Elon Musk vs John Peterson DEBATE

Elon Musk vs John Peterson DEBATE

Ok I think it is pretty clear that John Peterson is the most prolific anti-EV voice on the internet. He has nearly 25,000 posts on one investment website alone. Google anything negative about batteries or EV's and his name is sure to pop up. The scary thing is that he has a pretty huge following, and people are actually listening to his lies. Some of which are as follows:

- He constantly makes claims that full EV's are a waste of battery use (he thinks hybrids save more petrol overall for the price).

- He thinks batteries are far too energy intensive to produce and only generate a payback if used in small hybrid applications. Despite not taking into account the ICE vehicle industry OR the oil/gas industry's cradle to grave energy inefficiencies OR the fact that EV's and their batteries could be nearly 100% recyclable and powered by renewable energy.

-He claims there are no economies of scale to be had in the battery industry so mass production won't bring costs down ever.

- He claims there are not enough physical resources in the earth to make all vehicles full BEV's

- He thinks battery technology is far from any significant improvement and even if we do get a breakthrough the new batteries will be far too expensive to ever be practical for at least 20 years.

- He thinks battery cycle life is unsuitable for full BEV's - they won't last long enough.

- He personally dislikes Elon and has labelled him as "suffering from some form of delusional ADD" because he thinks he is smart enough to run three cutting edge companies at the same time.

- He has attacked Tesla's methods of accounting and thinks they are violating company laws by using deposits to fund operations.

- And much much more.

I say we get these guys into a room and let them debate these issues.
Peterson is single handedly trying to destroy the BEV industry and Tesla most of all...because if Tesla is successful the tiny battery company that he owns a large amount of shares in is toast (because it relies on small battery hybrid type applications in vehicles to survive).

I know people will say that Elon shouldn't waste his time on people like this...but this is THE GUY in terms of the anti-EV crowd...silence him and we will go a long way towards silencing most of the EV critics out there.

Plus I think it would be awesome to watch Elon thrash this arrogant douchebag!

C'mon Elon! I know you read these forums (or somebody from Tesla does)...lets make this happen!

teddyg | March 13, 2013

Just to add...there are multiple threads regarding John Peterson on this forum, the Tesla Motors Club Forum, and many EV forums across the web.
We NEED to take this guy DOWN!

Tesluthian | March 13, 2013

A debate between Elon Musk and John Peterson would be the biggest EV internet media event ever. I'll put my money on Elon. But who should host the debate ?

On a separate note, some group should index & chronicle the long list of John Petterson inaccuracies, with quotes and citations for inaccuracies and keep it numbered & updated so others could cite it. Just make sure the rebuttal is irrefutable.

holidayday | March 13, 2013

Proving John Peterson wrong in a business sense is all the satisfaction Elon needs.

Giving him more attention would just heighten any drama and give John just what he wants - more page views.

I think it's the wrong push to "silence him once and for all" because really, it would be more effective for him to say "I was wrong about Tesla, they are doing it right." than for him to just go away.

It should be up to other knowledgeable investment bloggers to call him on his errors. (especially if it's possible to post comments on his blog.) Some of his arguments may have been correct at one time, when batteries were less efficient, but as battery tech continues to advance, then John Peterson better re-invest out of lead acid and into better batteries.

Brian H | March 13, 2013

Nah. What does he really matter? As long as people respond to and buy the Model S, and Dragon keeps docking at the ISS, etc., the world and Elon can totally ignore JP. He produces nothing, and generates no net value for anyone. A dog yapping along behind the racing fire engine.

Definitely not worth Elon's time.

Tesluthian | March 13, 2013

Silence isn't always golden, remember Elon's " douche bag " critic before Broder ? At the very least, I'd post a list of Peterson's 10 biggest EV whoppers. Make it 100 if your ambitious.

danielccc | March 13, 2013

Tesla might want to put out a paper addressing Petersen's main points, without mentioning Petersen by name and giving him free press.

