YES, ELON MUSK’S TWEETS ARE STUPID. THE OPPOSITION TO ELECTRIC CARS IS WORSE
Visitor Contributor: Hamish McKenzie*
When, initially of 2014, Elon Musk employed me to be a author on Tesla’s communications group, I already knew he might be a tough and demanding boss. By that time, the engineer-executive had already been in very public fights with Tesla’s unique chief govt officer, his first ex-wife, the TV present High Gear, and George Clooney, to call just a few. However I used to be nonetheless excited. Whereas Musk’s character might definitely be a distraction, I used to be extra within the aim he got down to obtain: ending our collective dependence on fossil fuels.
*This text involves us courtesy of EVANNEX (which additionally makes aftermarket Tesla equipment). Authored by Hamish McKenzie. The opinions expressed in these articles will not be essentially our personal at InsideEVs.
Above: Tesla CEO Elon Musk (Picture: ARK Make investments)
I left the electrical automotive firm after simply 15 months, and my communications with Musk since then haven’t all the time been amicable. It has typically been tempting to affix these celebrating his latest public embarrassments – I believe we will confidently state that he’s the one govt to have achieved the uncommon trifecta of getting sued over a tweet, calling a British cave-diver a “pedo,” and smoking a joint throughout an on-camera interview. And now he’s in scorching water once more with the SEC over one other tweet. However my primary place hasn’t modified since 2014. We must always hope he succeeds.
You will need to maintain Musk to account as an employer and enterprise chief, however it might be a mistake to focus a lot on his private antics that we ignore the extra essential story of how a system of entrenched company pursuits has fought to protect the dominance of gasoline-burning motor automobiles. Fossil-fuel corporations and lobbyists, taxpayer-supported automakers, vehicle sellers which have been propped up by outdated laws, and short-sighted politicians have for many years hampered the widespread adoption of fresh power normally and electrical automobiles specifically.
Within the midterm elections, to take a latest instance, fossil fuel-funded teams spent tens of tens of millions of to kill pro-clean power measures that had been on the poll in Washington (a carbon tax), Arizona (a renewable power mandate), and Colorado (fracking limits). On the identical time, the Trump Administration is trying to roll again California’s car emissions rules, which encourage the adoption of electrical automobiles. Such efforts echo the Bush Administration’s help in 2002 for a Basic Motors and Daimler Chrysler lawsuit that additionally sought to neuter the state’s car emissions mandate.
In the meantime, auto sellers associations have tried to make use of legal guidelines written within the 1920s and 1930s, initially designed to forestall producers from exploiting sellers in a time of oversupply, to dam Tesla from promoting its automobiles on to shoppers. The sellers have succeeded in a number of states, together with Connecticut, Texas, and Michigan, the place Tesla’s shops can serve solely as “training venues”. Surveys in 2014 and 2016 by Shopper Stories and the Sierra Membership discovered that sellers lacked complete information of electrical automobiles and in some circumstances actively discouraged their buy.
Above: A glance inside one in every of Tesla’s company-owned shops (Picture: InsideEVs)
In 2016 and 2017, Huge Oil brothers Charles and David Koch, among the many richest folks to have ever graced Earth, funded a marketing campaign known as “Fueling U.S. Ahead” that attacked the federal tax credit given to zero-emissions automobiles as a “large switch of wealth from poor to wealthy” and misleadingly claimed that electrical automobiles had been secretly unhealthy for the atmosphere due to the supplies used to construct them. Additionally in 2016, there appeared two web sites that characterised Musk as a billionaire playboy residing giant on taxpayer cash. One, known as WhoIsElonMusk.com (not energetic), featured their protagonist in a video titled “American Swindler: The Elon Musk Story”. The opposite, supported by conservative speak present host Laura Ingraham, was known as StopElonFromFailingAgain.com. The websites had been created by teams that known as themselves the Middle for Enterprise and Accountable Authorities and Residents for the Republic, neither of which disclosed their funding sources.
It’s actions like these, greater than Musk’s tweets, that warrant coordinated opposition. If the U.S. is unable to abate the anti-clean power advanced, the nation will cede floor to China, which is investing aggressively in clear power innovation, it’ll put extra lives in danger due to unaddressed local weather change, and it’ll miss out on the most important financial alternative since 1859, when industrialists first struck oil in Pennsylvania.
As the one electrical automotive firm exterior China promoting the automobiles in important volumes, Tesla has an important function in reworking America’s power economic system, a process that the Intergovernmental Panel on Local weather Change’s newest report emphasised is just not elective. However Tesla remains to be susceptible, with fragile funds and limitations to clear earlier than it may possibly turn out to be a longtime mass-manufacturer.
Towards this backdrop, the opponents of fresh power would love nothing greater than for everybody to be misplaced in an countless debate about Musk’s private foibles. Let’s not get distracted.
*Hamish is a journalist and the creator of Insane Mode: How Elon Musk’s Tesla Sparked an Electrical Revolution to Finish the Age of Oil, a guide concerning the transition to electrical automobiles and a clear power economic system. He was employed by Elon Musk and labored for Tesla in 2014/15 earlier than leaving to write down the guide, and now he’s one of many founders of Substack, a subscription publishing platform. He’s from New Zealand initially however lives in San Francisco.
*Editor’s Observe: EVANNEX, which additionally sells aftermarket gear for Teslas, has kindly allowed us to share a few of its content material with our readers, freed from cost. Our thanks exit to EVANNEX. Take a look at the location right here.