Why Elon Musk Is Idolized So Much −

100% Electric Vehicles

Published on February 10th, 2016 | by Zach


Why Elon Musk Is Idolized So Much

This is an article I’ve been planning to write for approximately half a year. Alas, so many other hot news stories, EV reports, conferences, and the daily truckload of editing, email, social media, and side projects have blocked that from happening. Many touching videos and insightful comments from readers almost pushed me to write the piece much earlier, and I only hope now that I won’t miss any of the thoughts that came to mind then, but I’m sure readers will add much more to extend the conversation whether I do or not.

Elon Musk aviator glasses

Elon Musk photo by Steve Jurvetson (some rights reserved).

Elon Musk is in a unique category not just because of how superbly he has done in business — from Zip2 to PayPal to Tesla & SpaceX & SolarCity. He’s also a bit of a cult superhero. Actually, he’s an iconic figure and quite idolized in several sub-cultures. Space nuts. Business freaks. Cleantech lovers. Electric car enthusiasts. Coding nerds. And surely others as well.

He’s loved so much not just because of what he’s achieved and what his companies do, though. It’s also largely because of specific aspects of his personality and how he interacts with the public. Furthermore, I think those two factors contribute a great deal to the success of some of his companies, especially Tesla Motors.

I’ll jump to my list of reasons shortly, but first, see how many cleantech CEOs you can picture with a couple minutes of thought.

Despite covering this industry obsessively for years, there are just a handful of people who come to mind for me. Frankly, I think that’s a huge #FAIL on the part of the communications and marketing arms behind most cleantech companies, as well as the CEOs themselves. Humans connect with humans more than anything else. Having a human who is the well known and liked face of a company is a great way to advance the company’s customer base and grow its business. Yet … the approach is largely ignored by cleantech companies. It’s pretty disappointing for me to witness.

But let’s get back to Elon

Whether it’s intentional or through pure luck, Elon has very effectively become the face of Tesla Motors and SpaceX … and even SolarCity to an extent, despite the fact that he spends very little time on the company and the CEO is cousin Lyndon Rive (probably one of the few faces that came to mind in the exercise recommended above). Elon has put himself out there enough that his face often pops into our thoughts when we think about Tesla, or EVs, or cleantech, or space travel — you get the picture. At least as importantly, though, many of us simply love the guy. And here’s why:

Elon is real.

Elon Musk tears

Elon in tears, from this video. This segment almost moved me to write this article months ago.

CEOs these days have been polished more than Michelangelo’s David (potentially incorrect statement — someone should do some research on this). “Corporate talk” has become as nauseating as BS from establishment politicians. You can see how “the outsiders” are doing in political polls right now — for better or worse. Elon, similarly, is an outsider in the business world. He doesn’t fluff up his remarks and spit out generic, useless statements. He’s “real.” He says stuff how it is. He answers questions directly (except with particularly sensitive and concealed topics). He speaks in a casual, friend-to-friend style rather than like the annoying “too good to toot my own horn” members of many a C-suite.

Elon is thoughtful.

You can picture it now: Elon is served a question. He pauses, purses his lips in a particular way, gazes with inquisitive and searching eyes, starts to answer it, quickly interrupts himself to qualify a statement or make it more precise, couches the answer in some important context, perhaps drops an engineering term or two on us, and closes the answer as if he’s taking the explanation further in his head or thinking up more context and is still unsure if he should go on or leave it at that.

Altogether, we can see that he’s very thoughtful. In his answers, and in what he does. We appreciate that.

Again (coming back to the first point), Elon doesn’t just shoot over some catchphrases or generic answers — at least, not very often. He turns a question into an enlightening college seminar in whatever the topic might be.

Partly because we respect thoughtful behavior, and partly because we love it that Elon cares and engages with us enough to spend the time on such things, many of us love this aspect of his character.

Elon Musk China 3

Screenshot of Elon via Invest Hong Kong interview.

Elon cares.

Speaking of caring … we are repeatedly impressed with this very important point. Elon cares. He cares about others, doesn’t want “jerks” on his teams messing up people’s work atmosphere, wants the customer to be happy (and sometimes goes to absurd lengths to make them so), and wants to spend his life helping society.

At least since he “hit it big” with PayPal, Elon has dedicated an absurd amount of his breathing life, and his cash, to helping society. Tesla Motors is about combatting global warming, cleaning the air, building the safest cars on the planet, and making products that excite and inspire people. SpaceX is about helping to make the human species interplanetary, both for boosting our long-term survival odds as well as for bringing unprecedented adventure and exploration to another generation. SolarCity is about transitioning to a clean, abundant, and socioeconomically decentralized source of electricity generation.

