Here’s the dynamic that explains Musk’s Twitter outburst: Tesla is clearly struggling to reach production levels that will justify its valuation. Musk has no facts with which to counter the media reports, and it is illegal for him to lie about these numbers. (Hype is one thing; lying to investors is another.) His Orwellian solution is to convince Tesla fans that what they are reading is not true. The stakes are high. Tesla’s $1 billion-per-quarter burn rate makes it very likely that the company will need to raise a couple billion dollars in the fourth quarter of this year.
Musk literally cannot afford for investors to believe a negative storyline. Only his optimistic, visionary narrative will convince potential investors that Tesla is a good bet, rather than a bubble preparing to pop.
Nothing is more dangerous than criticizing Elon Musk, but the cold and harsh facts laid out in this article are very difficult to argue with, other than appealing to some vague sense of Musk wanting to help the planet or whatever, as if that negates Tesla rapidly running out of money and never meeting expectations or failing to keep its promises. We should all want Tesla to succeed, but the recent outbursts from Musk do not bode well for the future of the company.
Twitter randos who could never afford a Tesla might be easily swayed by Musk’s Trumpian “boohoo the press hates me” nonsense, but the kinds of billion dollar investors Tesla needs will see right through it.
Regardless of the motivations behind it, the media still deserves all the criticism it’s receiving. The press’s coordinated counter-attack against Musk is just a reconfirmation of the poor state of journalism these days. That said, it does seem like there’s more going on here than meets the eye. Musk is very PR savvy and making an uncharacteristic move like this definitely makes it seem like there’s a hidden ulterior motive behind all of it.
Edited 2018-05-30 16:15 UTC