I think a debate makes no sense. What has Petersen actually built? A doer vs. a talker. What kind of debate would that be?

So the main point is whether Tesla can show that batteries can be effectively recycled. Specifically whether cobalt and any other rare metals can be recovered in a process using lower energy than the original mining and purification did.

Has anybody ever made a Cobalt Lithium Ion battery from material recovered from previous batteries? If not, why not? If so, why hasn't this been publicized?

It's a key point because it renders all the embodied CO2 footprint arguments moot.

On the other hand, if Cobalt Lithium Ion batteries cannot be effectively recycled, then Tesla needs to show a road map that will let them solve that by the Generation III car. For example, the projected use of a different battery chemistry, given X or Y improvements expected within a certain period of years.

Curt Renz | March 13, 2013

John Petersen (correct spelling) provides consulting services for manufacturers in the energy storage and storage sector:

It would not surprise me if he once offered his services to Tesla, and is in a huff over being spurned by that young whippersnapper Musk.

I agree that Petersen is best ignored and not placed in a spotlight on a larger stage.

Kleist | March 13, 2013

JP = grumpy old man. Wasting his time on things he hates. No discussion needed.

Bubba2000 | March 13, 2013

I think that neither Tesla or Elon Musk should waste any time on the likes of Peterson or Broder. The company needs to focus on fine tuning their manufacturing plant to tighten tolerances, make it more efficient, reduce labor costs and optimize the supply chain. The last thing Peterson and Broder is getting credibility. Ignore them and they will be forgotten. Those guys are like religious fanatics.

Tesluthian | March 13, 2013

I stand corrected, it's Petersen, not Peterson.

frmercado | March 13, 2013

Ignore the guy.

Brian H | March 13, 2013

The thing about Broder was not the man or his writing; it was that it was featured in the NYT, and apparently was a bait-and-switch from a planned article on the "step change" upcoming for Superchargers.

teddyg | March 13, 2013

While I knew I would get the "waste of time" comments I honestly do feel that Mr Peterson is influencing a large number of people with his junk science in terms of the EV's impact on the environment.
This is horrible because it could ultimately effect public opinion and with it vital investment and funding for battery research, which is a BIG deal.
However I do like Daniel's idea above where Tesla could put out a paper addressing some of these Petersen claims but don't give him the publicity by addressing him by name.
It would be good if somebody independent could do a real and unbiased research paper on all this.
Obviously EV haters won't necessarily believe a paper from Tesla.
And every anti-EV study I have seen seems to be funded in someway by big oil.
Guess we can't blame them for trying...70% of the demand for their product would evaporate if the world's transport sector went electric. Oil only provides 5% of the world's electricity generation so its no wonder why big oil is terrified of the EV.

Kleist | March 14, 2013

Teddyg - read JP responses to moderate arguments... arrogant ingnorance to put it mildley. I have the same everyday at work, words do not help and the only cure is to get results. It doesn't make a difference how many followers... at the end all these guys ask me: how did you do it?... simply by not being distacted by you BS.

Benz | March 14, 2013

The steady growing number of EV's that are visible on the roads, will make people change their minds about EV's. The people who do agree with him now, the same people will disagree with him later. It's just a matter of time. Therefore, in my opinion such a debate is not needed. This is my view on this topic.

Vawlkus | March 14, 2013

I think we need an appropriate forum for that kind of debate. Oh, I know, we can have a Greatest Rap Battles episode, EM vs JP. My money is on Elon }B)

cloroxbb | March 14, 2013

Honestly, Elon Musk is already doing what he is supposed to be doing. Backing up his philosophy by manufacturing the cars and rockets and solar panels. He is putting his money where his mouth is.

What is this other guy doing. Just making claims. Like others have said, he is just barking.

Im more inclined to following someone who is making things happen rather than the guy in the background saying he is going to fail. Thats not constructive at all.

nwdiver93 | March 14, 2013

Debating the virtue of EVs has already degraded to the point where it's comparable to the Evolution or AGW debates. The facts are so weighted to one side that the Anti-EV, Creationist and Denier advocates are simply cherry picking data and torturing reality to fit their narrative. You can't debate that... it just turns into a spectacle. You can't reason someone out of a position that they didn't reason themselves into...

