B.S. has been writing negative pieces about Tesla for years. I’ve never seen a positive one from him. If he had been so prescient in his insight, Tesla would have crashed and burned several times. He has been convinced (or at least acted like it) that Tesla demand couldn’t get anywhere close to where it is today, that Tesla could never produce the cars it has now produced, that Tesla was lying about its autonomous driving capabilities (this is the case where he pledged to eat a hat if Tesla achieved what it said it was going to do, but then decided not to eat the hat when he was wrong), that Tesla was actually lying about its sales and Elon Musk committed a huge white-collar crime, and much more.
I honestly don’t think Mr. B.S. was secretly assigned the task of bashing Tesla for a living. I think he has long been skeptical, and as he has been wrong time and time again, he has found other things to be skeptical about (sound familiar?). I don’t know what his underlying problem is with Tesla. Deep and long ties to the conventional auto industry? A bias against electric cars? Maybe it is that his “expert” sources from the auto industry keep telling him things are impossible. And rather than believe Elon and Tesla, he believes his sources, who have pretty continuously underestimated the rocket man.
Again, in this latest rant, Mr. B.S. acts as if Elon doesn’t have a good grasp on auto manufacturing because, for example, he keeps emphasizing on these calls that you can’t build a car with thousands of parts if 3 of those parts are missing (i.e., if a few suppliers aren’t ramping up quickly enough). Right, Mr. B.S., Elon is just too simple minded…. Anyone who has listened to Elon many times (as I’m sure Mr. B.S. has) should well know that he is extremely knowledgeable and smart but tries very hard to explain things in a way that a lay person (or analyst) can understand. He goes out of his way to create analogies and explain things in simple terms. And, at times, I presume he has a little trouble knowing if others “get” something that is simple/obvious to him. Taking that as “Elon is a simple-minded and naïve teenager” is obviously missing the forest for the trees.
I don’t typically take on mass-media nonsense these days, because it’s not my favorite thing to do, but given that this guy has a regular role on Forbes as a lead Tesla writer and gets the story wrong practically every time, as if he is living in an alternate universe, I felt compelled to rant a little bit as well.
Yep, I’m long TSLA, but that’s not at all what compelled me to write this. I, like many, get quite upset when I see falsehoods pushed repeatedly, habitually, and seemingly without any reflection on the faults in reasoning the person has made so many times before. It irritates me if it’s about Elon Musk, global warming, or nuclear power prices.
I honestly don’t have much hope for Mr. B.S. coming around. He has been at this for years. He obviously has a goal and/or bias that dramatically warps his perception (or public words on) Tesla and Elon Musk. When a self-driving Tesla Model 3 is in production, he’ll have something new to say that will make it seem like Tesla is on the brink of collapse. But seriously, Forbes, you’re losing a lot of credibility with this guy on your crew.