Interview after interview, Elon comes back to the thoughts he had in college regarding the factors most critical to the future of humanity and human well-being. If you don’t know by now that Elon really cares about society, you haven’t watched enough interviews with him. Here’s a good place to chill out for a bit.

Elon is the nerdy underdog who was almost bullied to death (literally) and then won the world.

No doubt about it, Elon is a nerd. And we seem to be in a phase where nerds are glorified. We love nerds. Maybe many of us feel like we were/are the nerds. Maybe we’ve just come to love the quiet bookworms. I’m not sure, but Elon’s nerd status (king of the nerds?) certainly helps grow his appeal.

Whether we see him as a classic lover of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory, or just some generic nerdboy turned nerdman, he’s very endearing to many of us.

Learning about his childhood reading book after book like a machine, the extent to which he was bullied (and even nearly beaten to death), and his early video game entrepreneurship with brother Kimball, he grows on us more and more.

Elon Wins

“Elon Wins.” Elon & wife Talulah Riley at Tesla Roadster launch.

Elon talks to us on our level, and remains “just one of the guys.”

Elon Musk tweetThis is similar to the section at the top on Elon being “real,” but I thought it was worth teasing out as well. Despite his nearly “untouchable” status, Elon seems to talk to nearly everyone in the same way. Whether you’re a young high schooler or a rich businessman or a TV show host, Elon talks in practically the same style. He doesn’t typically talk down to people or butter people up.

Nonetheless, he brings the discussion to our level. He tries hard to answer questions in a way that will help the questioner. He puts the language at the expected level of knowledge of the listener(s), and he provides analogy after analogy, metaphor after metaphor, to put complicated points that, normally, only certain engineers or economists or businesspeople would understand in terms that an uninitiated, uncultured, buffoon-like cleantech blogger can digest.

It’s not just more interesting and stimulating for the audience — it also shows respect for the person on the other side of the conversation, whomever it may be. It shows Elon’s not just interested in talking for his own benefit or to hear his own voice, but to help improve the understanding and experience of as many people as possible.

Elon is cautious and humble (to an extent).

As noted above (in the “Elon is thoughtful” section), Elon is quite cautious about his statements. Yes, he is known to be overly optimistic regarding timelines (perhaps that’s part of why he gets so much done — “It’ll just take this long. Let’s do it.”), but regarding most matters, he is obsessively cautious about accuracy and performance. While he may be profiled in some ways as a risktaker, he went to great lengths to build the safest car on the planet. While he is having a lot of fun while doing so, his chief life aims are apparently helping society to be more cautious with the planet’s climate, with the planet’s store and quality of natural resources, and with our likelihood of long-term survival.

Elon doesn’t neglect to state a stunning accomplishment when it’s relevant to the conversation and it advances an argument, but, from my perspective, he’s very cautious to not state things that aren’t true and humble about how much he and his companies can actually achieve.

As has been noted numerous times before, he expected Tesla Motors and SpaceX to fail. He has said in the past that Tesla’s stock price seemed a bit high compared to what Tesla had achieved. He has cautioned innumerable times that he isn’t certain about this or that, something could always go wrong, his projections are just best estimates (not sure to be correct), etc.

I imagine some people will disagree with me on this one, given how I’ve seen Elon profiled in some other places, but I see him as an abnormally cautious and humble person.

Elon is Iron Man.

Elon Musk net worth

Image via Forbes

But that doesn’t mean he can’t be idolized a bit. The man has inspired a generation or five. He has achieved several things that all but a small minority thought were practically impossible. He has made a million, turned that into a billion, and then turned that into $10.8 billion. Robert Downey Jr. shadowed him in order to get into character for Tony Stark, Iron Man. His accomplishments are worth celebrating. He’s worth celebrating.

Call me a fanboy — fine by me. I love the guy, similar to how I love many goodhearted and hardworking friends, and similar to how heroes in certain movies appeal to my sensitivities. For all of the reasons above, that seems to be more common than not loving the guy.


EV driver survey results (from this report).


Potential EV buyer survey results (from this report).


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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009.

Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he’s the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity.

Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, SCTY, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB. After years of covering solar and EVs, he simply had a lot of faith in these companies and felt like they were good companies to invest in as a portion of his retirement strategy.

To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.

  • Allan Theobald

    Musk is a dishonest huckster. Tesla is a joke that will fail.

    • James Rowland

      Dishonest and a joke that will fail?

      You just described your own comment.

      • Allan Theobald

        It’s already over. Cheap oil=bankruptcy. The X is a failure and the 3 will be delayed by years. Red ink as far as the eye can see.

        • James Rowland

          Strangely though, Tesla sales continue to rise despite a decade low in oil prices. Maybe you’re full of shit mistaken about why people buy them?

