By on October 11, 2017

tesla-model-3

Last week I showed you how some electric car “journalists” were reaping massive rewards for recommending Tesla over other electric cars. I also showed you how poorly they reacted to being found out. My coverage of Electrek’s Fred Lambert ended up being linked, referenced, or just flat-out copied in outlets as diverse as the WSJ and Zero Hedge.

As I had feared, however, most of the aforementioned media sources used my articles as stones on which to grind their ax, not mine. My concern was with the ever-more-permeable wall between automotive journalism and outright PR/promotion; theirs was with Tesla as an automaker and/or business entity. For me, this was a story about double dipping, but for them it was yet another example of reality distortion on the part of Elon Musk and his secretive cabal.

There are plenty of Tesla skeptics out there, including this site’s august founder, who once referred to Model S early ordering as a “Ponzi scheme,” and two former Editors-In-Chief of TTAC. I’m not one of them. Sure, I’m happy to admit that the company has a long history of playing fast and loose with the facts, and I’ll also freely stipulate the idea that Tesla as a whole is so entirely dependent on government subsidies as to be completely unviable without the steady drip of corporate welfare. What I want to suggest to you is that none of that matters, as conclusively proven by a series of trips I recently took to Western Europe and Northern California.

A few months ago, I drove the AMG GT-C and Porsche 911 GTS through Switzerland and Italy in a test that would have been sheer automotive heaven on earth if I hadn’t been dealing with several broken ribs at the time. It was my fourth trip of the year to Europe — in the interest of autojourno integrity, I should point out that none of them were paid for by automakers and one of them was just to visit my tailor — and it served to further confirm a pattern that I’ve noticed again and again over the past few years.

There are only two American cars with any sales volume whatsoever in Europe — those cars being the Ford Mustang and the Tesla Model S. That’s it and that’s all. Sure, you’ll occasionally see a Corvette or a Chrysler (nee Plymouth) Voyager or even a full-sized Silverado Crew Cab, but those are rarities. Tesla is a legitimate presence, doing about 15,000 sales per year in Britain and the Continent combined. In fact, the Model S outsold the Mercedes-Benz S-Class across Western Europe in 2015.

If Tesla didn’t exist, if the Great Accounting for which every TSLA skeptic devoutly wishes were to occur and the firm were to be wiped into receivership, then every one of those sales would go to the German luxury automakers. But they aren’t. They’re going to an American car built by an American company on American soil. I realize many TTAC readers consider themselves to be Citizens Of The Flat World, arrogantly dismissive of any pretense to national or local interest while at the same time blissfully ignorant of the nationalist and local protections that have enabled their own little economic niches to avoid competition with overseas providers (lawyers, doctors, and Wall Street types, I’m looking at you), but for the rest of us, Tesla’s American heritage genuinely matters.

You might say that General Motors and Ford are going to build better, more reliable, and more thoroughly developed electric cars than Tesla can, and you’re probably right. But the world doesn’t want an electric Cadillac or Lincoln for the same reasons it doesn’t want gasoline-powered Cadillacs or Lincolns. The world sees Tesla as an aspirational, upscale brand with unstoppable momentum, and it wants to purchase Tesla products.

Without Tesla, the electric future is almost certainly going to be a sort of Poland-in-1939, divided equally between the Chinese generics on the low end and the German name brands on the high. The proles will commute in a Changjiang/Dongfeng/whatever and the top ten percent will have a Benz or Bimmer. Nobody else is going to have enough momentum to beat the fact that the Chinese own the means of production and the Germans own the valuable brands. It’s sad but true. GM and Ford could easily go the way of Curtis-Mathes, Magnavox, and all those other invincible-looking electronics brands of the Sixties and Seventies.

It’s obvious, therefore, that we need Tesla. This is a brand-conscious era and Tesla is the only desirable American electric car brand. Period, point blank. The evidence is all around you, from the long waiting lists for products that don’t even have a production line in place to the monotonous similarity of Napa Valley valet parking. Wherever the beautiful people gather, there are two kinds of cars: German luxury sleds and Teslas. It doesn’t matter if you’re in Boston or Berlin or London.

Is Tesla a welfare recipient? Does it receive subsidies that enrich its shareholders at the expense of other American businesses and people? Absolutely — but that’s the way the auto business has always been, and it doesn’t matter if you’re talking about the state of Lower Saxony supporting VW in its adventures or the Japanese government trying to make the yen serve its exporters or the 2008 automaker bailout here in the States. Governments have to give automakers welfare because the alternative is giving welfare directly to the people who go out of work when the automaker closes its doors or ships its jobs to Third World countries.

I realize plenty of people out there have all sorts of distaste for Elon Musk and his increasingly bizarre pronouncements, but how can you not prefer Musk at his worst to the Finance/Insurance/Real Estate crowd at their best? At least he’s trying to build and create actual, tangible products, not use the American taxpayer as a bag-holder for billion-dollar bets on junk mortgages.

Surely most of the vitriol sent in Elon’s direction comes from people who are uncomfortably conscious of the fact that they are nothing but repugnant, ridiculously compensated leeches on the American bloodstream. Meanwhile, Musk bestrides the globe like the proverbial Colossus. He’s digging tunnels! Building cars! Sending rockets that come back and land square! What do you do? You package derivatives? You sell bonds? You provide cautious legal advice for $500 an hour, knowing full well that not a single human being on earth would mourn your untimely death?

Or it could be something as simple as this: Elon is the nail that needs to be hammered down. He needs to have his dreams shoved rudely back into line by the Orren Boyles and Wesley Mouches of the world. They’ve already engineered the sale of this country’s future to China and they’ve already collected the commission that will allow them to insulate themselves from the consequences. How dare anybody throw a wrench into the works? That is reason enough to support Tesla and its projects, no matter how half-baked. Like it not, he’s the hero of our collective American automotive story — and we’ve needed one for a long time.

[Image: Tesla]

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144 Comments on “No Fixed Abode: The Case For Tesla...”


  • avatar

    Here in the ring suburbs around the cash machine that is NYC, we see a lot of Tesla. It is the unofficial “but honey, we’ve had two Mercedes leases and I’m boooored of them” car. I admit it takes up a lot of mind-share, for a small production number and the fact they become hen’s teeth outside of zip codes with less than six figure household incomes. I need only cross the “money line” here in the NYC area and suddenly every single car in the driveway is an older CamCord. Bright and shiny, but oh so thin on the ground. Sells to folks with driveways, a solid place to charge, and another car.

    I sincerely doubt that Elon and his subsidized NUMMI plant out in CA will kill the big 2 1/2.

    Disclosure : own zero Tesla stock, respect the cars, not the company.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      On the day when Jack “legend in his own mind” Baruth slobbers praise on corporate welfare taxpayer teat-suckler Tesla and its snake oil salesman, cult-leader, Elon “Let’s Do Hyperloops” Musk (Tesla is contrary and diametrically opposed to what fiscal conservatives and even fiscal moderates find tolerable; a vast racket, continuously losing money, playing fast and loose with accounting rules in ways that would make the higher-ups at Enron or WorldCom blush, kept alive by the GreenScam Carbon Credit Racketeering Syndicate), Bark/Mark (the other Baruth Bro) pens a knob-slobbering homage to the FMOTUS (“F’ing Moron Of The United States), who spends 93% of his time in tweet wars with media frenemies, his own Cabinet members, the highest ranking GOP Senators, regarding Very Important Topics such as NFL protests, “fine” White Nationalists, Alec Baldwin and other celebrity happenings, etc.

