11 Tesla FUD Claims Of Years Past

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

On a Tesla Motors Club thread, some members there recently shared a few old claims of perennial Tesla bears. It was a brilliant little move of reverse trolling, and it prompted me to do something I’ve been wanting to do for ages — dig up some old claims about Tesla from prominent bears and see how they held up.

Granted, let’s be clear — predictions are difficult, especially predictions about the future. I’ve made some incorrect forecasts, and so has probably every person in the world. That said, there are some real gems below.

Note: FUD = “fear, uncertainty, and doubt.”

For a deep dive on Tesla FUD, also see: The Tesla Smear.

1. “Add a few Model 3 specific delays and a launch date of (late) 2018-2020 becomes highly probable. Any Model 3 sale before CY 2018 or even early 2018 looks incredibly optimistic to me at this point.” — tftf (aka Tales from the Future), via techmaven. [2015]

Well, we’re approaching the end of 2018 at long last, and there are tens of thousands of Model 3s parked at homes around the United States and Canada.

2. “[Tesla] won’t be able to scale.” — Thomas Bartman, member of the Forum for Growth and Innovation, a Harvard Business School think tank studying disruptive innovation, via Harvard Business Review and Teslamondo[2015]

Shucks — we were hoping Tesla could scale. However, Tesla is only producing the 7th or 8th best selling car in the United States and a couple of top selling models in larger luxury classes. I guess that’s not yet scaling? (Don’t tell Porsche or Jaguar.) What do we need, Bartman? What do we need? Half a million cars a year? One million cars a year? Let us know.

3. “If that Autopilot changes lanes automatically at the touch of a blinker stalk by, say, one year from now, in a series Model D, I will publicly eat a Tesla baseball hat on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. How about it, Elon?” — Bertel Schmitt (aka Mr. B.S.), via Tesla Motors Club forum. [2014]

Tesla Autopilot delivered. Mr. B.S. did not eat his hat.

4. “[The Model 3] for $55,000 is not a particularly great car in our view. It might be for $27,500. But it competes against basically luxury cars at $55,000. And that’s a pretty competitive area and going to get more competitive.” — Jim Chanos, president and founder of Kynikos Associates, via Business Insider. [2018]

Really? Ya think so?

Model July 2018 July 2017 % Change
Toyota Corolla 26,754 28,333 -6%
Toyota Camry 26,311 33,827 -22%
Honda Civic 26,311 36,683 -28%
Honda Accord 24,927 30,903 -19%
Nissan Sentra 19,362 18,724 3%
Nissan Altima 16,015 22,314 -28%
Hyundai Elantra 13,753 13,287 4%
Tesla Model 3 13,500 30 44900%
Kia Optima 10,919 7,933 38%
Ford Fusion 10,822 13,886 -22%
Hyundai Sonata 9,548 10,648 -10%

5. “Folks are buying a Tesla now because they’re kind of cool, but if you’re a Tesla buyer, you have to have multiple cars.” — Steve Cannon, CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA, via Forbes & EVANNEX. [2014]

Hmm, really? I don’t understand why that would be, unless you want different Teslas for different moods.

Thanks to Bonnie Norman for sharing this picture yesterday of her new Tesla Model X and her “more experienced” Tesla Roadster, and for allowing us to share the picture here on CleanTechnica. © 2015 Bonnie Norman

6. “Elon Musk is a total fraud. … He has yet to succeed at anything but somehow spins every failure into proof of imminent success. His only accomplishment has been this decades-long Jedi mind trick,” Maureen Callahan, New York Post writer. [2018]


7. “I just don’t see anything about Tesla that gives me any confidence that that business can survive.” — Bob Lutz, former Vice Chairman of GM, via EVANNEX. [2016]

Someone get Bob some new glasses! And maybe take that cigar out of his mouth.

8. “Tesla supporters are like members of a religious cult. Just like Steve Jobs was worshiped at Apple, it’s the same way with Elon Musk, who is seen as a new visionary god who promises this phantasmagorical future, a utopia of profitability and volume. The only problem is, Steve Jobs delivered and Elon, God bless him, hasn’t delivered a thing, except increasingly negative cash flow, and an increasing lack of profitability; more and more capital spending.” — Bob Lutz, former Vice Chairman of GM, via CleanTechnica. [2016]

God bless Bob.

9. “The Model X appears to be unbuildable with those automatic gull-wing doors, which everyone in the industry always said were not going to work.” — Bob Lutz [2016]


10. “At gas at less than $2 a gallon, no [I’m not worried]. I think [the Model 3] is going to be great but today less than half of one percent of the industry are pure electric vehicles.” — Jim Lentz, while CEO of Toyota North America, via Teslamondo. [2017]

I think that EV market share figure has risen.

11. “They’ll probably come back [to Lexus]. … I think the question remains to be seen how many people will buy a second Tesla.” — Brian Smith, while VP of Marketing at Lexus, via Wards Auto & EVANNEX. [2014]


And then there were the headlines (h/t Teslamondo and CleanTechnica archives) —

NSEAVOICE headline - Nissan LEAF as Tesla KillerGoogle Results- Tesla KillerVolvo's Tesla killer - Mashable


What Now, Tesla Naysayers?

Tesla Won (… Sort Of)

Tesla Model 3 Naysayers Slammed — Old Quotes

If A Tesla Pattern Has Emerged, What Does That Mean For Model 3?

The “Tesla Killer” Myth … Is Getting Old

Stop The “Tesla Killer” Nonsense

There are surely hundreds if not thousands of noteworthy claims about the “dark future for Tesla” that could be added to this piece. Looking back at the beginning of a Tesla Motors Club thread started in 2015 on this topic, interestingly, I found several articles that were no longer live. It seems some critics or their publications have been covering their tracks from time to time.

Have a favorite or two that I didn’t include here? Drop a note and link in the comments.

Have a tip for CleanTechnica? Want to advertise? Want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Latest CleanTechnica TV Video

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it!! So, we've decided to completely nix paywalls here at CleanTechnica. But...
Like other media companies, we need reader support! If you support us, please chip in a bit monthly to help our team write, edit, and publish 15 cleantech stories a day!
Thank you!

CleanTechnica uses affiliate links. See our policy here.

Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

Zachary Shahan has 7282 posts and counting. See all posts by Zachary Shahan