It would be fair to say that Tesla Motors has not had a strong relationship with television and the media over the last couple of years. While Elon Musk, the charismatic chief executive officer of Tesla, has managed to win over the motoring public, he has certainly had his hands full with the mass media. It is unclear as to why the media have taken against Tesla, why Elon Musk has become a target and why one of America's leading technology companies seems to attract such negative media comment.
So what is the new controversy surrounding the 60 Minutes Show?
It is common knowledge that one of the benefits of electric cars is the fact that they run very smoothly and they run very quietly. There is very limited engine noise and there is very limited transmission sounds, although for some reason it is alleged that the 60 Minutes Show decided to add combustion engine and transmission noises to an online video highlighting Tesla. The bizarre thing is that this was not a downbeat assessment of Tesla, this was not a direct criticism of the company but it is alleged that editorial actions added the sounds for some unknown reason.
Deflecting from the Elon Musk interview
One of the unfortunate side-effects of this "sound issue" was the fact that the interview with Elon Musk was effectively ignored. In the interview he suggested that it was possible to create a battery at this moment in time with a journey capacity of 400 miles. He readily admitted that this particular technology is too expensive at the moment but it does bode well for the future; the fact the technology is there and history tells us the price of new technology does fall in a relatively predictable pattern.
Quote from ElectricForum.com : "Despite the fact that Tesla is one of the most recognisable and technologically advanced electric vehicle manufacturers in the world, it seems that its Chinese venture will not attract any Chinese government subsidies. Many had expected the Chinese authorities to assist with the setup of the company's Far East operation but this seems to be something of a forlorn hope after "government informed" comments appeared in the media."
It was also interesting to learn that the DOE loan which Tesla received, and repaid early in full, was useful but not necessarily a lifeline for the company. The fact is, that Tesla is to all intents and purposes Elon Musk (he is the leading light) has amazing public relations skills and has pushed the company to levels many could only dream of. At the time of the DOE loan the electric vehicle market was very much in its infancy and it would have been difficult to attract that level of investment in the open market. Incidentally, not all of the environmentally friendly transport loans offered by the DOE were a success with some of the companies involved falling by the wayside.
Is there jealousy of Tesla's success?
Many in the media seem to have an agenda against Tesla Motors or perhaps this is an agenda against Elon Musk? This despite the fact that the general public seem to have welcomed the company with open arms, are very keen on the Tesla range of cars, and many cannot understand this negative coverage. Elon Musk has always attempted to do things his way; he has never been one to toe the political line which has on some occasions caused friction between the company and media groups.
However, would Tesla have been as successful if the company had toed the political line? Would the industry itself have moved on as quickly as it has in recent years? Would we even be talking about electric vehicles breaking into the mass market in the medium term?