TeslaRocks | March 14, 2013

Ignore. Let time prove him wrong. Not worth anyone's time.

FLsportscarenth... | March 15, 2013

Is this John Peterson guy a member of the flat earth society too?

Silence him...? Nah, just prove him wrong.

Tesla already puts out a lot of good info about BEVs on its site, when people see more of them on the streets and hear from happy owners, that will be proof enough.

mike | March 18, 2013

Best to let it go. John Petersen (a pseudonym - I'm sure) is articulate and well written, and he clearly wants to bring TSLA down. Elon should keep on delivering BEV value to the many excited customers and pick his fights accordingly, i.e., NY Times) Changing the world is never an easy endeavor. You've got to pick your fights.

TBC-Norway | March 19, 2013

This reminds me of Apple. Let's stick to the facts. How many cars are in use today? What is their reaction and evaluation of the Model S? Users who would like to comment on this would be valuable.

noel.smyth | March 20, 2013

hmmm, maybe we start a super pac or a non profit to promote EVs and clean energy overall...can then get funding from the industry and fund targeted research, hire bloggers, etc... basically what the big oil is doing to fund the likes of this subject..

vgrinshpun | March 20, 2013

I am not going to weigh in on a debate whether John Petersen need to be confronted in on-line postings or not, but one thing is clear to me: it is way below Elon Musk, or anybody at Tesla, for than matter, to engage him.

JP posts his well written musings on Seeking Alfa web site. His scheme is very predictable from article to article: among the long chain of well written and reasoned logical or mathematical constructs he usually includes just one either factually or logically wrong step, which would predictably lead to the desirable (to author) conclusion. All one need to do is to follow his chain of reasoning (often long and tedious process), find the step that is factually wrong, and expose it.

For those who advocate engagement, my advice is to become a member at Seeking Alfa (free) and chose to be JP's follower. This way any article he publishes will be sent to the follower's e-mail. It would be then the job of Tesla owners and enthusiasts to post comments to the article, exposing all the inaccuracies which are constructed by JP to arrive at the pre-determined conclusion.

DallasTeslan | March 20, 2013

I would not advocate anyone joining seeking alpha or any of the other blogs out there of similar ilk. I have been reading many of the Tesla articles on those sites recently and they are incredibly biased. The only reason I started reading them at all is because I am now a stockholder, and on my yahoo stock app these articles show up. I think I am going to find a new app to follow stocks with because I'm tired of seeing blogs geared to the know nothing day traders of the world when I pull up the latest stock prices.

I am open minded and interested in hearing all information about Tesla and EV's in general, but the articles on seeking alpha and Motley Fool are just ridiculous, biased, and agenda based. The last one I read (not by Petersen) said that EV's have not improved much in the past 100 years. It was just absurd. I read the comments and it had been already ripped to shreds by many others.

Let's not join these blogs and give them more followers--which is exactly what they want.

Brian H | March 20, 2013

In Seeking Alpha, they get paid by the view, as it happens. The articles are member submissions, not staff.

DHrivnak | March 20, 2013

Debating Mr. Petersen is a waste of time, I have tried with no success and Nick Butcher has written several excellent responses again it has done nothing to silence Mr. Petersen. He is beyond facts and reason. Not worth the time in my humble opinion.

vgrinshpun | March 20, 2013

Dallas Teslan,

People look at the same information and make differing conclusions all the time, and it is OK. Making decisions based on inaccurate information, however, is not a good idea.

Seeking Alpha posts articles that are submitted to the site; these articles are not written by staff. There are quite a few balanced and bullish articles about Tesla. The reason I mentioned this site is because this thread is about JP, and he just happens to post majority, if not all of his articles on Seeking Alpha.