      Orange Droolius Trumpito and Elon “Let Me Build A Colony on Mars & Build Hyperloops” Musk: Baruthian Bro Hero Worship Runs Like A Raging River Today!

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        I read this aloud and I slightly increased the volume of my voice with each successive sentence until I was screaming into the canyon at the moment of my death

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          did it create an echo?

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          Speaking on Friday at the International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide, Australia, Mr. Musk said he had figured out a workable business plan, although his presentation lacked financial figures to back up his assertions.

          Mr. Musk has long talked about his dreams of colonizing Mars, and at the same conference last year, he finally provided engineering details: a humongous reusable rocket called the Interplanetary Transport System.

          https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/28/science/elon-musk-mars.html

          Trump Wanted Tenfold Increase in Nuclear Arsenal, Surprising Military

          http://www.nbcnews.com/news/all/trump-wanted-dramatic-increase-nuclear-arsenal-meeting-military-leaders-n809701

          Musk & Trump should open a business together called TUB LLC (Total, Unmitigated Bullsh*t LLC), and Jack and his brother Mark and select members of the Trumptardian Guard and The Church of Most Holy Elon Musk can serve as Hype Men.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          Did you crash hood first into a crevasse in your 500,000th mass-produced Tesla Model 3, at a super-high rate of ludicrousness, emerging from the safety shell completely unscathed?

        • 0 avatar
          dont.fit.in.cars

          I will ALWAYS read Baruth and get a chuckle at DW’s quips/rants. My compliments to you both.

          Best Regards.

        • 0 avatar
          AoLetsGo

          I would like to hear a heavy weight match of JB vs DW — of the literary variety.

          The Write Club of Atlanta tried this a few years back. “Described as “The Tenderest Bloodsport. No-Holds-Barred Brain Wrestling. A Lit-punch to the back of the skull,” Fight Club meets literature at Atlanta’s monthly literary deathmatch series at PushPush Theater.”

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Deadweight, you are on a roll today.

      • 0 avatar
        Glenn Mercer

        I gotta say, leaving aside all pro- or con-Tesla thinking, THAT, DeadWeight, was one of the finest rants in the history of online comments! Talk about breadth, depth, eloquence, and fervor!

      • 0 avatar
        Snooder

        Do you like cars?

        Do you like speed?

        Do you like innovation and new technology?

        Do you like America?

        If the answer to any of the above is yes, i don’t understand why you don’t like Tesla. So what if the company flops. Its an interesting new thing that helps the environment (sorta) while providing bitching quarter mile dragstrip burnouts on youtube. There are much worse things the government could be wasting money on.

        • 0 avatar
          cognoscenti

          Correction: that should be “bitching EIGHTH-mile dragstrip runs.” – let’s keep it all in perspective… :)

          • 0 avatar
            Snooder

            Man, i’m telling you, i cannot wait until 5 or 10 years from now when P100Ds will be depreciated enough that mad bastards in their twenties will have access to them. I just know someone will figure out how to tune, or overvolt or somehow hack the things to dump all the juice at once and just shred tires.

            Between that, and the third owners of Dodge Hellcats, people with 6 year olds better plan carefully for what ridiculous cars their kids will be buying in a decade.

          • 0 avatar
            MoparRocker74

            one or two 1/8 mile runs till the battery is dead. With zero driver skill whatsoever to make it happen.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          “Do you like innovation and new technology?”

          NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

        • 0 avatar
          S2k Chris

          All this, plus in many places* Tesla’s a giant FFOG (fist full of genitalia) shaken at the oil regimes we love to hate.

          I’ve got gas in my bloodstream, but I don’t mind the occasional fantasy of Tesla roof tiles powering my Tesla Powerwall and charging my Telsa P100D in the garage as a completely guilt-free pleasure. Get the price of each down to 50% what it is today and I’m all in. Plus it shuts the greenie weenies up? Fantastic.

          *local energy source dependant

        • 0 avatar
          WheelMcCoy

          Yes, yes, yes, yes!!!!

          Sadly, some love oil more than America.

        • 0 avatar
          Tennessee_Speed

          I’ll probably never buy a Tesla, but there is one thing I really admire about the company & Musk.
          The Model S outsells the M Benz S-Class, BMW 7 Series, and Audi A8 COMBINED in the U.S.
          That is one hell of an accomplishment.

  • avatar
    nguyenvuminh

    Understood and wholeheartedly agree. For many that rips Tesla at every chance, and usually those are the proud conservative free market fans, you would think they’d appreciate competition in the car market place, the bedrock of their belief. As for the hyperbole, subsidize funding, etc. that Tesla has been associated with, how is that different from what all other car companies have been doing over the last 50 years?

  • avatar
    stingray65

    Yes you can admire Mr Musk for his energy and creativity across several industries. Yes the Model S and X are impressive machines in many ways, particularly as products of a rookie manufacturer. The problem that most critics have is that Tesla is not the product of a marketing/technical genius who finds an unfulfilled need and creates a “must have” product to fill it (e.g. Henry Ford or Steve Jobs), but instead is a company that has been most successful at sucking subsidies from government (e.g. crony capitalism). Yes other automakers have also gotten subsidies, but they also employ hundreds of thousands of people and pay huge taxes, which have more than offset whatever subsidies they receive, although I would be very happy is no automaker or any other industry got subsidies. Almost all those European Tesla sales are solely due to subsidies, which can be worth up to $100,000 in value in places like Norway, which is Tesla’s largest European market. Sure the Tesla is a nice car, but 95% of the Tesla buyers would end up with a MB, BMW, or Audi if the subsidies went away. And after all those billions in EV subsidies, Tesla still hasn’t earned a profit, and the global warming is being slowed down by .00000001%.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      “Almost all those European Tesla sales are solely due to subsidies, which can be worth up to $100,000 in value in places like Norway, which is Tesla’s largest European market.”

      this, exactly.

      • 0 avatar
        baconator

        NO, and this is an important point: In Norway, EVs get an *exemption from tax*, not a subsidy. Norwegian Tesla buyers simply get to keep their own money in their pocket instead of paying a premium of 30-50% of the MSRP to the government. Frankly, if Musk and team have created the unintended consequence of dinging the revenue streams of usurious Socialist states outside the US, then I’m as big a fan of that as I am of the Model S’ hilariously quick 1/4 mile times.

        As Jack says, Musk may benefit from a hype machine, but at the core, his enterprises are building cool, useful things. Have you built something cool and/or useful today?

    • 0 avatar

      “is a company that has been most successful at sucking subsidies from government”

      Tesla receive little in subsidies. Their customers however do benefit from incentives around the globe.

      Many believe Tesla receives large checks from governments. They don’t the payouts where they exist go to help consumers purchase an EV. Any car maker has the opportunity to benefit from these incentives, the fact they choose not to doesn’t make Tesla specially chosen or molly coddled.

      Direct consumer incentives are the correct path to take. The roads have already been built. Government sponsored EV charging infrastructure results in wasted money on the wrong equipment in the wrong place.