          As for the “red ink,” their filings indicate 2015 losses are dwarfed two to one by capital expenditure

          Just to spell out what that means: They can turn a profit any time they like by slowing reinvestment of capital. They’re not going to do that, because it would be counter to their objectives.

          • Allan Theobald

            It’s subsidized new toy for wealthy people. “They can turn a profit anytime they like”. You James have exposed yourself as a fool. They will never turn a profit unless the prices of the batteries falls 50%. Musk’s predictions have proven to be nothing but hot air which is why they built the even more expensive flop the X rather than the 3. Tesla is a scam.

          • James Rowland

            I have exposed myself as someone who can read accounts.

            You have exposed yourself as someone who can’t be bothered.

          • Allan Theobald

            No you invent excuses for a company that has been in business for a decade. It is a failure plain and simple. Soon enough the low oil prices, heavy competition, and the inability to produce a 35k car will collapse the company. You are a cheerleader for a company that makes toys for rich people at a huge loss.

          • James Rowland

            We’ve been hearing that narrative for a long time. See if you can still say it without blushing when Model 3 reservations start coming in.

          • Allan Theobald

            It will come in at 50k which will produce more red ink. Most people expect a profit after ten years, high oil prices, and having the market to themselves. It can only get worse. It’s over.

          • James Rowland

            New day, same old apocalyptic BS. “It can only get worse. It’s over.” Really?

            Amazon weren’t profitable for a quarter of a century. Are they also a “failure”? No, they’re growing. There is a difference, and the financially literate recognise this.

            Tesla don’t have the market to themselves. Plenty of other manufacturers build F segment sedans; in three years, the Model S has gone from nowhere to outselling the Mercedes Benz S class – the previous segment leader.

            People don’t buy it because it’s electric. They buy it because it’s better.

            It’s often taken longer than promised, but Tesla have done nearly everything they said they would, regardless of all the claims that their goals were impossible.

            From the naysayers, it’s been one long history of failed predictions. So, by all means repeat that bet that’s performed so badly in the past. Some of us have long memories; odds are I’ll be taking you even less seriously in future than I am now.

          • Allan Theobald

            Better what a joke. EV’s are totally non-competitive even with the subsidies. But you are a fanatic and nothing will change your mind but most consumers do not agree. The company is a failure and will soon be gone.

          • James Rowland

            There’s plenty of challenges and risks in Tesla’s future. You can read all about them in their filings.

            WIth that in mind, there’s no need to make new ones up (like you keep doing.)

            Consumers already have agreed; you need only look at F segment sales over the last three years to see that.

            I’m a fanatic? Project much?

          • Allan Theobald

            Consumers are shunning EV’s. Tesla is just a new shiny fun toy for rich people. Musk has dishonestly promoted the car as an all around vehicle when in fact is just an around town car and is non-useable for long trips. So that means it’s just an extra car and very few consumers can afford that luxury. The X is a complete failure because it’s way over priced and far too complicated. The Model 3 can not be made today for 35k. The battery remains far too expensive. This is why Musk decided to proceed with the X instead of the mass market 3. The X is not an SUV anyway and can’t even be used to go skiing on the weekend. It is a completely useless small car. It’s over James and given time the market will reflect that reality.

          • James Rowland

            You don’t even care if what you say is true, do you?

          • Allan Theobald

            Standard progressive fairtale. Obamacare objectively is a complete failure and is collapsing but Obama hails it as a great success. This is the same thing. The Tesla has the fit and finish of a Buick and is the least reliable car on the road and all for 100k and they have lost money for a decade. Yet you call this a great success. The X has no interior room and is a joke compared to any real SUV at half the cost. The 3 will be delayed years because currently the battery costs too much or will be priced at 50k for a 200 mile range. It doesn’t work. James you are a silly fool and the real world is laughing at you.

          • James Rowland

            Obamacare? What does that have to do with this?

            Least reliable cars on the road? Predominantly Fiat and GM models.

          • Allan Theobald

            The fact you don’t get the joke about Obamacare proves my point. It is a complete failure but the President and his progressive supporters claim it as a great victory. Tesla is the same. A small group of green fanatics fantasize that this weak little company is going transform everyone into a fossil free world. This is complete delusional nonsense. Tesla has succeeded in making an fun but wildly overpriced EV for rich people. The car is not green, is very unreliable, has a poor finish compared to MB or BMW, and is only good for short trips. But you claim is a great advance when in fact it’s of minor importance and would fail overnight without the tax breaks. James you are just another typical progressive who lives in a fantasy world.

          • James Rowland

            Fantasy world?

            Nearly every claim you’ve made can be falsified with one web search and about ten seconds’ reading. I do this, and you carry on like nothing happened.

            You’re the delusional one.

            As for Obamacare, I don’t even live in the USA. You’re the one not getting the joke, because you are the joke.