Regarding the Motley Fool, majority of its members are actually bullish on Tesla.

May I suggest that perhaps your sampling period is too short?

Going back to my original post, I am not urging people who think that engaging with EV naysayers is useless to get involved. I DO, however, suggest that those who think that getting involved is a must, get engaged with JP directly, rather than spendi time posting appeals to Elon Musk on this site.

vgrinshpun | March 20, 2013

Silencing JP is not the point. He has his interest in promoting the idea that Tesla will fail. Majority of people on this forum take it to heart for Tesla to succeed. How is it staying silent in the world of clashing ideas going to help? Perception is reality.

DallasTeslan | March 21, 2013

vrinshpun, perhaps I should give these blogs more time but it seems to me based on what I've read, they seem to be geared to the day traders of the world---many of whom know little to nothing and are constantly looking for a "hot tip" on what stocks to short.

Regardless of their views on Tesla (yes, even if they write more positive articles) I'm just not sure it is my thing. I tend to invest for the long term and tune out all the "noise".

sunshinee | March 22, 2013

it's Petersen, not Peterson.

evpro | March 22, 2013

Out of interest, what is JP's position on Global Warming? Is he equally a misinformed denier in that area?

teddyg | March 30, 2013

Yes he is.
Another thing that bugs me about this guy is that he keeps referring to studies that label battery production as extremely energy intensive and that a Tesla battery will never save as much CO2 during its whole life as the CO2 that was spent making it.

I think it would be good if Tesla put out a research paper on this very subject because this concern is starting to spread quite quickly on the net.
I know Panasonic is going for a very green image so they must use best practices when building their 18650 cells and their should be some data on how much CO2 per cell is required to produce it?

Obviously the end goal is to have renewable energy power our factories and EV's but until we get there are we really going backwards in terms of CO2 output with EV's in terms of battery production as opposed to ICE vehicle construction?

Brian H | March 30, 2013

Yawn. CO2 emissions are hyped and irrelevant. The CO2 level lags the changes in ocean temperature by a few hundred years -- warm water holds less of all gases, including CO2 and O2, so it is driven into the atmosphere. When the water cools, it takes it back, and the level drops, eventually, given enough surface agitation and mixing. Basics: that which precedes cannot be the result of that which follows.

Mark K | March 30, 2013

It may be frustrating to endure Petersen's deliberate misinformation, but Elon has a higher calling.

The best way to prove Petersen wrong ...

is to build a great car.

That strategy is already working, and I'd say Elon is focused right on target.

Andre-nl | March 31, 2013

Brian, there are two different physical laws at work here:

1) the absorption by CO2 of infrared radiation (easily measured in a lab).
2) the solubility of gases in water (easily observed by drinking lukewarm beer).

These are two separate, completely independent laws that in no way preclude each other.

So a rising temperature forces CO2 out of the oceans (CO2 lags temp)

And a rising CO2 level traps more long wave radiation (temp lags CO2).

Both laws apply all of the time and have done so since the big bang. You don't have to choose.

Hi_Tech | March 31, 2013

Remember the old saying (or something like this): "Don't get in an arguement with someone that buys ink by the barrel". Not really worth it. Plus, this guy makes his name/living by arguing, using facts and opinions. It's very hard for a straight-forward business person to "win" in an arguement with these types. It would only lead to big negativity.
Plus, as Tesla has strong followers that will not likely change their mind from articles like this person, so would JP's readers. They are/were not really going to buy a Tesla to begin with. It's the other part of the population that needs to see the benefits from actuals, not arguments.

teddyg | March 31, 2013

But the energy required to produce batteries is becoming a bit of a hot topic against EV's, thanks to guys like JP.
Elon doesn't have to address the issue personally but perhaps Tesla should produce a paper on this topic showing how many miles a Tesla needs to cover to break even in terms of battery CO2 production and then compare this to an ICE vehicle.
What we really need is a full study examining energy cost of producing both types of cars then evaluate the entire supply chain for the fuel used in both showing energy consumption in best case and worst case scenarios for both vehicles.
ie. You could have an EV built and powered by 100% coal as worst case. But one using 100% renewable to build and power as best case.
Then show ICE built using coal and powered by gasoline as worst case (including the chain of energy required in drilling, pumping, packaging, shipping (incl oil spill damage), refining, trucking, pumping, then burning that gasoline.
Then an ICE built using renewable energy and using gasoline as best case.
You could also add the energy consumption required if recycled materials were used (say for the batteries in particular) and how that might reduce mining pollution required for battery production etc.

