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Open letter to the Haters

Discussion in 'Tesla Motors' started by epley, Nov 8, 2013.

  1. epley

    epley P85 VIN 693

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    Elon Musk has stated that his goal was to build the best car. On this very forum, there is vigorous debate over whether or not he's done it.

    But that's not really his ultimate goal: his goal, exercised through the company Tesla Motors, is to change transportation in this country. It's to move us off dependence upon a costly and limited energy source to one that is renewable so that future generations can continue to enjoy the freedom of travelling locally and long distance with convenience and on demand.

    Nikola Tesla, for whom the company was named, was a genius who also revolutionized the world with his inventions of the AC induction motor used in our Teslas, the invention of wireless transmission of energy by which I'm able to connect to all of you on my laptop, and the invention of radio (yes, Marconi stole this from him). Tesla was derided and chastised at each and every step, often by people who we think of as great inventors such as Thomas Edison. Just as Musk and Tesla are being challenged at every step by those critical of this change.

    My point here is that revolution doesn't come easy. Inertia favors the status quo, and those making money in the status quo or for whom change is unwelcome will do whatever they can to stop the change and keep things the same.

    Many of us on this Tesla Motors Forum and at the Tesla Motors Club forum may seem like crazed fan-boys in our zealous defense of Tesla Motors, but the reality is that we see the end game. We see that moving off fossil fuels has innumerable benefits, not the least of which are reducing pollution, reducing monthly bills, reducing the adverse health effects from the toxins released by combustion, reducing reliance on foreign countries, and increasing investment in American companies. Tesla's goal to populate the country with superchargers is a game-changer.

    In the early days of automobile transportation, before a national highway system and after Henry Ford killed the electric car with his moving assembly line (an innovation that also changed the world), there were no gas stations. These began to pop up as people pushed the limits of the automobile technology of the time and began taking longer and longer trips. Over 3 decades, a network was built allowing transportation between cities and across vast stretches of the United States. When Tesla is successful with its supercharger network, they will have done this very thing in under 5 years, allowing for Tesla owners the ability to traverse the country at will. It's revolutionary.

    For this and other reasons, we are zealous in our defense of the company and the amazing cars they have produced. We can see beyond the short term and realize that this is truly a revolution. Every revolution has its battles, and some of them are bloody. I fully expect Tesla to make a difference. A really positive difference in the lives of most Americans. So I will continue to defend the company against those who come onto its home turf and criticize things that don't matter to the overall goal of the revolution. I will continue to talk with anyone who will listen about how great my car is, and the company who seeks to take the difficult road to change our dependence on fossil fuels. I will continue to gladly take the jibes, stabs and slugs from people who are either too short-sighted, too weak, too self-absorbed, or too intertwined with the status quo to understand they are dragging the country down with their hatred.

    100 years ago, internal combustion engine automobiles began making their way into the homes of the average American. 100 years from now, Tesla Motors will be seen as the turning point for our automotive industry, when Tesla Motors began making cars that were a pleasure to drive, did not rely on gasoline, and could be recharged quickly at sites across the country, many of which were powered by the infinitely renewable energy of the sun.

    Discuss...
     
  2. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    +1

    Though the original EV was killed by the invention of the electric starter motor (ironically), not the production line.

    The current ICE reign is being killed by battery tech (and those that properly use it).
     
  3. SwedishAdvocate

    SwedishAdvocate Active Member

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    Personally I would call something within a 5-year timeframe an evolution (and revolutions are often negated by counter-revolutions and/or tend to otherwise end badly…). And what’s up with all the blood? No fatalities or permanent injuries yet in a Tesla! :wink: (And sadly I don’t own a car :redface: )

    But apart from that I wholeheartedly agree!

    And more power to you!

    +1
     
  4. gg_got_a_tesla

    gg_got_a_tesla Model S: VIN P65513, Model 3 Res Holder

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    Couldn't have said it better, epley. The naysaying and the shortsightedness, even if at times innocent and without any malice behind them, is very pervasive. Another recent example is the relatively-inexpensive, successful-thus-far mission to Mars by India; pretty much all of the media coverage of it has been less about the technological success and the aspirations there but predominantly about why a developing country with a large chunk of the population below the poverty line should undertake such a mission.