          • Allan Theobald

            Progressive fantasies know no boundaries. Tesla is just another capitalistic company led by a smart con man who is a master at getting free government and taxpayer money. As a business the company is a failure and as a green company it is a fraud. An EV with a carbon foot print larger than many ICE cars. What a joke. Remind me again why the greens have such a hard on for expensive EV’s.

          • James Rowland

            Dude, are you ever going to post something that couldn’t have come from an ideology bot? You keep clowning yourself and don’t seem to care…

          • Allan Theobald

            When you stop being able to refute my points you have admitted you lost the discussion. Are you going to tell me next that Tesla is preventing global warming? If not then why is Tesla deserving of massive tax subsidies for the rich? Why is the government giving Tesla free money? What is the public interest?

          • James Rowland

            Can’t refute? I already have refuted every point worth mentioning regarding Tesla.

            What, do you need a recap?

          • Allan Theobald

            You refuted nothing because they are facts:

            1) The Tesla is not green
            2) the battery to power a Model 3 200 miles remains far too expensive for a 35k price
            3) the X is not a SUV but rather a smallish crossover that you can’t even take skiing on the weekends and all for 120k
            4) Musk has projected more red ink for as far as the eye can see
            5) very soon the big makers will produce true luxury Ev’s
            6) supercharging is a scam because the math doesn’t work during peak hours when demand is highest and it will only get worse the more cars they sell. Building enough superchargers to actually service all the cars they claim they will sell would destroy the company. Musk should have told the truth and marketed the car as a commuter car and nothing more.
            7) The Tesla can never replace ICE cars and will always remain an extra car for those few people who can afford that type of luxury.
            8) EV’s cost almost twice as much as comparable ICE cars and most of this cost is never recouped.

          • James Rowland

            Ah, continued denial and extra BS. I suppose that’s at least a slight change of tactics.

            What, do you think I’m going to waste more time when I’ve already seen facts roll off you like water over a duck’s back? How about we just cut to the chase:

            What odds do you estimate that Tesla will still be trading at the end of 2016?

            Tell me that and I’ll make you an offer.

          • Allan Theobald

            As I said you can’t defend the un-defendable just like Obamacare other than to just claim it’s a success. The emperor has no clothes. I have four driving children of various ages. I carefully looked at all the car options. Buying an EV for any of them would have been impossible. My older two are grad students at colleges. That would seem like the perfect buyer. But of course it’s nonsense since neither has a place to park with plug in access. Then there is the problem of range limitations and no back up car. I ended up buying them all Honda Accords LXs for 19.5k. No EV can even come within 10k and then you still have all the limitations. You green Tesla nuts seem to have forgotten that so many of the buyers have no dedicated place to park and can only buy one car. Sure a Tesla could work for me around town but there just aren’t enough buyers to sustain the company. It is over and will fail unless battery prices can be reduced at least 50%. But even then practical considerations will prevent most young buyers from ever buying an EV.

          • James Rowland

            Answer the question.

          • Allan Theobald

            What question? You think the discussion about Tesla is about odds? Funny I thought it was about the value of the product and hence the ultimate value of the company. I only concern myself with the long term results which is why my largest and oldest stock position is with BRK-A. Prior to that 25 years ago I lost plenty of money trying to guess the short term odds.

          • James Rowland

            You say “it’s over”, repeatedly, and with utter confidence. Only that’s all changed now you’ve been asked to lay down something concrete about it.

            There’s a sham going on here alright, and you’re the perpetrator.

          • Allan Theobald

            Right now it is over. The battery to produce a 200 mile range EV can not be made at a price that makes 35k possible. This is a fact and is the reason for the NV gigafactory and hence the delay in producing the Model 3. So why did Musk and the Tesla Board decided to push ahead with the even more expensive Model X rather than the mass market 3? Did they do it because they want to lose even more money? Every knowledgeable person knows it’s because of the battery cost and Musk himself has made this clear. The Li Ion battery is an old technology and there are many large makers. There is just no reason to believe Musk and Tesla with zero experience with Li Ion batteries can magically make this happen. You and the much of the media conveniently ignore the biggest joke about Tesla in that they don’t even make the single most important part of the car. No bigger scam has ever been created than Tesla pretending that an old commodity technology is some new grand breakthrough. Nobody bothered to do it before because the big car companies make nice profits on their ICE models.

          • James Rowland

            It’s over right now, but it’s still happening? Right…

            We know Model 3 production at the target cost is not possible with the current supply chain. That’s why they’re building the Gigafactory, you idiot!

            Tesla has no experience building lithium ion batteries? No kidding, Columbo. That’s why they’re doing it in partnership with Panasonic! Can you think of anyone more experienced than them?

            Panasonic seem keen to invest several billion alongside Tesla; perhaps they know something you don’t?