      Once the cars exist in large enough numbers, the infrastructure will spring up. Once the infrastructure is in place the EV market will drive itself and incentives can be phased out.

      • 0 avatar
        stingray65

        Tesla’s most profitable product has been the sale of the zero-emission tax credits, but it doesn’t have to be cash to be a subsidy. Most EV buyers don’t care very much about air quality or global warming, although they may like being thought of as “green”, but they want free access to the bus lane, they like getting free electricity and public charging stations, discounts on annual licensing fees, freedom from paying fuel taxes, and well as tax credits/rebates when they buy. Withdraw those “goodies” and EV demands crashes to virtually nothing, and so would Tesla’s stock price. Yes other automakers could also get the same if they built more EVs, but Tesla’s profits are exactly enticing, although government zero-emission mandates (another subsidy) are forcing many to join the EV bandwagon – and we’ll see how Tesla does when it has real competition and no one to sell their vehicle tax credits to.

        • 0 avatar
          MoparRocker74

          Stingray, you gotta love the hypocrisy of those who bleat on about being ‘green’ and ‘environmentally freindly’ which usually segues into some droning on about social justice and whatnot, all the while the mining operations to harvest these rare earth elements is devastating to the local ecosystems. Also the working conditions for laborers that are pretty much underaged slaves would make a Chinese sweatshop owner blush. But hey…they CAAAARRREEE.

          • 0 avatar
            imprezive

            How are those mutually exclusive? I can want better conditions for laborers in China and still want to be green and drive an EV. You can’t crow about mining conditions and not mention the millions of dead and trillions of dollars spent in Middle East wars over oil.

        • 0 avatar
          imprezive

          Basically what you are saying is that government incentives to reduce pollution are working and Tesla is the leader in EVs. So you are a fan? Cool.

    • 0 avatar
      healthy skeptic

      >> Sure the Tesla is a nice car, but 95% of the Tesla buyers would end up with a MB, BMW, or Audi if the subsidies went away.

      At the Model S and X end of the market, I really don’t think so. We are talking $100k+ cars here, where folks have money to burn and will buy whatever they like best, never mind a few thousand either way in tax credits.

      Further downmarket, it will matter much more.

  • avatar
    someoldfool

    Very interesting read Mr. Baruth. An additional thing about Teslas is that the owners absolutely love them, the ones that I’ve talked to anyway. A discouraging word here and there quickly drowned out by praise. They love everything about them and do not suffer from range anxiety. At the hospital where I volunteer I regulary see 2 white Teslas parked in the doctors’ spaces among the German supercars and ultra sedans. And an occasional midnight blue one.

    The American cars I noticed most in Western Europe were PT Cruisers (diesels perhaps?) and Corvettes. The very first car I laid eyes on in Amsterdam was a Chevrolet Volt forcryingoutloud.

    • 0 avatar
      Ermel

      Chrysler has sold quite a few PT Cruisers, Voyagers, and 300s over the past decades. They are not really respected as quality products, and at least the 300s (as well as the occasional Jeep, Corvette, pony car, or American SUV) have a slight red-light-area tinge to them, but other than that, they’re almost normal cars … on par with, say, Renaults or Fiats in image.

      Teslas, on the other hand, are closer to Porsche Panameras in the eye of the people, but interestingly without the envy and hate that expensive petrol/diesel cars tend to draw in parts of the public.

      And yes, most of those American cars that were sold here were of course Diesels.

    • 0 avatar

      He neglected jeeps. They sell a ton of Renegades (ok Italian made US brand) Grand Cherokees Cherokees and wranglers there. Grand Cherokees look like the sell right in that same 13-15,000 a year bracket as Mustangs and Model S.

  • avatar
    derekson

    “it doesn’t matter if you’re talking about the state of Lower Saxony supporting VW in its adventures or the Japanese government trying to make the yen serve its exporters or the 2008 automaker bailout here in the States.”

    The first two are not even remotely comparable, and the third debatably isn’t either. Lower Saxony owns a large stake in VW and thus also takes profits from the company for public coffers when the company succeeds. Japan devaluing the Yen creates a balance of trade that benefits Japan as whole ,even if auto companies specifically reap a larger share than other segments of the economy. The 2008 bailout is the closest comparable, but even there you have the fact that the collapse of one of the largest industries left in the country as the other possibility which likely would’ve sent the economy into a tailspin.

    Tesla is completely socialized losses and privatized gains. It is neofeudalism.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      The Japanese devalued the Yen, but the US also devalued the USD by a huge amount with that $80 or so billion propping up Wall St and companies like Tesla, not including Tesla’s welfare cheques.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Oh, that $80 billion was PER MONTH! The USD devalued to the point where the AUD eventually bought $1.12 USD, when it’s trade weighted index was in the mid 70 cent range.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGhost

      derekson,
      Do you have any facts to back up your assertions abut Tesla? I have done a lot of research, and have never come across a single government subsidy that Tesla accepted which wasn’t available to every other carmaker.

  • avatar
    ajla

    It’s hard for me to cheer on the company that symbolizes an all EV – all AV future.

    • 0 avatar
      MoparRocker74

      ‘Hard’? Try never gonna happen. An all EV future is about as bleak and depressing a thing as I can imagine. Luckily, at 43, theres little to no chance that will happen in my lifetime.

      • 0 avatar
        healthy skeptic

        I’m 43 too, and a (nearly) all EV future is fine with me, if those EVs include cars like Teslas. And if some of the EVs suck, well guess what, there are plenty of boring/uninspiring/depressing ICE cars around today, and there were even more in the past.

        Great cars are great cars, whether EV or ICE.

    • 0 avatar
      imprezive

      Have you driven a Tesla? It’s pretty awesome. More fun to drive than 90% of the cars you can buy right now.

  • avatar
    NN

    Thank you, Jack. There is not a single automotive manufacturer that I can think of that has been free of government assistance of some sort. Also, the fact that Tesla’s government assistance comes in the form of rewarding them for creating transport options free from big oil is a plus IMO.

    In the past year I’ve been to Austria, Germany, China and Hong Kong, and I can confirm what you say. This is an aspirational American brand having so much worldwide success they can’t make enough product. That means the hard work of winning minds has been accomplished; execution can and will follow.

    It won’t happen as quick as he says (it never does), but Elon will succeed because at this point the universe wants him to.

    • 0 avatar
      healthy skeptic

      I recently got back from Portugal. There were about a zillion Peugeots and Citroens, quite a lot of MBs, and some BMWs, Audis and Japanese cars as well. But I don’t remember seeing any American cars at all, with the exception of one or two Mustangs…and a couple of Teslas.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    “Tesla’s American heritage genuinely matters.”

    There is no American heritage with Tesla, unless you count funny accounting practices and government handouts. Tesla seems to have joined the TBTF club.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    “but for the rest of us, Tesla’s American heritage genuinely matters.”

    No it doesn’t. Tesla buyers don’t care if the VIN on their car begins with a 1, 2, 3, Z or J, just like you don’t with yours.

    • 0 avatar
      Ermel

      As a German, I of course know that Tesla is an American brand, but I don’t feel like it is. All other car makers are associated with their country of origin, although such connections are beginning to blur at the edges — Skoda for instance doesn’t feel particularly Czech, it’s just Volkswagen’s value brand. Is Volvo Swedish anymore or has it become Indian? Also, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese are beginning to sort of blur together and become “Asian”. But Tesla? That feels like the next era of car, rather than just another brand.