    I'll keep defending Tesla - I can't contemplate driving any other make (EV or ICE) ever again - and I hope that Tesla and Elon make the right moves (PR and technical) at this point to keep the haters at bay.
     
  5. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    I'm inclined to agree with most of what you say... and thank you for it.

    Where I digress a bit is here:



    While Elon/Tesla's goal is to "change the world", their game plan is to produce the best car that just happens to be electric. This is good. It means that for whatever reason you buy a Tesla, you will be helping the world towards that goal. BUT, there are those who are enamored with the car for reasons that have nothing to do with environmentalism or US jobs. Referring to those people who have legitimate concerns as "Haters" is probably a disservice. Now sure, there are trolls and haters just about anywhere you look on the Internet, but I personally feel a balanced approach is the best course of action, because zealous defenders of Tesla "no matter what" will eventually lose legitimacy. I for one am definitely rooting for Tesla's success, let there be no misunderstanding. But let's discuss both successes and issues with respectful conversation.
     
  6. bonaire

    bonaire Active Member

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    The OP has great points except one thing. Tesla owners, Elon and fans like to equate Tesla with being "the" electric car company. Far from the truth. There are dozens of EVs on the road and more to come. This is like saying all copiers are Xerox, all phones are "Ma Bell". Tesla is a proprietary concern in the landscape of EVs. It has chosen non-standard charging systems, tries to define a standard in oversized battery subsystems (hereby causing a battery "shortage") and tries to define EV "value" as being better than everyone else. To me it is very much "country club" versus "public course" in golf terms. It is nice that "he" wants to create sustainable transportation but he is doing it in a somewhat arrogant (ie. laughing at BMW's i3 on a public conference call) and exclusive (ie. you can charge at Tesla stations but you must license our tech.) manner.

    If I were Elon - I would want to be a bit more altruistic and spread my desire to help save the world by working "with" and not "kind-of" against other EV makers.

    I went to an Aspen Institute conference in the late 1990s. One session the group leader had us do was to sit in pairs and establish an "arm wrestling" position with the other person. Two by two, we did this. He gave us a single rule.... "in one minute, each winner of an armwrestle will get an imaginary $10K ... everyone go".

    What do you think happened? Some strained and stressed, trying to win over the other person with a few "wins" in the minute.

    Then slowly, we all realized that if we went limp and just oscillated back and forth together, both parties were winning this "$10K" quickly - every second or two. Basically - through cooperation and sharing, both sides of a competitive landscape win.

    Here, I think Tesla wants to win by making everyone believe they are the only EV on the road and everyone else is laughable. This is a sad state of affairs for the EV industry. All EV owners have the same opinion - get off foreign oil, get off pollution, use efficient motors rather than ICE, drive smooth and quiet, etc. But when Tesla owners and investors talk down all other EVs, then you are the country club and "we" are the public course. This karma is coming back to haunt Tesla in the form of these fires, the stock decline and eventual sales cycle flatness.

    I love EVs - but I don't love the "civil" war between the "Teslarians" and "EVeryone else".

    Like they say, a marriage is not 50/50. It is 100/100. The EV revolution should be a marriage of all makers trying to help each other win.
     
  7. SwedishAdvocate

    SwedishAdvocate Active Member

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    #7 SwedishAdvocate, Nov 8, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2013
    I agree that laughing when asked about the i3 probably wasn’t ideal. But in Elon’s defense it appears to be quite obvious that BMW severely dropped the ball on the i3 exterior design. Unfortunately IMO, that’s not a first for BMW. See for example the latest version of the 1 Series (F20), and the former 7 Series (E65). And personally I’m not a fan of the i3 dashboard either (but since there appears to be others that are – let’s call that one a wash…). So, one wonders why they deliberately gave the i3 such a sub-par design. Since the i8 i.e. on the other hand is quite the looker, they’re clearly not incompetent…

    But – and here's the main point – Tesla is IMO by far the best corporate entity to give money to in exchange for products, since [A] they are arguably the one single entity[SUP]1[/SUP] behind not only their own products, but also everything else that is fully or in part electric[SUP]2[/SUP]. And : They are the only entity that currently exists that can be fully trusted to never stop to relentlessly strive towards getting as much of the transportation sector as is physically possible over to electric propulsion as fast as possible.