            “So why did Musk and the Tesla Board decided to push ahead with the even more expensive Model X rather than the mass market 3?”

            Has this not sunk in yet? They didn’t decide that.

            * S and X are the second generation platform.
            * 3 and Y are the third generation platform.
            * Sedan first and SUV/crossover second was planned for both platforms.
            * This plan has been public knowledge for a decade.

            But this is all going to be water off a duck’s back again, isn’t it?

          • Allan Theobald

            Now that was just like Obama on Obamacare. So yes I am right. The battery doesn’t exist. So no Tesla is taking orders but not building the model 3. The model 3 at 35k is a guess predicated on believing that somehow another new factory will lower battery costs. Geez I’m sure Panasonic never thought of that. Progressivism is a form a mental illness.

          • James Rowland

            Really, what is this obsession with Obamacare? It’s nothing to do with this and nothing to do with me. Reminder: I don’t even live in the USA.

            It seems more like Obamacareitis is a mental illness, and you have it.

            35K a guess? No, it’s what’s called an engineering projection. That’s what engineers do – not that you’d understand.

            So, we’re now to suppose that vertical integration and simplified supply chains – approaches that have lowered costs everywhere they have been implemented – will not lower costs for the Model 3 battery.

            It seems to me that you have the burden of proof on that claim. I suspect we’ll see Model 3 ship before you meet it.

          • Allan Theobald

            Obamacare is an example of progressive mental illness. Their own data shows it didn’t lower cost, allow keeping your own doctor, or provide better care. Yet all progressives claim it’s working beautifully. Tesla and Ev’s are the same. It’s an old commodity technology with huge companies and battery factories. Yet the huckster Musk and his progressive green minions have claimed they have developed a wonderful breakthrough EV that’s going to radically change transportation as we know it. The funny thing however is that Tesla owns no important technology, has no valuable patents, and doesn’t even make the only critically important part of the car. This is a scam of colossal proportions on par with the AOL bubble.

          • James Rowland

            So, were all those “Car of The Year” awards and other acolades from the motoring press part of this “progressive mental illness” you claim to have identified?

            I can assure you that Tesla do make the battery pack, along with about 80% of the car overall. (That’s much, much higher than the industry average.)

            They do not make the cells. The commodity 18650 cells (with a few tweaks). The cells they could’ve obtained from half a dozen other companies (but happened to pick Panasonic.)

          • Allan Theobald

            Mostly yes. The media are all progressives and these same idiots claim Tesla is green. So now you’ve descended to the silly battery pack meme. This is nothing and there is no special technology. BMW,MB, Audi, and Porsche are using a different system. What matters are the cells and even you admit its a pure commodity. So why then is Tesla valued at 27 billion? What do they have the above makers can’t copy any time they choose when the timing is right? It is over. Tesla is a massive bubble.

          • James Rowland

            Tesla’s value? Compelling products and good strategic positioning.

            If they weren’t compelling, they wouldn’t be selling. Deliveries of Model S are still supply limited, even after three years of exponential growth in supply. They pushed the Mercedes Benz S Class off the top spot, for goodness sake! Nobody expected that three years ago – not even Tesla.

            Nobody else has a fast charging network even half as good as Supercharger.

            Nobody else is anywhere near having their own scalable battery supply chain.

            Nobody else is anywhere near their price per kWh pack cost. (Those other EVs? They’re not using commodity cells.)

            Competition? Tesla wants other manufacturers to make BEVs; Elon has repeatedly and earnestly stated this is the whole reason the company exists. His one complaint has been the tepid quality of their competition thus far.

            BEVs don’t even account for 1% of global vehicle sales today. There’s plenty of room yet.

          • Allan Theobald

            You have proven my point. It’s all nonsense. MB makes big profits selling their cars. The SC system is a scam. It doesn’t work at peak times when you need it most and the more cars they sell the worse it will be. The car is not usable for anything but around town. Battery supply chain? Truly laughable. The world is awash in Li Ion batteries. The supply is unlimited. Real companies don’t make cars to lose money. You are truly comical with your BS.

          • James Rowland

            Nobody has proven your point, least of all you. I do have to wonder what planet you’re living on…

            Everything you just spewed out again, already repeatedly disproven.

          • Allan Theobald

            So once again you are back to the stock. Predicting the collapse of a bubble is never easy but soon enough it will happen. Everything I said is a veritable fact. Go look at Tesla own site about the massive delays occurring during peak time SC out west. When it takes almost an hour to charge there will never be enough hook ups if they sell a significant number of cars. It’s very simple math. 6 bays can only charge 24 cars every 3hours or 8/hr. A gas station with 6 pumps can handle 60 cars/hr. As I said the math doesn’t work and it only gets worse the more cars they sell. SC is a scam plain and simple. Aren’t you amazed no one analyst has ever bothered to do this simple math. You see I drove the car extensively around SoCal a while back when my best friend bought one. We really tested it out and the result was a great disappointment. Constant inconvenience for any real distance, a very mediocre interior, and a replaced motor. Early adapters are not reopresenative of normal consumers who expect value for their money. For the money the Tesla’s is grossly inferior to comparable ICE cars if one is objective and isn’t a green nut.

