Musk’s Comments Add Fuel to Model S Criticism

As you very well may know, Elon Musk founded Tesla Motors in Silicon Valley about ten years ago. Shortly afterwards, he took on the role of CEO. In addition to that position, Musk currently serves as the electric car company’s head of product design. With that in mind, plus the fact that Musk has been known to be somewhat more vocal and opinionated than the traditional CEO, it’s no surprise that he had something to say when his latest product—the Model S—was criticized in a recent NY Times article.

If you haven’t read it yet, the article basically documents a Times reporter’s road trip between Washington D.C. and Boston in the Model S. Though Tesla recently installed two charging stations on the reporter’s route, which should have allowed him to make the trip with range to spare, as I’m sure you may have guessed—the reporter and the Model S didn’t make it. In fact, the trip ends with the EV strapped to a tow truck somewhere in Connecticut.

As the reporter describes the ordeal, two things become immediately apparent. For starters, despite offering bad advice on one occasion, it seems Tesla has quite the accommodating customer service team. Perhaps it was because they knew this experience was going to end up being publicized, or perhaps they thought it’s what owners expect after waiting a long time to get their hands on the Model S—but after reading this story, I thought that someday, if I ever wake up on the winning end of the lottery, I just might have to buy a Tesla. Secondly, after all this poor guy went through, it’s clear he could have been a lot more critical in the article than he actually was. If Musk didn’t respond and call the piece a “fake,” which is exactly what the billionaire CEO did—this story would have been old news by now.

While we can’t possibly comprehend the financial investment Musk has made in the Model S, his comments are more easily understood considering his emotional investment in the electric sedan. While it’s true that since its debut the Model S has won numerous awards, it has also received more than its fair share of negative publicity. During its appearance on Top Gear, the EV was shown being pushed back to the garage after its battery prematurely ran out of juice. And while owners awaited delivery of the Model S, they took to the internet up in arms every time Tesla pushed back the target date—which was often due to the frequent financial difficulties faced by the Silicon Valley company. It’s likely then, that the picture of the Model S on the tow truck published with the NY Times article was the straw that broke Musk’s back.

So while we might look at Musk’s responses to the NY Times article and find them petty and uncalled for, and while we might dislike the fact that ever since the “Top Gear BS,” Tesla now has a policy of logging data anytime a Model S is being tested by the media—on some level we understand how defensive Musk is about the Model S. Therefore, we’re hoping that after Tesla releases the data from the reporter’s trip, this will all soon be forgotten about. After all, we’d much rather Musk be working on the upcoming Model X SUV than wasting time on Twitter mounting a defense for a product that in the end—will likely speak for itself.

Sources: New York Times via Auto Blog