    • 0 avatar

      American Heritage ?

      Yah, right. My Caddy has Bosch computers and spark plugs, Chinese wires, Polish filters, Korean End Links, and inside the massive aluminum wheels again stamped “Made in China”. The engine is made in the US, Germany and Oz.

      If a Cadillac isn’t American, I give up. I think my Acura, made in Ontario, has more American Content.

      The last American Car I rode in was a mid 70’s Buick Convertible.

      I wish there was a real US auto industry, complete with local suppliers and the lunch counters and bars to cater to their employees. Oh, and that money would buy houses, end up in local businesses, and pay for roads and such through the taxes levied on all…..

      The wish for that world gave us our current White House Occupant based on rust belt votes by folks who also recall that world, but instead we are getting culture wars, distractions and a disassembly of consumer protections and environmental law by the GOP while the child in chief kicks a hornet’s nest in Asia.

      NAFTA and right to work (for less), along with the ALEC agenda are the real enemy…but that’s too esoteric for the MAGA hat wearers, who lined right up to vote against themselves.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        MAGA!

        “It’s going to be great! You’re going to love it! I will bring tens of millions of jobs from Korea, China, Mexico, India, Singapore, Malaysia, Poland, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Taiwan, Argentina, Brazil, and other nations back, including Rawlings baseball cover stitching jobs, give you all the most incredible health care with maybe a $20 annual premiums and $0 co-pays, totally….and I mean, like absolutely…believe me…deport all criminals and build a glorious 400-foot high gold-gilded wall, tear up NAFTA, totally rebuild the military and ensure social security stability and pension fund stability and ensure that everyone pays no more…believe me…you will love this…no more than 1.111234% in special, state and federal taxes combined, regardless of income, eliminating the *official* 20 trillion dollar national debt! Now let’s get those coal mines back open and roll some coal….MAGAAAAAAA!!!! BELIEVE ME IT WILL BE SO WONDERFUL YOU WILL BE TIRED OF WINNING AND SO MUCH WEALTH POURING DOWN UPON YOU!!!!”

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        There is very much a real US auto industry, it just doesn’t fit within the convenient branding image that’s convenient for consumers.

        The point is that if the flag wavers don’t actually care about simple concepts like assembly points, then the demographic buying Teslas almost certainly doesn’t. It might be a self-congratulatory conversation piece in the same way someone might discuss how they buy “Fair Trade” coffee.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    Finally got a ride in a friend’s father’s Model S not too long ago, came away impressed with the performance, and slightly taken aback at the “prototype” finish quality and feel of the interior. The owner is definitely not some kind of moneyed urbanite, he’s actually a non-college educated tool and die maker who takes it to the local drag strip and embarrasses all different flavors of V8 muscle here in corn country. The acceleration in even this lower end model is just unreal, especially when combined with the lack of sound and fury from an internal combustion engine.

    • 0 avatar
      vvk

      > slightly taken aback at the “prototype” finish quality and feel of the interior

      Compared to what?

      Yes, my MS interior quality does not measure up to my BMW, despite being priced exactly the same (ignoring the EV tax credit.) However, I would certainly not call it “prototype.” Materals are of good quality and look good. Most of the glaring issues have to do with the door seals that are more Toyota than BMW.

      • 0 avatar
        MBella

        As gtemnykh said above, their interior parts quality, fit and finish is atrocious, and wouldn’t be tolerated on a Mitsubishi Mirage. This isn’t Toyata vs. BMW. This is Dollar Tree vs. Playskool, and Tesla is the Dollar Tree interior. The performance and range of the power-train is however very impressive.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          “Dollar Tree interior?”

          Nope. There’s definitely room for improvement, but I’d say the Model S interiors I’ve sampled are more comparable to what you’d find in a $40,000 near-luxury car.

          • 0 avatar
            MBella

            Maybe from 200 feet, and not using it. Once you start driving it, and inspecting panel fitment, it is absurdly poor quality. I think people are to distracted with the gadgets to pay attention to the shortfalls. If the Chevy Sonic had interior build quality this bad, it would be smeared everywhere, but the Tesla gets a pass. The good news for them, is that this can be addressed by their suppliers, they just probably have to settle on a may more conventional looking interior.

          • 0 avatar
            vvk

            > Maybe from 200 feet, and not using it. Once you start driving it, and inspecting panel fitment, it is absurdly poor quality.
            > I think people are to distracted with the gadgets to pay attention to the shortfalls.

            This is absolutely not true. Maybe it was true in 2012 but my 2017 MS is certainly not like this.

          • 0 avatar
            MBella

            I don’t remember the year of the Model S I road in, but don’t think it was a 2017. If they made drastic improvements in 2017, I would suggest to allow for a review of your vehicle from one of the writer’s here.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            I’ve never seen a Model S that has an interior even remotely comparable to a Sonic or Mirage, Mbella…and that includes a couple of used ones I’ve seen on lots.

            Sorry, I just flat out disagree.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            They obviously used decent grade materials, but the assembly/fit is definitely distinctly “hand assembled,” in a low-production TVR-type super-car sense, not a finely honed mass produced mainstream auto. I’d say something like a current ES300 is wholly superior in terms of interior quality (my only semi-luxury point of comparison). In a way it adds to the novelty of driving a freaky-fast Tesla with that huge screen in the middle. It all feels very unfamiliar and prototype-y (to me, anyways).

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “Tesla as a whole is so entirely dependent on government subsidies as to be completely unviable without the steady drip of corporate welfare”

    Are you referring to:

    1. The $7500 Federal subsidy that every EV gets, and which had found the most recipients in Nissan Leaf buyers, for whom $7500 matters twice as much?

    or

    2. The corporate welfare that every large employer (especially car mfrs) seems to receive from local governments when they build a plant?

    I suspect you’re referring to the latter; if so, a little balance would be appreciated.

    In this list from 2015, Tesla isn’t even listed, but GM, Ford, and FCA are – and Boeing takes the prize by far:
    https://www.cheatsheet.com/business/high-on-the-hog-the-top-8-corporate-welfare-recipients.html/?a=viewall

    In another 2015 list, Big Oil, McDonald’s, and the National Football League are big takers:
    http://www.businessinsider.com/6-companies-that-receive-corporate-welfare-2015-10

    In this list from 2016, Tesla is still absent:
    https://www.salon.com/2016/12/27/taxpayer-funded-capitalism-here-are-the-biggest-corporate-subsidy-deals-of-2016/

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I’m one of those who believes if Tesla was worth it, then do it.

    The fact is Tesla will not survive without continuing handouts for the rest of it’s life.

    It’s okay to give a business a helping hand, but outright propping up is just putting in good money after bad.

    If the market was there for Tesla, Tesla would not need handouts.

    I think Tesla will be remembered for the massive tax dollars it used and then sold off to the Chinese for a tuppence.

    Tesla might be an “American” company, but is it worth it? No. The nostalgic Tesla bullsh!t laid down by Jack is so Trump like.

    The US would be better off fixing up the existing mainstream auto industry first. Whatever Tesla can deliver, the mainstream auto manufacturers will deliver a thousand fold.