          • James Rowland

            No, I’m not back to the stock. I’m back to your adamant claim that “it’s over” for Tesla, and your strangely contradictory refusal to make this claim any more concrete. You’re all mouth.

            Tell you what, I’ve had a change of heart. Let’s have that recap:

            Claim: “Musk and the Tesla Board decided to push ahead with the even more expensive Model X rather than the mass market 3”
            Status: FALSE
            * S and X are the second generation platform. 3 and Y are the third generation platform.
            * Sedan first and SUV/crossover second was planned for both platforms.
            * This plan has been public knowledge for a decade.

            Claim: “Tesla … is the least reliable car on the road and all for 100k”
            Status: DOUBLE FALSE
            * Model S 70D base price: $75k
            * The Fiat 500L is the “least reliable car” (according to Consumer Reports.) Model S is nowhere near.

            Claim: “Tesla is just another capitalistic company led by a smart con man who is a master at getting free government and taxpayer money.”
            Status: FALSE
            * Tesla founded entirely on private equity.
            * Government loan used for specified purpose then paid back 7 years early, plus interest. Federal treasury in the black for an eight figure sum.
            * Gigafactory tax relief contingent on trade and employment targets; Nevada treasury is cash positive on the deal.
            * Sales incentives that benefit Tesla available to all manufacturers who make qualifying vehicles.
            * ZEV credit sales less than 2% of Tesla revenue. Money comes entirely from manufacturers who didn’t make their targets.
            * Meanwhile, federal treasury still nearly $12B in the hole after bailing out GM.

            Claim: “An EV with a carbon foot print larger than many ICE cars.” … “The Tesla is not green”
            Status: FALSE
            * Model S CO2/km in best US state: 33.5g
            * Model S CO2/km in worst US state: 150g
            * US ICE car fleet average CO2/km: 233g (includes refinery emissions)
            * Model S toxic kerbside emissions: Zero
            * ICE toxic kerbside emissions: LOTS

            Claim: “the battery to power a Model 3 200 miles remains far too expensive for a 35k price”
            Status: IRRELEVANT
            * If by “far too expensive” you mean “about 30% too much for 70kWh” then okay.
            * Why do you think they’re building the Gigafactory?

            Claim: “the X is not a SUV but rather a smallish crossover that you can’t even take skiing on the weekends and all for 120k”
            Status: DOUBLE FALSE
            * Base price of Model X 70D is ~$80-85k.
            * Accessory hitch carries six skis. Long loads fit internally in 6 seat variant. Compatible roof rack also in development. Traction on ice and snow exceptional.
            * Not too good on numbers though, are you?

            Claim: “Musk has projected more red ink for as far as the eye can see”
            Status: FALSE
            * Last earnings report projects positive cash flow in Q2 and significant GAAP profit in Q4 2016.

            Claim: “very soon the big makers will produce true luxury Ev’s”
            Status: IRRELEVANT
            * If by “soon” you mean “in several years,” then that’s true.
            * Tesla was founded explicitly to make this happen (and in all segments, not just luxury). This is an indication of success.

            Claim: “supercharging is a scam because the math doesn’t work during peak hours when demand is highest”
            Status: FALSE
            * That’s not even an argument.
            * In any case, supercharging is already working.

            Claim: “The Tesla can never replace ICE cars”
            Status: FALSE
            * It already does replace ICE cars for the overwhelming majority of drivers using one.
            * Most Model S owners use it as their daily drive.
            * There’s even a postal service employee using Model S for deliveries.

            Claim: “EV’s cost almost twice as much as comparable ICE cars”
            Status: FALSE (with respect to Tesla)
            * Average selling price of Model S is lower than comparable cars in its market segment (luxury sports sedans).
            * Leaf, i3 etc. are overpriced, but this is not in dispute.

            Claim: “The world is awash in Li Ion batteries”
            Status: FALSE
            * Global Li-ion supply currently a few tens of GWh.
            * Supply required for 100% BEV penetration: Tens of TWh.
            * What’s a few orders of magnitude to an ignoramus like you, though?

            Your accuracy score: 0%

            I had no idea it was possible for a human being to be this bad. Well, at least you’re consistent.

            Hey, I have an idea: Will you pick 53 numbers between 1 and 59? I’ll try the remainder on the Lottery next week and see what happens.

