TTAC officially retired its Tesla Deathwatch series over a year ago, after the firm delivered its 100th Roadster. Indeed, we’ve generally turned away from the “Deathwatch” tag in recent months, as the bankruptcies of GM and Chrysler have removed the immediacy of many of their original criticisms. Over the years, the Deathwatch label has been a challenging mistress, often confusing readers as to TTAC’s intentions: though they were intended to document the slow-motion bellyflop of America’s automakers, they’ve often been interpreted as a sign that TTAC actually wishes tragedy upon the automakers it identifies as being in danger of shuffling off this mortal coil. Incidents like the one today, in which three Tesla employees were apparently killed when an light aircraft owned by Tesla senior electrical engineer Doug Bourn crashed into a Palo Alto neighborhood, serve as an important reminder that nothing could be further from the case. TTAC criticizes automakers because responsibly buying, owning and operating motor vehicles requires that consumers be well-armed with the facts. When real tragedy strikes the companies that build the vehicles we discuss here, our thoughts go out to the families of those lost, and we hope that the company’s operations soon return to some semblance of normality. Today we mourn for Tesla’s as-yet unidentified employees (apparently CEO Elon Musk was not on board) who will not be at work tomorrow, working on new ways to respond to criticisms and improve the firm’s products.
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