Streetwise Professor

August 27, 2019

“HE’S FULL OF SHIT”: You Read It Here First

Filed under: Climate Change,Economics,Tesla — cpirrong @ 5:50 pm

Three guesses as to who “he” is. First two don’t count.

Vanity Fair has a long article, with a title starting with the quote in the title of this post, showing that Elon Musk’s solar roof in particular, and its solar business in general, is a fraud. The article also shows that Elon engineered Tesla’s purchase of Solar City to prevent it from going belly up, and thereby torpedoing Elon’s reputation as a genius.

Which is exactly what I said on the very day the deal was announced three years ago.

I’ve been calling BS on Elon since May, 2013. Nice to see people are finally catching up.

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  1. Well, now that Bethany McLean has deemed Solar City a boondoggle and Tesla’s purchase of it a sham to protect Elon’s glorious reputation, it’s OK for the mainstream media to pile on.

    Comment by Tom Kirkendall — August 27, 2019 @ 6:21 pm

  2. I started following you in 2015 after Solar City discovered my resume and called me in for an interview. In researching more about the company I discovered your blog and while I was suspicious of companies that live off government subsides, you turned me distinctly anti-Elon Musk quickly. I recently joined twitter, not because I have anything to say, but because I now follow the TSLAQ community. Most of TSLAQ didn’t jump on board until the Solar City – Tesla merger, you were on that train long before. If the merger didn’t catch them it was the doxxing and shut down of Montana Skeptic (the “father” of TSLAQ). Don’t worry professor, this is one follower who knows who the real Father of TSLAQ is. I’ve kept an eye on your blog ever since and not just for anti-Musk fixes. Got your back bro!

    Also, I have no problem with Montana Skeptic, he’s great and I listen to him anytime I can. Just to make that clear. I think anyone who opposes this absolute fraud Elon Musk is a good thing.

    Comment by Daniel Rust — August 27, 2019 @ 6:28 pm

  3. I’d never heard of Elcon Busk until the last three or four years. But I will claim that I immediately thought it obvious that he was a fraud.

    By the way, oh blogger, I find I can be a bit inaccurate about the passage of time. (Age, you know.) If I started commenting on your blog earlier than “the last three or four years” please tell me so, and I’ll, uh, recalibrate.

    Comment by dearieme — August 28, 2019 @ 6:32 am

  4. @Daniel–Thanks for the props. Much appreciated.

    I have carried out a fair share of drive-bys on Elon since 2013 😉 but Montana Skeptic and Tesla Charts and others have do the hard day-in, day-out work of documenting Elon’s mendacity. I’m glad to be in their company and to the extent I helped get the ball rolling I think I’ve done a service.

    And yes, what I found distasteful at the start was his grifting the government, i.e., us. I despise rent seekers. That’s what led me to dig a little deeper, which made me aware of his chicanery and his fabulism. What really grated on me was his playing the tech genius and business mastermind when his true genius was at extracting rents.

    Glad to have you on board!

    Comment by cpirrong — August 28, 2019 @ 9:10 pm

  5. SWP– In June 2016, you wrote a post about Elon that said: “One key tell of that is that whenever people start expressing doubts about Tesla, Musk has some grandiose announcement about the next new big thing, even though he hasn’t delivered on the last new big thing, or even the new big thing before that. That’s a classic con man trick.” The Vanity Fair piece was published on August 25th, and Tesla “launched” its insurance program on August 28th. Even Warren Buffett thinks it’s a bad bet —

    Comment by Kevin Gates — August 29, 2019 @ 8:46 am

  6. The simple fact is that Musk is a modern Harold Hill, the Music Man, but there is no one behind him to teach the photons to play instruments.

    Comment by Sotosy1 — August 29, 2019 @ 9:47 am

  7. But, but, but… they gave him a cameo on The Big Bang Theory!

    Comment by I.M. Pembroke — August 29, 2019 @ 1:18 pm

  8. It isn’t surprising that Tesla, like pretty much all “green” technologies these days, is a rent-seeker’s playground. My question is whether this flim-flam extends to SpaceX. Or is the existing business of building launch vehicles already so rife with rent-seeking that Musk’s operation is actually a marginal improvement?

    Comment by M. Rad. — August 29, 2019 @ 2:51 pm

  9. @M. Rad–Yes, that’s the real green in green tech.

    I asked the very same question about SpaceX in one of my 2013 Musk posts. I think that it is a business that requires the ability to manipulate bureaucrats and politicians. Perhaps the main difference is that although the resulting corruption is a friction in the process, at least you have a chance of getting something of value, and it is possible to measure performance in some dimensions. With a lot of green tech we buy bads not goods. At least launching a satellite or whatever is a good.

    I will note that Musk did shake down the state of Texas to locate his launch site near Brownsville. I wrote about that when it happened.

    Comment by cpirrong — August 29, 2019 @ 6:07 pm

  10. How did he get a Texas launch site approved? The trajectory would have to pass over Florida or Cuba on any reasonable inclination. Generally a no-no to launch experimental rockets over unsuspecting people.

    Comment by The Pilot — August 29, 2019 @ 8:06 pm

  11. @Pilot–Here’s what I wrote at the time.

    Comment by cpirrong — August 30, 2019 @ 11:03 am

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