    A house of cards, how many years will those 100s of thousands be waiting for their 3? By the time they have them the Chinese will have better products at one third the price.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Please explain these handouts you’re referring to.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      If you think the Chinese companies aren’t massively supported and subsidized by their government in various ways… I don’t know what to tell you.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Big Al:

      You mean to tell me that the market for Teslas – i.e., folks with incomes well into the low six figures – would disappear without tax incentives?

      No, it wouldn’t. Seventy-five hundred bucks isn’t all that much money to someone who can afford a $100,000 car.

      Sales might dip, but the tax break isn’t the reason why people buy these cars.

      If Teslas were bad cars, no amount of tax incentives would sell it to a group of people who can afford anything they want.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “In fact, the Model S outsold the Mercedes-Benz S-Class across Western Europe in 2015.”

    The Model S is outselling the S-Class in the United States, today.

  • avatar
    Chan

    Tesla is so dependent on cost subsidies that its Hong Kong sales fell to literally zero when the Hong Kong government ended its EV tax benefit (literally zero tax until April 2017). The Model S had been selling like hotcakes because it could be had for barely half the cost of its gas-powered competition.

    Source:
    https://www.wsj.com/articles/teslas-hong-kong-sales-gutted-by-tax-change-1499598003

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Perhaps, but no one in the U.S. is getting that kind of tax break on any electric vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGhost

        How many cars sell annually in HK? Do you think anyone besides a couple of dealers noticed?

        • 0 avatar
          stingray65

          Hong Kong is the only place I have ever been that has scrap yards stacked 10 high with Rolls Royces. Never saw so many supercars in my life, and the speed limit with traffic is less than 30mph, so Hong Kong is a pretty big market for prestige cars.

          • 0 avatar
            vvk

            Let’s put this in perspective, shall we. Monthly sales in HK are around 3500. In March 2017 they almost doubled to over 6k.Following the tax law change on April 1, sales dropped to under 3k and recovered in the following months to 3500/month. Not exactly earth shattering.

  • avatar
    tylanner

    Paraphrasing my previous sentiments on Tesla….

    With Tesla, Elon Musk can already claim to be the only new car manufacturer in nearly 60 years to make a meaningful dent in the industry. Their EV sales dominance is exceeded only by their EV performance dominance.

    Tesla isn’t a clumsy, fruitless endeavor…it isn’t a sure-thing, but then what is…it is however a good financial and emotional investment in American innovation and manufacturing.

    Nothing can so effectively unveil blind ideological inflexibility than someones overt contempt for Tesla…they either don’t know the facts…or don’t care to know the facts.

  • avatar
    vvk

    > He needs to have his dreams shoved rudely back into line by the Orren Boyles and Wesley Mouches of the world.

    Thank you for this.

    > There are only two American cars with any sales volume whatsoever in Europe

    Fiat Freemont aka Dodge Journey is fairly common in Europe. Annual sales have been between 15k and 25k since 2011. It is made in Mexico but I would call it an American car.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    The one and only I’ve seen burns up US 491 between Gallup, NM and parts unknown (Farmington, NM would be just at the edge of range for a round trip) and I believe the gentleman is on his 2nd Model S. (I first noticed him around the time the Model S was released and now the color of his steed has changed.)

    Seems like a true believer who would otherwise be driving something from Zee Germans. I’d love to bump into him while out and about in Gallup just to talk to him. I’ve seen it in Gallup traffic and on 491 but never actually parked anywhere.

    Musk is a modern Preston Tucker – thus far much more successful than Tucker.

  • avatar
    qwerty shrdlu

    Tesla is stealing the subsidies that rightfully belong to established companies.

  • avatar

    Purely anecdotal, but related to JB’s German/China future divide of the EV market, I was at a funeral for my uncle yesterday, and one of my cousins, who is an ophthalmologist, was driving a BMW i8. His late father (a different uncle), also an eye doc, drove Mercedes-Benzes (he had a lovely pagoda roofed 280SL that he sorely regretted selling).

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      I’m jealous. If I could afford either the i8 or a Model S, I’d be hard-pressed to decide between the two.

      • 0 avatar
        healthy skeptic

        Really? I’d take a Model S in a heartbeat…and I’m a BMW driver.

        I don’t get the i3 at all (glorified Leaf), and while the i8 is innovative and cool-looking, in the end it seems severely lacking to me.

        Props to BMW for trying, though.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Here’s what the “I hate Tesla ‘cuz big bad gummint” peanut gallery doesn’t even remotely get: yes, Tesla buyers get tax breaks, but if the car wasn’t any good, it wouldn’t matter.

    Let’s say you’re in the market for a Tesla Model S. That’s a $100,000 car, and if it’s on your shopping list, then so is a Mercedes S-Class, 7-series BMW, Jag XJ, A8, etc. That means you’re in the enviable position of being able to buy some pretty magnificent transportation. It also means you make a s**t ton of money – probably in the neighborhood of $400,000 or up, I’m thinking.

    Now, are you really going to tell me that this well-heeled, discriminating guy is going to simply buy the Tesla because he gets a few hundred bucks a month off his tax bill? No, he isn’t. He’s going to buy the Tesla because it’s a kick-a** car. The tax writeoff is just icing on the cake.

    If the only trick Tesla had up its’ sleeve when it came out with the Model S five years ago was a tax writeoff (which, for the record, probably wouldn’t make much of a dent in the monthly budget of someone who can afford one in the first place), then Tesla would be Game Over by now. That’s simply not the case. The Model S and X are still selling.

    Tesla hasn’t succeeded due to tax breaks. It’s succeeded because, as Jack rightly brings up, it’s gained a reputation with a group of demanding, discriminating customers. These folks definitely won’t turn down the tax break (who would?), but they’d buy this car regardless.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Quite true.

      The tax break matters a lot more for the cheaper EVs, and I’ll admit it was why I had a 12 Leaf. Without it – no way.

      • 0 avatar
        stingray65

        The tax break is not what drives Tesla sales in the US – its the car-pool/bus lane access, which the very rich do put a high value on. Many locales also give EVs preferential parking and free juice. If California decided to let 7 Series and S-Classes have free access to the bus lane, tax free fuel, and the tax credits, etc., I expect many would go back to the fossil burning Germans.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Great, but how much does the car pool / bus lane access, free electricity and nice parking spaces add up to in dollar terms, though?

          Not all that much, I’d imagine.

          Certainly not enough that someone who was actually concerned about government overspending should get his back up over it.

          No, it’s the tax subsidy that really has some peoples’ undies in a bunch. And, frankly, I think that’s overblown…a) the same folks didn’t have their undies in much of a bunch back when the IRS was letting business owners depreciate Escalades and Navigators as “work trucks” (cue the “bulls**t!!!” cough from “Animal House”), and b) rich folks would still be buying Teslas even without the tax breaks (or the other perks). If the car sucked, it wouldn’t sell, and certainly not with a $100,000 sticker.

          • 0 avatar
            stingray65

            FreedMike – have you priced out what a mile of highway costs to build and maintain? It ain’t cheap and EV owners pay zero cents of the cost – that is a very expensive subsidy.

            As for depreciation allowances on big SUVs and Trucks – I’m all for getting rid of those also, but I bet sales still remain pretty strong, unlike EVs that tank to nothing without all the goodies.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            EV owners pay nothing to build and maintain roads? That assumes none of them pay state, local or federal income taxes, and none of them have gas powered vehicles too.