          • Allan Theobald

            This is the response of a crazed fanatic. what type of normal consumer makes up excuses for a public company. All Tesla nuts constantly quote the base price as proof of the cost. The base price is a scam and the real price is 100k and 120k for the X. You do realize that the major Li Ion battery makers were not making money on the batteries? Yes the Tesla can replace the ICE around town as long as you have an ICE back up. Most people aren’t wealthy. Many can only have one car. You Tesla fanatics live in a fantasy world. You embarrass yourself with your ass kissing excuses for a complete failure of the company to execute the business plan. Every year more red ink and delays. Just wait the 3 will be delayed for sure because the battery still can’t be made.

          • James Rowland

            It’s the response of someone who actually fact checks things before posting them. You should try it.

          • Allan Theobald

            Facts really? So your CEO stood up in front of the world and said Tesla was going to solve the charging problems by offering battery swaps. So please tell me the facts about how that would work in detail including the rough costs for land acquisition, employees, equipment and battery storage. would it be open 7 days a week 12 hours/day including travel holidays? In a real company the CEO would be fired for presenting such dishonest nonsense. So please give me your analysis. This is not some esoteric exercise. You are trusting a CEO who lied to the public.

          • James Rowland

            My analysis on battery swapping? Nobody wanted it. Supercharger is good enough.

            You do realise there is an operating battery swap station for Model S, right?

          • Allan Theobald


            It was a scam to fool the consumers. The math was massively upside down. But still Musk stood up and presented it. James you blind sheep the SC are not quite as bad but much the same. I will spell it out for you. If you run the math at peak weekend travel times it’s very easy to figure out the number of changing bays necessary to efficiently serve the buyers for a given number of cars. Already out in CA and Nevada(LV) regular delays are happening every travel weekend. With every sale the problem gets worse and the Model 3 if it ever gets built will collapse the SC system. If you do a simple calculation it’s obvious Tesla can never on it’s own build enough SC stations to solve this dilemma. 6 bus can only service 24 cars every three hours. Wake up and do the math yourself. Musk of course knows this but yet he’s out lying to the public about how he can sell large numbers of cars and set up a Sc system so the car can be used for travel. He is a liar because he can’t and soon enough this will become obvious. This problem is unsolvable for many years. This is why the big makers are going to create hybrids rather than pure EV’s. The cars will have a 50-100 mile EV range and then the ICE will kick in. Thant means 90% EV mode is used but when travel is needed all the problems of EV’s are eliminated. This is the future not Tesla.

          • Allan Theobald

            Once the market figures this out the stock will collapse. But who can say when the epiphany will occur.

          • James Rowland

            Aren’t you tired of repeatedly clowning yourself yet?

            Your analysis is nonsense and, as I have already shown point by point, every significant factual claim you’ve made is verifiably false.

            Do you seriously think you have any kind of credibility after that?

          • Allan Theobald

            My analysis is absolutely correct. Are you really arguing that a 6 bay SC can charge more than 8 cars per hour? What is your analysis? You know objective people actually do their own figures. Please show me where I am wrong. Show us your math.

          • James Rowland

            I already did that last time you brought this idiocy up. As for this time, your 100% failure rate at factual accuracy (documented in detail above) isn’t impressing anyone either.

          • Allan Theobald

            You have proven yourself to be a Tesla fanatic. No amount of evidence can alter your support of the Musk god. Rational analysis means nothing.

          • James Rowland

            You have proven yourself to be a Tesla bear fanatic. No amount of evidence can alter your support of the Fox god. Rational analysis means nothing.

            What, not convinced?

            I’m not sure whether it’s your overconfidence or your incompetence that’s more entertaining.

          • Allan Theobald

            So now as always the progressive shows his true beliefs. Fox god. What the F are you talking about you incompetent fool. My discussion is completely about a dishonest CEO and company that is openly lying to the public. Battery swapping was a scam. SC is also a scam. Neither can work in the real world. My largest investment is with Warren B and he’s a staunch Democrat. I couldn’t care less about ideology but when it comes to Tesla ideology is what fuels the fanatic support even though the cars aren’t green in any way. Tons of dirty mining and polluting batteries. A perfect example of progressivism being a mental disorder.

          • James Rowland

            So that misses the mark? Well yes, that was kind of the point.

            Do you not even recognise when someone is mocking you?

          • Allan Theobald


            So now the MSM media has caught up. A complete scam.

          • Rick Danger

            And this is the response of a mindless bot. As are all the rest of your asinine posts.

          • Allan Theobald


            Check out figure 4. This is liberal PBS quoting a Harvard study showing Obamacare is a total failure since the care isn’t better, you can’t keep your doctor, and it’s more not less expensive. It’s right there in in the numbers.

            But of course progressives just keep on lying.