    _________________________________________
    [SUP]1[/SUP]Ok. Not entirely true. The US gov. and some other governments like the Norwegian and most likely also the Japanese (Panasonic), have also been helpful.

    [SUP]2[/SUP]With the possible exception of the Fisker Karma. I don’t know enough to say though, so I could very well be completely wrong here. Regardless, though the Model S IMO clearly is the better choice – Fisker is as of now in reality no longer around.
     
  8. Grendal

    Grendal Active Member

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    You make a reasonable point, however the media is the one that creates these comparisons and conflicts. It is in their nature so they can generate more viewer interest. I think you misunderstand that Elon was not laughing at the BMW i3, he was laughing at the comparison of the i3 to the Model S. A BMW executive would do the same if someone asked in an interview whether the new Toyota RAV 4 was a threat to the M5. It is a laughable comparison. If the interviewer had asked Elon whether he was happy to see more and more EV's entering the market like the i3 then I'm sure Elon would have responded in a much more favorable manner.

    As far as the charging stations, you can try and make do with what is out there or you can go it on your own with what you know to be the future. Waiting around for the world to change would be an exercise in frustration. Tesla and Elon have decided to force change. That creates conflict but change will happen much more quickly and that is what they are after. Other manufacturers will likely join in the Supercharger network and I'm sure Tesla will charge them a fee for doing so. That would simply be a smart business move and Tesla is a publically traded business.
     
  9. Larry

    Larry Member

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    I too agree with the majority of what the OP wrote. Im one of the people that bought a Tesla because its an awesome automobile. Don't get me wrong, its a huge plus to get off the oil tit but Im on this forum and in my S because I love the car as an automobile. Would it have changed my mind to purchase it due to the 3 fires? Not one iota. I think some PR is due by the higher ups but I don't think people like me will change their minds and decrease orders because of whats happened. Most individuals looking at the S are very discerning intelligent buyers that wont be swayed by bullshit news articles from Fox and youtube videos. All you have to do is take a test drive and you are sold. On second thought maybe Tesla shouldn't have any response. Do the big boys ever say anything when their cars catch on fire?
     
  10. epley

    epley P85 VIN 693

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    << But let's discuss both successes and issues with respectful conversation.>>

    I totally agree, mknox. I think there are people out there who are losing the forest for the trees. I am not intending to refer to people with legitimate concerns or having rational discussion as "haters," but to those who sensationalize reports, utilize media in a negative way without clear or accurate background information, those who blame Tesla for x, y, or z for unclear reasons, etc. Being uniformly negative about Tesla without acknowledging the astounding task they have set for themselves is myopic and frustrating to me. The group in India related above is another example of the pull of inertia and how easy it is to criticize when the real hard work is actually in creating something new or setting a lofty goal to achieve. The world needs more people willing to stick their neck out there to achieve something spectacular!

    - - - Updated - - -

    There are lots of EV's out there, and that is good on all levels. But in order to capture the hearts and minds of the driving public, you must be able to travel long distances and refuel quickly. None of the BEV cars except Tesla can do that, and Tesla only with superchargers and battery swaps. That's the (r)evolution--creating a network that enables long distance travel with minimal refuel time, and without the use of gasoline.

    I have been in a Volt and a Leaf. I like both. The Volt is actually very nice. Chevy tackled the long distance hurdle by putting a gasoline engine in their EV to generate electricity when the battery gets low. This works well, but I like Tesla's approach more.
     
  11. bonaire

    bonaire Active Member

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    #11 bonaire, Nov 8, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2013
    Problem with the charging "solution" is this. Tesla and owners say that "SuperChargers" define the future. But, really? What future - when oil is completely out and the only way to charge is at high KW charging points? People drive Leafs, Volts, iMiEVs and 10+ other EVs now without superchargers. They charge at home, at work, at the mall, etc. Yes - I understand - putting big batteries on board offers "infrastructure on board" - but this activity on its own says "everyone else is wrong" and that is myopic. I park next to Teslas at the airport and they are using J1772 charging to recharge at maybe 6.6KW or whatever they set themselves up to do - charging for days while away. 120V charging at an airport would be fine for just about all EVs, even Teslas. Same for workplace. Same for homes, for that matter. When drivers only drive commutes of 30-50 miles a day (or some far less) then EVs do not have to have the 85kWh on board. Then, you don't have a battery shortage to worry about and build factories for. Two MS40s can be built with the same batteries as one 85 with some to spare. Isn't the point in getting more people *into* EVs and not to try to make one EV owner carry the batteries of 3-6 smaller EVs?