            Let’s restate: a guy who makes enough to lay down $100,000 on a Tesla Model S has no tax bill.

            (Cue the ’60s sitcom laugh track.)

            And if subsidies go away for EVs, sales will probably drop somewhat, but they won’t “tank to nothing.” This is particularly true for Tesla.

          • 0 avatar
            stingray65

            Road construction is paid for primarily from fuel taxes – EV drivers pay no fuel taxes on the miles they drive their EV so they are not contributing to the roads they use.

    • 0 avatar
      Daniel J

      http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-hy-musk-subsidies-20150531-story.html

      I could care less about individual customer tax breaks, but much of Teslas business depends on the Energy Credits it sells.

      Regardless of the quality of car, could Tesla operate or have started up without them? Doubtful. Its more government handouts, regardless if its Tesla, GM, or any other corporation for that matter.

  • avatar
    Snooder

    Where I fall in on Tesla hate/praise is this:

    He made the Tesla Roadster. That’s all we need to know. He could literally murder children and stuff their dismembered corpses into every Model 3, and i’d still root for Tesla to succeed because, dammit, i want a Tesla Roadster 2. Or a Roadster jr that’s cheap enough to be in Mustang GT and 370Z territory.

    Fuck electric sedans. The juice is in getting sweet sub 3 second 0-60 times and that magical electric torque to a 2 door, 2 seat no frills American Muscle car for the next generation.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I see many Teslas here in West Chester, OH – a northern Cincinnati suburb, and I would love to own one, especially the model X.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    As more EVs roll out, the cost of gasoline should go down, or at least have limited upside, while the cost of electric power continues to increase. As a retiree I don’t drive that much, and I wonder if I’ll come out behind.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGhost

      Solar cell and electricity costs continue to fall. The die is cast.

      • 0 avatar
        stingray65

        Electricity costs only fall where there are no solar cells. Australia, Germany, and Denmark have the highest electricity prices in the world – guess which 3 countries also have the highest installed renewable base in the world (see link)? Add fuel taxes to EV electricity and mandate renewables and you have a sure formula for making gasoline look like the future of motor fuels.

        http://climatechangedispatch.com/australia-denmark-germany-vie-to-win-highest-global-electricity-cost-its-the-nobel-price-prize/

        • 0 avatar
          VoGhost

          First of all, stingray65, your source is a climate denier front. It’s a know purveyor of lies meant to confuse voters into doubting established science on climate change.

          Secondly, the economics are what they are. Solar cells get cheaper every year, and so does the electricity they generate. There are more jobs today in solar than in coal. The entire world is tearing out coal plants and putting in solar farms because its smart business.

          You can yell MAGA all you want, but all the coal and oil subsidies in the world won’t change the fact that renewables are taking over.

          • 0 avatar
            stingray65

            Hey don’t let facts get in the way of your delusions. You may not like the website, but the information they provide is sourced from the US Energy Administration. Please provide me with documentation regarding all the places that have lots of solar and wind renewables and cheap electricity. Spain? California? No and No. Let me explain things to you – people still want electricity when the sun doesn’t shine and when the wind doesn’t blow, so you still need all that coal and gas as backups, which means solar and wind will NEVER be cheaper than just having coal or gas. Want more proof – see the next link – check out p. 13. https://2lffqo2moysixpyb349z0bj6-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/10.17-MN-Energy-Policy.pdf

          • 0 avatar
            2manycars

            First of all VoGhost, you climate hucksters are the ones who are the “deniers,” denying the reality that climate change is a NATURAL PHENOMENON, and purveying the arrogant nonsense that WE are going to control the earth’s climate. (This appears to be an expansion of the old Soviet idea that the State would become so powerful that it would control the weather.)

            There is no “established science” regarding man-made climate change except in the minds of the elites pushing it for their own ends (follow the money and the power), and for the gaggle of useful idiots who eat up the garbage being fed to them and endlessly regurgitate it.

            Secondly, the theoretical maximum you’re going to get out of solar panels is about a kilowatt per square meter. That’s at high noon in Death Valley with 100% efficiency. In most places you will get considerably less sunlight falling on that square meter and of course we’re nowhere near 100% efficiency. The idea that we are going to power an industrial, technological civilization on solar power is little more than a hippie wet dream left over from the 1970s.

            Tesla and electric cars should compete on their own merits without subsidies. I detest Tesla, but I also detest GM. If in the market for a new car I would not consider either company.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            “Secondly, the theoretical maximum you’re going to get out of solar panels is about a kilowatt per square meter. ”

            You assume that this technology never advances.

            That’s a poor assumption.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGhost

            stingray,
            It’s great that you want to continue to prop up the coal industry with tax incentives and free use of public land. Most people would call that corporate welfare, but you are free to use your own terms.

            And it’s lovely to see you use figures, but it would be even better if you actually understood them. The correlation you show between high electricity costs and high solar penetration is just that: correlation. It is an error to assume that the solar power causes the high prices. The opposite is true: adding capacity LOWERS prices. Simple supply and demand.

        • 0 avatar
          healthy skeptic

          @stingray65

          Renewables are getting cheaper all the time. Will they ever make up 100% of the grid? Probably not…but there’s a fair chance they can get well up into the double-digit percentages, and that’s a good thing.

          Also, although renewables may not be reliable for power production, they are dead-on reliable in fuel costs. That cost is alway zero: zero today, zero tomorrow, zero 50 years from now. Fossil fuels, not so much. If you’re a utility, that matters.

          • 0 avatar
            stingray65

            Healthy Skeptic – yes renewables get cheaper, but EVERYWHERE they are in relatively heavy use the electricity prices are very high. South Australia is closest to 50% renewable and they have regular blackouts and the highest electricity prices in the world – industry and jobs are moving out, poor people can’t pay their power bills – sounds like paradise to me.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGhost

            Stingray,
            Ever hear of batteries? They are the bridge from abundant and cheap solar capacity to the demand cycles for energy usage.

            Save the buggy whips!

          • 0 avatar
            brandloyalty

            Probably renewables are most common in countries where electricity costs are high is simply because that is where the economics to install them first make the most sense. Yes, that implicitly agrees that renewables are, or were, expensive. Just like the early days of any new technology.

            But it cannot be denied that renewables continue to decline in cost with no bottom end in sight while the environmental, property and social costs of thermal generation become more apparent by the day. Coal is only cheap because it steals from future generations. Once we’re done with the capital costs, renewables are almost free for future generations.

            As for US cars in Europe, other than Tesla almost all of them are Chrysler products. What gives? I thought Europeans were savvy about cars and PT Cruisers were crap. Maybe it’s because GM and Ford have their own European brands while Chrysler does not. Ram pickups look even bigger over there.

          • 0 avatar
            brandloyalty

            https://uspirg.org/reports/usp/who-pays-roads

            ” The new report pulls back the veil on the “users pay” myth, finding that:

            · Gas taxes and other fees paid by drivers now cover less than half of road construction and maintenance costs nationally – down from more than 70 percent in the 1960s – with the balance coming chiefly from income, sales and property taxes and other levies on general taxpayers.

            · General taxpayers at all levels of government now subsidize highway construction and maintenance to the tune of $69 billion per year – an amount exceeding the expenditure of general tax funds to support transit, bicycling, walking and passenger rail combined.

