Why does he get a free pass when no one else does?
A lot of people love Elon Musk. He's responsible for the mass-production of the EV, which forced other manufacturers to finally pull up their socks to compete. He sends people and cargo into space for a fraction of the price NASA charged. He also makes solar panels, set up a network of fast chargers, and he gave the world PayPal. All of these stellar achievements will ensure his name goes down in history as one of the all-time greats.
But what about the BS? The blatant nonsense he constantly feeds to hungry press outlets and the so-called Teslarati? The several broken promises. The unfortunate "pedo" tweeting incident, after which you'd think someone in the PR department would take his phone away.
We've covered Elon Musk for several years. Since way back in the day when he announced his SEXY car strategy. "Odd," we thought, but all geniuses are in some way. But we've had enough. The stupid dancing robot was the last piece of straw on an old camel's back. Any other CEO would have joined the unemployment line by now.
Why does Elon get away with so much? Is it because we've lost the ability to think critically? In other words, look at a subject objectively from various angles before formulating your very own opinion on it. Unfortunately, critical thinking is in short supply these days, and the best example I can think of is how easily we give Elon Musk the benefit of the doubt.
Before someone starts typing another tirade against CarBuzz, I'd like to invite you to read our reviews on Tesla products and their competitors. I'm a big fan of the Tesla Model S Plaid. I honestly believe it is the new S-Class of the automotive industry. For decades we looked at the S-Class to see what would happen ten or twenty years down the road, but now we look at the Plaid to get some idea of what this electrified future will hold. Apart from the stupid yoke steering wheel, naturally.
Still, that stupid dancing robot is unforgivable. It has a cringe factor I don't think I've ever felt before. I imagine it's like watching The Wolf of Wall Street with your parents. The first rendering of the robot was promising, but then some person in an ill-fitting suit got up on stage and started dancing. It looked like a Power Ranger ordered from Alibaba.
This brought back memories of all the unfulfilled promises, ridiculous yet awesome-sounding ideas, and product presentations that continuously go wrong. Who can forget the Cybertruck demonstration? A supposedly bulletproof car was easily defeated by a man throwing a metal ball at it. I'm so sick of all the BS, despite knowing the Tesla fanatics will most likely fill up my Twitter feed with great vengeance and furious anger. Good luck to you. I haven't been on Twitter in years. It's where good ideas and reasonable debate go to die a painful death.
Let's list all the BS out there, shall we?
Let's clear the air. Your Tesla can't drive itself. Even Tesla has a (small) disclaimer on its website stating so. But still, you have idiots getting in the back seat on the highway. Usually, I'd chuckle and thank Darwin, but these irresponsible idiots are hazardous to other road users.
According to most experts, fully autonomous vehicles are decades away. Even if it is possible to build a car that can drive itself, no legislation allows it. Creating this legislation will require more than just lawyers. It will require politicians, automotive executives, lawyers, and philosophers.
Allow me to create a scenario to illustrate the problem. Your Tesla is happily driving along when suddenly an irresponsible driver comes barreling down on it. A head-on collision is inevitable, so the car will have to swerve right or left. On the left side, there is a tree. If it goes that way, it will hurt you, the owner. On the right side is a crowd of kids waiting for a bus. Kids are squishier than trees, so the chances of the owner getting hurt are less. Which side should it go to? And who makes that decision? Who's liable for the damage?
Back in 2016, he promised fully autonomous taxis that would take you cross country. Then he promised a million RoboTaxis on the roads by 2020. It's 2021, and I haven't seen a single one. My second favorite was the recent promise that Tesla is exceptionally close to building a completely autonomous vehicle. Stock prices jumped by 43% in one day, though no one thought to ask how the sudden jump from Level Two to Level Five autonomy could happen so quickly.
And what happened to the Tesla Roadster? Revealed back in 2017, we only receive the slightest of updates every few months. Tesla claimed a 0-60 mph time of 1.9 seconds. In addition, you could order it with a SpaceX Package with cold air thrusters. It has been moved below the Cybertruck on the list of priorities, and we all know how that's been going. You can still pay Tesla some money and reserve one, however.
Other undelivered promises include the Tesla Semi, battery swapping for the Model S, and that snake-like intelligent charger.
Let's move on to the Cybertruck. It made its (in)famous debut in 2019, with deliveries scheduled to happen in 2021. But the factory meant to build them is still under construction, and we still don't know how the truck could pass US safety legislation. That's apart from the dismal product presentation where Elon himself smashed the supposedly bulletproof windows with a metal ball. Still, people were more than happy to pay a reservation fee, netting Tesla a rather neat $79 billion.
What I find most satisfying of all is Ford getting there first. Tesla used an F-150 to demonstrate the Cybertruck's impressive pulling power. Anybody who knows anything about cars knows that Tesla cheated in that famous video, yet Ford must have been angry. And the result of that ire is the F-150 Lightning.
Since 2006, Tesla has promised an electric vehicle for the average American. It would sell for around $35,000 and finally bring electric cars to the masses. To be fair, the Model 3 was briefly available at around $35,000 but only for a very short period. It wasn't around for long enough to make any meaningful impact, or for the masses to take advantage.
The problem is, every time Tesla promises something like this, stock prices soar. And then nothing happens, and we let it slide by. While waiting for Tesla to fulfill that promise, Mini introduced an EV below that price point. The Mini SE is far from perfect, but let's not forget that a legacy manufacturer got there first.
All we have now is more promises of a $25,000 Tesla fully autonomous small car, and a van.
Sorry, Teslarati. Hate to be the one to break it to you, but just about everyone is starting to catch up. Lucid Air recently became the first EV manufacturer to get an EPA-confirmed all-electric driving range above 500 miles. It happened the same week the first Rivian R1T rolled off the factory floor, making it the first mass producer of an electric pickup truck.
The go-to argument has always been range, and it's still true. Tesla remains, for the most part, the leader. But competitors are inching closer. Hyundai's Ioniq 5 is a prime example. Around 300 miles of driving range, but coupled with acceptable, repeatable build quality. The same goes for the Ford Mustang Mach-E. What it lacks in driving range, it makes up for by being a solid, well-built product.
Finally, the recent merger between Rimac and Bugatti. Porsche also happens to own a stake. What happens once Rimac's battery tech starts filtering through the VAG group. One of the oldest manufacturers with the latest battery tech? Sure, keep on believing nobody can catch Tesla.
My final criticism is the stupid robot presentation. Once again, the experts say that we're years away from having robot servants, yet Musk parades a dancer in an ill-fitting suit in front of a crowd, and he's hailed as a hero. Tesla stock goes up as a result.
As a journalist, I could not believe how easily the mass media bought into this ridiculous concept without asking any questions. Seriously? A man was dancing around in a suit. Why did nobody raise their hands and go, "WTF?"
I'm not suggesting Elon Musk retire from his various enterprises, but we need to stop gargling up all of this obvious BS. We need to start asking the tough questions and not just believe everything he feeds us.
Every other CEO gets roasted when they do something ridiculous. When Bezos shot his penis into the sky, the media came down on him hard for spending so much on a hobby. Whenever Mark Zuckerberg opens his mouth, the internet is flooded with alien memes. Bill Gates is spying on us via the Covid-19 vaccine.
Why does Musk get a pass?