Some great books of literature involve traveling down a road or up a river, and can provide great insight on human nature, such as Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness.” This novella was the basis for the movie, Apocalypse Now, where Colonel Kurtz has to be eliminated “with extreme prejudice.” Kurtz had gone mad and created his own army in this fictional story.
The movie’s cryptic themes resonate, such as who are the good guys and sound institutions as seen through Capt. Willard’s eyes.
So, with that as a background, how are certain institutions and Tesla supporters perceived in 2016? We know some of the characters: the Koch brothers and their multi-million dollar media campaign against electric vehicles; the conservative — whatever that means these days — LA Times, the short sellers at Seeking Alpha; and the tired histrionics of the old guard automotive press.
Is this real? Did Charles Koch come to work dressed as Darth Vader for Halloween? https://t.co/K2M9Jo7ykY
— Russell Gold (@russellgold) October 31, 2016
We’ve all seen the hit jobs, which portray Musk’s companies as some raging socialist entity receiving all these huge subsidies while everybody else is pure as the capitalist, driven snow. Volkswagen’s sweet dollops of government incentives for its Tennessee plant are just business for this old guard company or nevermind the fact that Tesla Motors has never gone bankrupt and bailed out like Chrysler and GM.
Musk recently acknowledged the continuous hypocrisy regarding green incentives during the last earnings call last week:
“And then – I need to maybe write a longer blog piece sort of going through this, but Tesla’s sometimes criticized for relying on kind of tax credits and that kind of thing. People really misunderstand this. What matters is, what does Tesla receive relative to its competitors? Not, what does Tesla receive in the absolute?”
And, right on cue, an article titled Behind the Myth: Has the Onetime Valley Visionary Lost His Magic? from Salon.com touched all the bases.
The piece is pure rubbish but the well-written headline does tantalize. Maybe some insights on the manufacturing ramp-up for the Model 3? Or, the very real integration challenges between Solar City and Tesla, and possible cash drain for the company?
Nope, nada. Of course, the article provides a litany of nanny-state “points” for why this fledgling automaker is still standing.
To Musk’s point, there’s no mention in the article that the federal $7,500 tax credit is capped at the first 200,000 electric vehicles or that other car manufacturers actually receive the same credits. And, for old time sake, the author cites the Department of Energy (DoE) program loan program, created by the Bush administration, and delivered to Tesla in 2010 as a point of real contention in 2016. Yep.
How about a dollop of government contracts for SpaceX as a huge conspiracy for this socialist rocket company to spread its political correctness to the universe, eh? Check.
The shit screed never mentioned that SpaceX builds its own motors and 80% of its components for its rockets and has literally upended the aerospace business model.
That could be the reason for the big contract, eh?
How about Boeing or Lockheed Martin — and United Launch Alliance — taken to task for their government contracts or $63 million in incentives from state of Illinois some 15 years ago. Ruins the narrative, I guess.
The argument from relatively sane Tesla detractors is that the media or enthusiast sites are just Tesla supporters. All these sites have reports of Musk turning everything into gold. However, Tesla does miss. Like the Model X falcon wing doors, delivery numbers and deadlines. It’s reported everywhere.
But Tesla and Elon Musk has hit from day one with the Model S. Does anybody remember the derision thrown at Musk for introducing a luxury electric car first. Mmmmmm?
CNBC missed on that one and did they ever admit their mistake? No and what do they do now? They have Bob Lutz trot out the same old tired nanny state talking points. This shit is tired.
That’s partially why the Tesla Army is on guard or the Tesla Cult is in force, to call out these these rubes and ghouls…and well-financed freaks, too. The other side of it is following a transformative company that is completely dedicated to its mission.
As my wife says, maybe it’s a “death rattle” for the old guard and thinking. Let’s hope so.