Would be one hell of a study to compile energy costs for all the ingredients necessary to build and power both types of cars but I believe the EV would win in terms of the present day technology and grid. And it would certainly win using recycled batteries and a 100% renewable grid.

Brian H | March 31, 2013

IR is not heat, it is one of several modes of energy transfer. The overall consequence of the presence of CO2 in atmosphere has been measured from satellite as either zero or negative. Results from the lab:
In a hot combustion chamber, CO2 radiative energy transport is measureable. At atmospheric temperatures and pressures, it is negligible. Water, however, is vastly higher in concentration, and has numerous dynamic features which CO2 does not, in all temperature and partial pressure ranges. It condenses, evaporates, freezes, melts, circulates, and is present in widely varying concentrations locally and by altitude and region. There are deserts, oceans, tropics, mountains, and forests which strongly differ in amount and behavior of H2O in play. The dynamics of energy transport by water are powerful and ubiquitous; CO2 is at most a thin background influence, along for the ride. It is no more a "forcing" variable than is salt or any other compound that strongly responds to or modifies water's influence. It is a "dependant variable".

teddyg | March 31, 2013

I guess when I say CO2 I mean to say "pollution".
I want to know the harmful effects of battery production and oil production in terms of the negative impacts on our environment. Increased dirty air that we must breathe and polluted oceans, rivers, lakes, etc.
I am also not primarily concerned with climate change, its far too political, but I am concerned about the quality of the air I breathe and water I drink...amd I think most can agree on that. If by cleaning up these aspects of our environment we happen to reduce CO2 and the potential for climate change, well then that is a nice side benefit but cleaner air and water should really be our priority.

danielccc | March 31, 2013

Not true. CO2 is important in the upper atmosphere, which is extremely dry, cold, and thin, so lacking in water vapor.

Brian H | April 4, 2013

Its upper atmosphere role is to slightly enhance outbound radiation, but cold gas doesn't do much of anything wrt radiation. Absorption/emission varies as the 4th power of temperature.

DallasTeslan | April 4, 2013

This thread seems to be veering a little off topic. Has Petersen ever addressed the fact that there are energy savings from the numerous parts not necessary in an EV as compared to ICE?

Vawlkus | April 4, 2013

JP has never admitted NiMH batteries are different to Li-Ion batteries.

danielccc | April 4, 2013

Brian, if that were true, Mars would be colder than it is. The thin, dry, cold CO2 is keeping it about 9F warmer than it should be given its albedo and distance from the Sun.

ghillair | April 5, 2013

Can we Please take the climate debate to a single thread and label it as such. Better yet take it to another form.

Some of us are interested in TESLA, both the car and investment and are tired of wasting our time going into threads that have been hijacked way off subject!

Thank you

richardriver01 | November 30, 2013

I have been fighting that imbecile of JPetersen in SeekingAlpha by destroying some of his arguments about battery technology specially on emissions which is basically his stupid assumptions,and is scary because people that do not know much about this stuff is being misled. We need to destroy all his arguments one by one and show that this is nothing but an appointed EV hater probably paid by the oil / car industry. We need to start creating articles that destroy every single of his articles.

David N | November 30, 2013

ignore him.

Kleist | November 30, 2013

"toys for rich boys" says it all... JP doesn't get it. Don't be fooled buy by his arrogance.

Oilfield Roughneck | December 1, 2013

A wise old man once told me, "those that say it can't be done should get out of the way of those doing it".