    I've posted elsewhere that I drive a Volt. Tesla owners scoff "it's ugly, it sucks, it doesn't go very far, it's GM, it's not big enough, it's not cool enough and of course it's not fast-enough". I say great. But it's fantastic and has earned dozens of world awards, has a five star crash rating and thus is quite capable. It is not overpowered and I don't need to race someone I don't know at some redlight somewhere so I can get a little mental rush. I wouldn't mind a little bigger car but then it wouldn't fit in my garage properly. It also would be harder to park in cities and harder to insure at a reasonable cost to me. I could have four Volts for the price of one Tesla P85+. The point is - companies that sell cheaper but solid EVs like maybe the Nissan Leaf, Chevy Spark EV and others will be the vast majority of EVs on the road as the EV landscape grows. I see Tesla planning on the Model-E with a starting price "about" $35K. That is well above what most people can or will pay for a new-style car. I want to get people who are lower-incomes into EVs. I want to see GM or Hyundai/Kia or Nissan develop the $20K EV, then the $15K EV. Getting the "masses" into EVs is critical to reach the desires and goals of what Tesla has stated their goal is. The $35K solution is just too expensive. yes, they may have a fourth generation down the road coming out of China in the form of Model C and of course, it will be a stripper in terms of features, size, quality and range. But that is what this planet wants - low-cost, efficient and primarily sustainable. I just don't know if Telsa will get there or will simply label another manufacturer's car, or buy them out - whether BYD, Kandi, etc... The market is Asia for volume but is N. America and Europe for marginable price. I wonder how many of us have run to a car dealer willing to pay 20-25% margin for a car, sticker-price, throw in all the options and be happy about it? That just sounds a little strange overall (historically, anyway).

    But as we see my analogy of golf in my prior reply - USA country clubs are starting to die off and the NGF (National Golf Foundation) is tracking course closings and memberships dropping at private clubs. It is about the public, the working man, the guy who needs the gasoline savings offered by low-priced vehicles. Right now, they get it by buying the new wave of 40mpg cars or a cheap used Honda Civic. They just aren't capable of paying the costs of EVs until they come down in price below $20K from the showroom. Until then, the EV community is a hardy bunch of hobbiests hoping their beliefs and goals will eventually be widespread. Even the government favors the wealthy for the buildout of the EV industry - the tax credits typically only support higher-income people. Make the tax credit a point-of-sale immediate rebate. That would help bring some additional life to the EV sales marketplace.

    I've spent the last few weeks working in the Bay Area and in SF in the financial district. I've seen one parked Tesla, one parked Leaf and a whole mess of ICE cars. There is a long way to go in this industry.
     
  12. GlennAlanBerry

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    @Bonaire I really don't think most Tesla owners scoff at the Chevy Volt or lower cost BEVs. These vehicles are still seen by many in the general public as "compliance cars", that are relatively expensive, have substandard styling and have limited range and/or limited performance, so they have not sold very well yet, even with Federal and State tax incentives. Range-anxiety, and fears about the longevity and replacement cost of the battery (which are exaggerated and fueled by the media) are still a big issue for many people. I really want to see more PHEVs and BEVs sold period, to create demand for more charging infrastructure.

    I think that Elon set out to build the best car possible, in terms of performance, high technology features, and styling, to make people really want a Tesla, regardless of the fact that it is all electric. Putting a large battery in it, with a high-performance motor helps get around the performance and range-anxiety issues. Putting in the SuperCharger network and making battery-swapping available helps overcome the proverbial road-trip objection to BEVs. The admittedly expensive Model S paves the way for the more mass-market Gen III by helping to pay for the R&D and the charging infrastructure.