            You do the same with Tesla. The products they produce are inferior and not practical for the vast majority of buyers. This is why EV sales have fallen and will continue to be negligible. All you have to claim is the stock price to support your statement of success. Markets are fickle and bubbles occur all the time. Do you remember how AOL was going to change the world? Sooner or later markets always correct. Can Tesla survive? Maybe but not unless the prices of the batteries fall dramatically but even then it will be a minor company.

          • Sreehari Variar

            Are you getting paid per post? Sounds like it.

          • Sreehari Variar

            Are you even a real person? I don’t even know where to begin the argument. Thoroughly confused. People can be wrong, but I hate it when people are out of context and still argue!

          • Allan Theobald

            If the discussion is over your head don’t post.

          • James Rowland

            Tesla’s strategic goal is “to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport.” Where do we stand today with respect to this goal?

            * Conventional cars are being displaced (by Model S) from the luxury sedan market. Tesla leads sales in several key territories.

            * It is now widely known that compelling electric cars are possible, contrary to what we were told by the incumbents.

            * Model 3 is expected to attack D-segment with much the same qualities that Model S now dominates F-segment with.

            * Incumbent car manufacturers are now furiously working on their own electric cars.

            Tesla a failure? No, they are already victorious. The EV secret is out, and it’s changed the world. Not that this is likely in the near future, but even Tesla’s bankruptcy would not change it back.

          • Rick Danger

            James said: “…odds are I’ll be taking you even less seriously in future than I am now.”
            Do you think that’s possible? 😀

          • Ivan

            Allan, can you comment your comment on “50k which will produce more red ink.” – since you was wrong – what about other stuff, possible wrong as well?

          • Allan Theobald

            Wrong, are your delusional? Musk himself has admitted all the early cars will be over 50k. Try to keep up.

          • Ivan

            Where did he said that?

          • Allan Theobald

            Of course he did. All the guys are going to S owners who will never accept stripped cars with limited range. The 35k is a treaser price and nothing more. The actual cars will cost 50k.

          • Termin8r

            You seem to put a lot of time and energy in attempting to talk TSLA down. So, how’s your short position on TSLA going? Not very well, is it? Does it hurt much? Wanna talk about it?

          • Allan Theobald

            An objective analysis is not talking anyone down. The company is a bubble stock. Musk is nothing but a con man. I mean he claimed that buying Tesla will help stop global warming. That is a completely provable lie. But then Tesla fanatics don’t care about facts.

          • Termin8r

            So prove it. And stop uttering sweeping, but otherwise completely unfounded statements that are meant to talk TSLA down. If you can prove your points, you might be on to something. If you keep putting loads of energy in your seemingly single goal of talking TSLA down, your credibility will remain zero.

            Full disclosure: I don’t invest, but I’m sick & tired of parasitic short sellers, who don’t have any worthwhile contribution to the economy or society. You have all the hallmarks of one. You don’t even deny being one.

          • Allan Theobald

            You are a nut. The financials today prove it all. Despite no competition and all the government subsides they continue to hemorrhage cash. Tesla is the biggest bubble in history.

          • Termin8r

            Again, just bloviating. You did prove my point, though. Thanks for that.

          • Allan Theobald

            So think the hard financials are bloviating. Do you know what the word means? Take a look in the mirror. Why do you support Tesla? Have you driven the car? Or do you also believe Tesla helps global warming? So please tell us.

          • Allan Theobald

            Right so they are losing a billion a year and Musk openly states more is coming. The biggest scam in history.

  • blackandwhiteohana
  • SnoCamo

    Musk lost me when he inserted himself into the Boeing 787 lithium battery fire problem with an unsolicted offer to help redesign it. And then the batteries in his cars started catching fire. Hubris is a bitch.

    • James Rowland

      Tesla’s battery fires are not even remotely equivalent to the Boeing battery fires, which started spontaneously during normal use. That has never happened with a Tesla battery pack.

      The two fires you allude to started after a 100mph+ collision (which the driver walked away from) and after high-speed jacking on a large metal object (that would have punched straight through the floor of a regular car, potentially impaling an occupant).

      Then it took minutes for fire to take hold, rather than the milliseconds it usually takes when a tank full of petroleum ruptures next to a hot exhaust pipe.

      (Meanwhile, about 200,000 vehicle fires per year continued to occur in the US alone.)

      If you thought that was a good point you were making there, you might do well taking your own advice about hubris.

  • YeahRightPal

    Elon Musk is a charlatan, huckster, fraud and a flimflam man. $5B in gub’mint cheese, so far, and they lose money on the production and sale of each car.

    Tell me – when Tesla can’t get a grip on quality issues plauging its 80-100k models, what makes you think that a “35k” version is going to fare better?

  • Eddie Espinoza

    Man talk about apple polishing. The author borderline in love with Elon Musk. It borders on obsession

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