Elon in Automotive

Elon Musk, some people will have you believe, is both conniving and stupid in equal parts.

Elon Musk, some people will have you believe, is both conniving and stupid in equal parts. Which seems to be an odd combination. Generally someone who is clever enough to be deviously clever is too clever to be dumb.

As evidence of the first, they point to a battery swap station that Tesla established in Harris Ranch, California, which is all-but unused. BUT. . .it allows Tesla to collect ZEV credits that it can then sell to other OEMs who are in need of them.

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Photo: JD Lasica

And as for the dumbness, it turns out that with the announcement of the Tesla Model X, some people are shifting their orders from the more-expensive Model S to get the forthcoming all-new vehicle. (A somewhat related speculation regarding Tesla is that once companies like Audi and Mercedes get into the electric vehicles, Musk and Tesla are going to be left by the side of the proverbial road.)

While I am certainly not in favor of untoward shenanigans, and while I am not 100% convinced that the ploy is nothing but mendacious, it does occur to me that if we go back to the early days of the auto industry, the likes of Henry Ford, the Dodge Brothers, John D. Rockefeller, and other pioneers bent the rules in order to establish the industry and the infrastructure that we know today. While we might like to think that they were all, one and all, straight arrows, that simply wasn’t the case.

So while some have questioned the legitimacy or credibility of Tesla as a “car company,” is what is claimed about Musk in this regard is true, then certainly he is a true heir to those who created what he is advancing.

As for the issue about people ordering the X rather than the S: this is simply what tends to happen in any case when there are new, desirable products.

Presumably the sales of the Apple iPhone 5 did less well than they had before the iPhone 6 was officially announced. (Although one could make the counter argument that Apple was able to make more on the 6 than on the 5 and that Tesla will make less on the X than on the S. So if we follow this logic, then it seems that the only thing that Tesla could do is continue to create more and more expensive vehicles. Sure.)

Which leads to another consideration about Tesla:

Isn’t it cool that an advanced, technological suite of automotive products, products that are admired the world over by people in the auto industry as well as by regular people, come from an American company and not from Germany or Japan?