            · Regardless of how much they drive, the average American household bears an annual financial burden of more than $1,100 in taxes and indirect costs from driving – over and above any gas taxes or other fees they pay that are connected with driving.

            “The ‘users pay’ myth is deeply ingrained in U.S. transportation policy, shaping how billions of dollars in transportation funds are raised and spent each year,” said Tony Dutzik, co-author of the report and Senior Analyst at Frontier Group, a non-profit think tank. “More and more, though, all of us are bearing the cost of transportation in our tax bills, regardless of how much we drive.”

            “We need to dispel the myth that user fees are paying for the building and maintenance of our road network. The reality is that these funds are barely covering a fraction of the cost,” said Gabe Klein, SVP of Fontinalis Partners, and former Commissioner of Transportation for Chicago and Washington, D.C. “The highest return on investment is on bike, pedestrian and transit projects,” he said.

            State and federal policies often give priority to spending on highways based on the assumption that drivers pay the cost of roads through gas taxes and user fees. The report argues that, with the nation’s transportation needs changing and general taxpayers bearing an ever-greater share of the cost of transportation, America should instead invest transportation dollars in projects that are likely to deliver the greatest benefits.

            Ordinary Americans agree. Nearly two-thirds of Americans believe it is appropriate to use gasoline tax revenue to support public transportation, according to a national study released last week by researchers at the Norman Mineta Transportation Institute. Other recent opinion polls suggest that Americans believe that the nation should give greater priority to transit, bicycling and walking in transportation spending.”

          • 0 avatar
            brandloyalty

            https://frontiergroup.org/reports/fg/who-pays-roads

  • avatar
    z9

    An indication that Tesla makes a car a decent number of people like is that the market for used and CPO cars is pretty strong. The depreciation is still significant but it will be for any expensive car. If the cars were bad, rich true believers would have purchased them and then unloaded them at fire sale prices after the honeymoon wore off. There are plenty of not-so-rich people who think a used Tesla is better than other options at the same price. These buyers aren’t getting a tax credit either. And despite the growing used market, sales of new models continue to increase.

  • avatar
    pacificpom2

    I don’t understand the angst that is being displayed here. I thought that the “tall poppy syndrome” on;y existed in Australia, the desire to bring somebody down to the low levels just because they achieved so much. Having an American company with a product that people desire or aspire too must be a source of pride, not a reason to cut them down. Like Jack said, the list of American cars/vehicles that the world desires, in this price bracket, are far and few between. Is it the fact that the world likes the product of a lone manufacturer, led by a charismatic man, more than the established manufacturers of “traditional” luxury cars? Like the article points out, Cadillacs are thin on the ground unless its a limo or hearse. Can’t even remember a Lincoln unless it was a private import. The only luxury American car sold down under in any numbers was the Chrysler 300/Dodge Magnum. line those up against the numbers of Tesla “S” and “X” that are in country should make people proud that an American product is riding high. Also, the “S” and “X” models don’t get a tax break here, in fact that are taxed higher because of the luxury car tax, no ev tax break here.
    Rejoice in this fact that once again somebody is making American products that people/the world wants.
    Disclosure: I don’t own a Tesla, but I would like a “3”. I have owned local Fords and own two “American” cars at present, an ML320 and a Fiat Freemont.

  • avatar
    TW5

    The Soviet Union built some incredible machines, but the beautiful, patriotic machines did not justify the system that brought them into existence. Despite selling weapons to everyone with a pulse, and externalizing all R&D costs onto the public, the Soviet Union still couldn’t make it. Tesla is not a communist manufacturer, but the politburos in CA and DC that sustain his company are disgusting. As long as Tesla is in bed with them, the Tesla brand will have the stench of corruption. Maybe this is a feature in Europe and China?

    The substantial issues surrounding Tesla’s organization and political strategy are more important that whatever brand we are selling overseas. No one has lost faith in America’s ability to brand. Our corporate brands are household names all over the world. People have lost faith in America’s ability to conduct itself in an ethical, sustainable fashion and to follow through on the capitalistic, market-based, consumer-driven, middle-class-sovereignty gobbilty-gook we spew from every business media orifice. Musk has offered a brand that exudes political-correctness, not a real business (as of now).

    In that way, Tesla and Musk are the downfall of America, not its resurgence.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGhost

      tylanner was right.

      “Nothing can so effectively unveil blind ideological inflexibility than someones overt contempt for Tesla…they either don’t know the facts…or don’t care to know the facts.”

      • 0 avatar
        TW5

        I don’t have contempt for Tesla. My eyes are simply open. Tesla and its government backers are using an inappropriate arrangement to externalize R&D costs.

        In an era when the world has serious questions about whether or not the US can ethically conduct itself in a capitalistic system, Musk has built a company with a questionable going concern and profit-motive.

        Intellectually-lazy attempts to preempt criticism are the work of morons who festoon themselves with superfluous (and often fake) credentials. That’s who Tylanner is apparently.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      “…the politburos in CA and DC that sustain his company”

      Please explain this money flow.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      It warms the cockles of my bleeding liberal heart when some guy goes on a “big gubmint subsidizing new technology is like the Soviet Union” rant…and uses a personal computer and the Internet to do it.

      Makes me want to put on my Birkenstocks and do a Gaia Rain Dance.

      (Here’s what you missed, TW5: the Soviet Union didn’t fail because it developed technology with government money – it failed because no one else was allowed to make anything on the stuff the government developed. Last I checked, there are thousands of companies making untold billions of dollars on all the technology our government either paid for, developed itself, or gave tax breaks to spur development of.)

      • 0 avatar
        TW5

        My mention of the Soviet Union was not to suggest an exact correlation, rather to point out that beautiful, patriotic things can be the work of an insidious organization run by incompetent people.

        Furthermore, if the US military were funding R&D (or similar a bureaucracy like NASA), the situation would be less problematic because those bureaucracies have a track record of success and a legacy of externalizing the benefits of their R&D. However, the backdoor subsidization of Tesla has very little to do with our prior methods of investing public funds in R&D. In some instances, the subsidization is in the form of new energy trading schemes, which are nothing more than an attempt by financiers and brokers to pile more grift on consumers, which provides more tax revenue to the state of California.

        The methods are inappropriate, even if Tesla is not literally an allegory for the Soviet military industrial complex. Surely, you can understand this.

  • avatar
    Frank Galvin

    Tesla Inc. – 33,000 employees (including SolarCity and Grohmann Engineering)
    Space X – 6,000 employees (all in USA)
    Open AI
    Neurolink
    The Boring Company

    250,000 global EV sales to date
    1,008 Supercharging Stations
    300,000+ SolarCity customers
    First privately funded rocket to supply the ISS
    $800 million in Powerwall sales
    Gigafactory Reno
    Gigafactory Buffalo

    Frankly, I could give two bleeps about the incentives or subsidies; the suppliers, construction trades, service personnel, installers, housing, etc, etc, are reaping the benefit of jobs and products that did not exist a decade ago.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      A MILLION TIMES THIS.

      You want some MAGA? You want some American jobs? Invest taxpayer money in new technology and it happens, just like it happened with the Internet and computers.

      Rely on “the market” to do it without taxpayer investment, and maybe it happens, maybe it doesn’t…but if it does, it happens very, very slowly. And the slower it happens, the greater the chance that the Next Big Thing ends up being manufactured in China.

