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AndrewBissell, I have a question for you.

First let me say Musk has a habit of doing big, new things that the experts and the fossil-fuels-forever gang said were absolutely impossible.

That being the case, what are your views on global climate change? Do you think it is a huge danger and it is urgent we get off fossil fuels as soon as possible? Or do you think it is the greatest hoax in the history of the human race? Or what?




The question about views on climate change is a common red herring tossed into these discussions, but let me answer it this way: If Tesla turns out to be the second and much bigger coming of Solyndra, as I think it will, it cause a huge wave of public skepticism toward investment in clean energy technology. As far as personal premium/luxury BEVs themselves are concerned, they're a piss-poor, horrendously expensive way to reduce carbon emissions, mostly sold to people of means who want to believe we can consume our way out of the carbon crisis with flashy greenwashing gestures like buying a new car every couple of years and slapping an HOV lane sticker on it. There's a reason Musk reacts with such vitriol every time someone suggests that mass transit infrastructure (or any one of a number of other public initiatives) would be a better use of the money that has gone to EV subsidies.

With the essential help of enormous government subsidies, Musk succeeded in creating a cult brand around EVs and little else. It's an achievement of celebrity and branding, not engineering or manufacturing. Which is not to take away from it necessarily, he has proved the EV concept, but he has yet to show that EVs can be financially sustainable over the long run without constant public money injections.

Meanwhile, his application of Silicon Valley management techniques to industrial manufacturing is a total disaster of scrapped alien dreadnought plans and cars being taped and zip-tied together in a tent. The machine-learning-on-wheels he calls "Autopilot" is dangerous and undercooked, and could be easily rolled out by any of Tesla's competitors if not for the fact that they have at least some scruples about beta testing their software on public roads. His impact on home solar generation has probably been net negative as Solar City was a debacle which had to be bailed out by Tesla shareholders and has been in a tailspin ever since, despite massive subsidies forked over to build the Buffalo Gigafactory by the state of New York.

If the whole point is to build a green energy future, why has Musk used Tesla as a piggy-bank to prop up his celebrity billionaire lifestyle by borrowing enormous sums against the value of his Tesla stock? It has created perverse incentives harmful to the long run health of Tesla itself. A restructuring to shed debts and shore up its balance sheet would be the best possible move they could make if the goal is to remain a viable entity replacing ICE vehicles with EVs into the indefinite future. But Musk will never do this voluntarily, because his goal is to keep the stock price propped up.


The reason I brought up the matter of global climate change is that once it was discovered it was a danger, it was also clear that the human race needed to get off ICE's and on to EV's, and do so as quickly as possible.

The problem was the EV's at the time were not remotely up to the job. Where Musk comes in is that, thanks to his brilliant efforts, we are getting there many years earlier than we would have otherwise.

The people who nonetheless are screamingly angry at Musk and Tesla seem to fall mostly into three classes. One is global climate change deniers who think we should stay on fossil fuels forever. The second is shorters who don't care if the world goes to hell, and only want to make money. The third is haters, by which I mean people who are not happy unless they have someone to spend their life hating.

My impression from your comment is that you are in the third class.


I'm tired of a sociopathic CEO who treats his employees and customers like shit, puts the driving public at risk with untested software, flogs unsustainable greenwashing scams, and gets away with blatantly defrauding the investing & taxpaying public time after time (fake solar roof tiles to push through the SCTY buyout, "$420 funding secured," 1 million self-driving robotaxis by 2020, etc) because prosecuting him would cause the price of a particular stock ticker to go down.


I want to live in your world, where benevolent megacorps don’t cheat on emissions tests, or self-validate relaxed stability planes that require additional features to avoid crashing, or turn a blind eye to overseas suicide factories.

And where the only bad person is Elon Musk.


Ah yes, the old "if you don't call out every single corporate bad actor then you also cannot call out Tesla" argument. Maybe your comment would make more sense if there were HN threads full of commenters repeating talking points from Boeing or VW execs.


No, I am not engaging in whataboutism, it is just that alleging that Elon Musk is the single worst person in the world is ludicrous. Please reread this sentence of yours:

>could be easily rolled out by any of Tesla's competitors if not for the fact that they have at least some scruples about beta testing their software on public roads.




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