    In terms of the haters (of BEVs), I see three main categories:

    1. Low information or politically-motivated people who are against BEVs because they are seen as something being pushed by the government that somehow threatens their freedom to buy an ICE vehicle
    2. People who have a vested interest in the ICE status-quo, such as auto makers, auto dealers, auto maintenance companies, the oil industry, etc.
    3. People who have a vested interest in TSLA stock going down because they have short positions in TSLA

    With all of these external enemies, I hate to see the PHEV and BEV community squabbling for no good reason. I think we are all on the same side, really.
     
  13. Grendal

    Grendal Active Member

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    @Bonaire I've argued the Volt with EV purists in the past. The Volt is a spectacular vehicle. It is an excellent transition vehicle to teach the general public the strengths of what an EV can do. It allows someone to have an EV while having the safety and security of the technology they are used to. Besides that, it is just a great car which is why it has a huge customer satisfaction rating.

    If other companies such as GM, Ford, or Nissan wants to use the Supercharger network, the first step would be for them to actually ask Tesla whether they can use it. The second thing would be to modify their cars to allow them to use a Supercharger. Then those companies would need to supply a adapter, like Tesla has done for their cars, that allows you to get a charge from the network. Until any of that happens, it's hard to blame Tesla for the other companies unwillingness to "play nice."
     
  14. mrman3k

    mrman3k Member

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    Revolutionizing industries is not for the faint of heart.
     
  15. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    Bonaire you make good points and it is certainly true that most car trips are under 100 miles roundtrip and that is why there will always be a place for low-range lower-cost EVs. But most people don't want their only car to be range limited. Tesla set out to build the first EV that is not range limited and their Supercharger network and the large batteries they use makes that goal a reality.
    Tesla's objective is to build a mass market EV with long range that can serve as someone's only car. I think they will achieve that goal because battery technology and capability continues to improve and Tesla has the experience and expertise to build outstanding vehicles. I'm sure other manufactures will offer EVs to compete with Tesla. Whether they will be able to compete successfully remains to be seen...
     
  16. neroden

    neroden Happy Model S Owner

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    Recall the experience of the car companies of the 19th century and the 1900-1930 period. Which ones were successful? The ones which started at the top of the market.

    Elon Musk *had* to start at the top of the car market and work his way down because he was starting a new company. Starting at the bottom of the market for a new company does not work. A large, established company can do it; a startup can't.

    Nothing wrong with the big companies' electric cars, except that they only started selling their current electric cars in RESPONSE to Tesla. Elon Musk has been asked more than once what he will do if Tesla is outcompeted by other electric cars, and although he hemmed and hawed a bit, basically it's clear that he would consider this to be a success; his goal is for electric cars to eliminate gas cars, period.
     
  17. Mario Kadastik

    Mario Kadastik Active Member

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    #17 Mario Kadastik, Nov 10, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 6, 2014
    I for one am probably one of the people who scoffs on the other EVs and with good reason I think. What I see around here (not Tesla core market, but ******** of Leafs, MiEVs etc due to extensive incentives) is that people have developed a very concrete opinion on EVs because of what they see on the market:

    1) they are ugly and will always be ugly because EVs cannot be built good looking
    2) the range is enough only to drive in the city. Visiting parents/grandparents at the countryside is out of the question

    Now Estonia did a major move to alleviate #2 by building a charging grid that has a charger every 50-60 km (ca 30-40 miles) that is capable of Type-II 22kW or CHAdeMO charging and that is allowing people to do a bit better, but I have plenty of friends that have tried the cars out by renting a Leaf or a MiEV and while it's quite ok in the city, the attempts they've made to reach grand parents living 100km away have required 3 recharges on the total trip. I myself rented a Leaf for 24h when I sold my Evo X in anticipation of the Model S arrival in a few months and while the torque etc was there and it was hence quite decent city car, the moment I hit the highway (I live 3 km out of town) and sped to 110km/h (ca 65 mph) the range started to drop 3 km for every 1km driven. With that I could only go ca 30-40km.

    So the range anxiety is for real and a lot of people live outside of town and work in-town. Even for just in-town driving I drove in the town one saturday to take my wife to school, picked up my granny to go shopping and to the cemetery, drove home and in the evening drove back to pick up my wife and come home. That took a total of ca 75-80km of driving and I had to recharge for 30 minutes while shopping or I'd not have made it. This is crazy short range and the Leaf is one of the longest range cars.