      • 0 avatar
        TonyJZX

        I’m ok with govt. tipping the scales for EV space exploration and solar battery technology.

        I’m not ok with govt. subsidising fossil fuel and the military industrial complex.

  • avatar

    I have soured on Tesla mostly due to the fantasy stock valuation and the we can do tech capital as a car company thing. Add in Musks slight craziness and over promising and mix with obsessed fan boys who put apple people to shame and it just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

    Shame because I do like the idea of a new american car company and I like the model S (the 3 and the X are just too ugly for me to love). But the rest of the crap around the company is such a turnoff.

  • avatar
    Ol Shel

    I agree completely. Corporate welfare should remain exclusively for fossil fuel and weapons industries, as God intended.

  • avatar
    gottacook

    What I’m waiting for is the breakthrough in home energy (i.e., photovoltaic) storage that Tesla is working toward.

    Curtis Mathes doesn’t take a hyphen; that’s the name of the actual guy who founded the company. Evidently they’re still in business, or at least in the LED business.

  • avatar
    anomaly149

    I’m going to take different tack: Tesla produces a sub-par vehicle that would be destroyed in the market if it were not for:
    1. Elon Musk marketing it like Steve Jobs could only dream of
    2. electric vehicles virtue-signaling into the stratosphere

    You can see this in the HMI, in the system integration, in the component part quality, in the panel gaps, in the bizarre body construction, heck even down to the fact the dang frunk won’t close from the cross over point under its own weight.

    I appreciate that the Tesla is an American built car engineered in America and sold globally, with a decent fraction of American components. This is important and shouldn’t be forgotten. (the Mustang and Corvette are the only other two cars I can think of offhand with similar American pedigree and global reach) However, it’s really hard to escape the fact that both the S and X are pretty junky cars all in all. And they’re being put on a pedestal as the second coming?

    I do hope the Model 3 changes my mind, but the incompetence we’re picking up through the supplier grapevine (and the unbelievable burn-rate they have on technical employees at the moment) doesn’t make me very optimistic.

    • 0 avatar
      TonyJZX

      to be absolutely fair to Tesla, Apple and Microsoft marketing is leagues ahead of Tesla.

      Have a look at Musk’s stumbling bumbling reveal of the Model 3.

      Then compare to the way Tim Cook does things or Panos Panay.

      I think when people say they dont like the Model S or Model 3, its a part of the “I drove a Ferrari once and I hated it” thing.

      Its a part of certain people’s belief to not get on board for certain technology.

      I’m not a fan of Iphones. That doesnt mean the most valuable company in the world, ever with millions of fans isnt a legitmate techological feat.

      In fact its a feat to get people to pay $1,000 for a phone.

      Its a feat to get people to buy Teslas besides their known faults.

      Look at the Model 3 dash and interior. If that still isnt a problem for you then go right ahead… there’s 400,000 people ahead of you.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      If you look at Apple’s history (and Steve Jobs’ history as well), it’s littered with flops. Remember the Lisa, or the NeXT? Probably not.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        FreedMike, I’m no Apple fan but I do recognize that Apple has some pretty slick products. And I vote with my wallet. I buy what works for me.

        As such, I own an iPad Air and at one time we had an iPhone 5. My biggest objection to buying into the Apple line is that the company wants me to give up a ton of personal info, plus a credit card for them to keep on file.

        I think that their flops were just ahead of their time, and priced out of the reach of the great unwashed masses. I owned an Apple IIe at one time and I thought it was light years ahead of the Sinclair, Altair, TI99/4a and Commodore of those days.

        And then the Amiga came along. They were truly ahead of their time, but lack of money is what drove them under.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGhost

      anomaly,
      Your hypothesis is that to sell a $80K car, you need good marketing and to make the buyer feel better about themselves?

  • avatar
    deanst

    American cars are largely reviled or ignored in most of the world, so I can see how Tesla gives some hope for the U.S. auto industry. That being said, I have a hard time seeing Tesla become a firm similar in size and ability to the German luxury manufacturers.

  • avatar
    MoparRocker74

    Musk has to be admired for his ability to bamboozle money out of the gub-mint. As stated above, with the income levels of Tesla’s market that measly tax credit doesn’t mean squat. All of these hideous clown fart looking leafs, Priuses, volts, etc are money losers as it is and wouldn’t sell at all without that precious sprinkling of communism in the form of tax credits. Where’s my tax credit when I want a Scat Pack 392? Didn’t hear ya say that, Uncle Sam!

    The reality is, electric cars just suck if youre a gearhead. They appeal to greenies, techies and the elderly. If you fit into one of those brackets, then sure I can see the appeal. Me, I don’t even like automatic transmissions let alone glitchy electronics ruling what I drive. Sure some like the tesla are ‘fast’…so are bullet trains. So are jets. So are motorycycles. Ill put it to all those who drone on about tesla’s 1/8 mile runs that I can text a picture of my car to the finish line before ANY car can drive there…and it offers all the satisfaction of letting a teslas computer do all the heavy lifting for you.

    At the end of the day, I’m a gearhead. I want a CAR, not a mobile driving simulator. The growl of uncorked V8 Hemi will NEVER lose its appeal to me or anyone who truly loves cars. Electrics may be fast under controlled circumstances but its all about the whole hog experience. And from that perspective, electrics have literally NOTHING to offer.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGhost

      MoparRocket conveniently forgets the Chrysler bailouts during his rant against government support of automakers.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Tesla didn’t invent the Federal subsidy for EVs. Your government did that.

      Nissan’s vehicles still hold the lead for this particular tax break.

      “They appeal to greenies, techies and the elderly.” I guess you’ve never driven an EV. I’m not a greenie, typically vote “R”, and was 49 when I got my first EV (is that elderly?). Does having an Android phone make me a techie?

      I like the growl of a V8 as much as anyone, but you’d find the instant throttle response of an electric motor is pretty addictive.

  • avatar
    pmirp1

    Jack, I agree with this article and its premise. Tesla is doing what GM refused with EV1. GM had an opportunity for winning mindshare, and for ever they lost it on electric front when they gave up. Or look at Ford and how hesitant they are with hybrids compared to Toyota.

    Musk has the American stubbornness and no matter what, persists. He has already won. Electric=Tesla.

    Still, I find it ironic that you bought a Silverado made in Mexico with high non-north American content, when a product that is ranked higher (F150) with high North American content is available,.

    You talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk when it matters.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    “GM and Ford could easily go the way of Curtis-Mathes, Magnavox, and all those other invincible-looking electronics brands of the Sixties and Seventies.”

    There’s actually no hyphen in Curtis Mathes, as it was named for its founder, George Curtis Mathes Sr. His son, George Curtis Mathes Jr. was one of the 23 who died tragically in 1982, in the Air Canada Flight 797 fire:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_Canada_Flight_797

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curtis_Mathes_Corporation

  • avatar
    pb35

    Tesla’s are thick on the ground where I live. The owners that I know take the smug of Prius owners to another level. They’re also always asking me if I want to race (just so I know that they drive a Tesla). No, as a matter of fact I don’t want to race.

    Also, if you own a Tesla with the vanity plate TESLA there’s a pretty good chance we won’t be friends.


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