Elon Musk and Top Tesla Exec Stage Angry Man Speaking Tour

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
elon musk and top tesla exec stage angry man speaking tour

The dialogue from Tesla wasn’t all rainbows and puppies this week.

In oddly coordinated diatribes, CEO Elon Musk and his vice-president of business development took off the soft driving gloves and laid into their competition and the country’s regulators. The message? Put up, pay up, or shut up.

At a Michigan industry conference on Tuesday, Diarmuid O’Connell raked other automakers over the coals for not building enough electric cars. And the ones they do build? Nothing but “kitchen appliances,” he said, according to Forbes. Too small of a range, and to high a price, he added. That adds up to very few vehicles sold.

“The industry is not even trying,” O’Connell said.

O’Connell then slammed the Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board for not updating their regulations to force automakers to develop more zero emissions vehicles. (California law calls for 15 percent of its fleet to be ZEV by 2025, and automakers who fall short with their product line must buy credits to offset the thirsty fleets.)

Naturally, the rest of the industry picked up the glove and slapped back, arguing that consumers should drive the market, not regulators. “Fuel efficiency is important, but at a price people can afford,” said Wesley Lutz, a representative from the National Automobile Dealers Association.

Fast-forward one day, and Tesla’s CEO launched into a similar tirade during an earnings call. Musk wants CARB’s emissions credits program overhauled, because he feels the regulations aren’t spurring EV sales.

“The California Air Resources Board is being incredibly weak in its application of ZEV credits,” Musk said, according to Bloomberg. “The standards are pathetically low. They need to be increased. There’s massive lobbying by the big car companies from increasing the ZEV credit mandate, which they absolutely damn well should. CARB should damn well be ashamed of themselves.”

What’s going on here? Is this legitimate anger we’re seeing, or just grandstanding and PR? Some might say that Tesla’s soapbox is so high, it can’t see the 200-mile Chevrolet Bolt EV that will launch a year before Tesla’s first affordable electric, the Model 3. Other automakers, including Ford, Nissan and Hyundai, are also preparing 200-plus-mile EVs for launch within a couple of years.

It sounds like Tesla’s EV for the masses will have competition when it arrives. As it stands now, the cheapest Tesla is the newly downgraded Model S 60 that retails for $66,000 (before government incentives).

The EPA, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and CARB are in the midst of a review of their 2025 fuel economy targets. In a preliminary technical report, the agencies said automakers made great technological strides towards achieving the corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) goal of 54.5 miles per gallon. To reach the goal, the agencies claim only two to three percent of the country’s fleet would need to be electric by 2025.

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  • JD321 JD321 on Aug 07, 2016

    The political terrorists are not going to continue their fatwa against the ICE automobile until after the slaves vote for their Masters in November. The circus barker Musk wants them to step up the pace in order for Tesla to survive. It's that simple...Only stupid people don't understand this.

    • See 1 previous
    • VoGo VoGo on Aug 07, 2016

      A JD321-to-English dictionary of common terms: - political terrorist = someone with opinions different from my own - fatwa = posts - slaves = voters - the Masters = leaders of the political party I do not support - circus barker = CEO - stupid people = everyone not friends with me, i.e., everyone

  • JD23 JD23 on Aug 07, 2016

    JD321 and I are not the same person.

  • SCE to AUX A plug-in hybrid requires two fuels to realize the benefit of having that design. This is where the Volt fell down.It could be either:[list][*]A very short-range EV[/*][*]A long-range ICE with mediocre fuel economy[/*][*]An excellent mid-range vehicle that required both a plug and gasoline.[/*][/list]If you wanted a short-range EV you got a Leaf (like I did). If you wanted a long-range car with good fuel economy, you got a Civic/Elantra/Cruze/Corolla. In my case, we also had an Optima Hybrid.I'd personally rather have a single-fuel vehicle - either gas/hybrid or electric - rather than combine the complexity and cost of both into one vehicle.
  • Bobbysirhan The Pulitzer Center that collaborated with PBS in 'reporting' this story is behind the 1619 Project.
  • Bobbysirhan Engines are important.
  • Hunter Ah California. They've been praying for water for years, and now that it's here they don't know what to do with it.
  • FreedMike I think this illustrates a bit of Truth About PHEVs: it's hard to see where they "fit." On paper, they make sense because they're the "best of both worlds." Yes, if you commute 20-30 miles a day, you can generally make it on electric power only, and yes, if you're on a 500-mile road trip, you don't have to worry about range. But what percentage of buyers has a 20-mile commute, or takes 500-mile road trips? Meanwhile, PHEVs are more expensive than hybrids, and generally don't offer the performance of a BEV (though the RAV4 PHEV is a first class sleeper). Seems this propulsion type "works" for a fairly narrow slice of buyers, which explains why PHEV sales haven't been all that great. Speaking for my own situation only, assuming I had a place to plug in every night, and wanted something that ran on as little gas as possible, I'd just "go electric" - I'm a speed nut, and when it comes to going fast, EVs are awfully hard to beat. If I was into hypermiling, I'd just go with a hybrid. Of course, your situation might vary, and if a PHEV fits it, then by all means, buy one. But the market failure of PHEVs tells me they don't really fit a lot of buyers' situations. Perhaps that will change as charging infrastructure gets built out, but I just don't see a lot of growth in PHEVs.