    Oh and they are ugly :(

    Since I publicly said I'd be buying one of the first Model S's in Estonia I've been asked many times by people I know and I don't know about the car and the questions are always the same that spur from the misconceptions created by the compliance vehicles. There are tons of news about how the cars aren't really drivable in Estonian winter (-10..-30C) because the heating reduces the range to peanuts and even with heating at maximum you can hardly ever get to a decent temperature because they are underpowered.

    We need a Model S to start showing people that EV is a viable option, we need to break the tabus first and introduce mass cars later. Until we do people will never adopt the EV as their SOLE car and what good does it do that some people have a second car as EV just for the fun of it. What we need is people to adopt EV as their only car. And to be honest even though I only need to travel > 100km a day ca once a week (during weekend) that's enough that I'd never consider buying anything below the 60-85kWh model. I chose the 85 kWh model mostly because I wanted even in the winter to be able to travel to the next biggest town and back without charging or at worst doing a 20-30 min charge total. And I have probably to take a teaching obligation that makes me drive this 240 mile round trip weekly.

    So yes, Elon needed to prove that EVs are viable good cars and that's what Model S has done. I don't mind competition, but I do hate idiotic competition that screws with peoples perceptions of EVs and the MiEVs and Leafs sadly are doing that.
     
  18. WarpedOne

    WarpedOne Supreme Premier

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    You laid it out so much better than I ever could.
     
  19. Botbldr45

    Botbldr45 Member

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    Great "point- counter point" discussion. I thank Bonaire for his initial ideas the others for expressing rebuttal. I agree with Bonaire that the masses need an inexpensive EV. I also believe that a company starting up with a 20k EV that can get you to grandmas house is fantasy .... at present.

    Battery technology and large scale development will only happen when a market exists that will drive it. Bonfires dream of generaily affordable long distance inexpensive EVs will probably become a reality when the midpriced GenIII becomes a success, demand becomes undeniable, and battery development allows it to occur. I am sorry Bonaire believes Tesla to be a country club populated by elitists but building two or three Leafs from resources of one Ms will not change the media induced image of EV 's as impractical. It is the MS driving to Boston from DC using superchargers like gas stations that will do that. Sure the three classes of "haters" outlined above will "hate" Tesla for it ....... but they and the public will see the possiblity....... Regardless of Fox News .......... And that's the need, change the perception.

    I celebrate all EVs, the good, the bad and the ugly. It just appears to me that the good, no matter what the cost and development pains will allow the masses to start seeing the ugly as a reasonable option to the ICE.

    Just my $0.02!
     
  20. Krugerrand

    Krugerrand Active Member

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    Bonaire; very enlightening wrestling story, however, you might want to not single out Tesla and consider having a talk with NADA, the states of Texas, Virginia, New York, Mass, North Carolina (and any other I've missed), several Politicians (I can give you a list of names to get you started if you need), a number of news media (again, if you need a list I can provide that), other car manufactures, oil/gas industry people/companies, many on Wall Street, and the segment of the general population, who enjoy either being purposefully ignorant, or all about themselves and unwilling to consider what's best for all us.

    It works both ways, and I get the distinct impression that despite your talk of cooperation you're only seeing the situation from your side of the wrestling table. As an example, you mentioned Elon Musk laughing about the BMW i3. What really happened is that the 'other guy in the room' laughed first, which in turn caused Elon Musk to chuckle. Elon Musk then went on to give props to BMW i3 for their effort, though he felt improvement could be made. I'd bet my own money that if BMW approached Tesla for help, that Elon Musk would help without hesitation.

    So many people only remember the part of history that suits their perspective. You want to remember that SuperChargers are proprietary to Tesla, but you don't want to remember that they charger faster than anything else on this planet, that their purpose is to show the world that EVs can go long distances and not inconvenience people, that Tesla has already offered to work with others in their use, that Tesla offers them for free, for life, to Model S owners and that they'll eventually all be powered by the sun - thereby starting another revolution in the fuel industry and changing everything.

    You say Elon Musk needs to be more altruistic. And I say, with all due respect, you don't know what you're talking about. Holding Elon Musk to a standard of higher altruism than everyone else on the planet is, at the very least, entirely unfair and at worst I'm not allowed to say here.
     

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