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. 
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. 
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. 
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. 
Really? Ya think so?
|Model||July 2018||July 2017||% Change|
|Tesla Model 3||13,500||30||44900%|
Hmm, really? I don’t understand why that would be, unless you want different Teslas for different moods.
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. 
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. 
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. 
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 
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. 
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. 
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.