Negative Public Reaction to Seeing the Car

Negative Public Reaction to Seeing the Car

WOW! I wasn't prepared driving in my Model S Sig today to get a negative taunt thrown at me... I was showing some friends of mine at their office in a heavily walked area. Some guy comes up and says "Oh, so that's what my tax money is paying for." Now, I'm not normally political, but I went off... For those just receiving your car, have some nice witty retorts just in case you get something like that... I have a few good ones now that I am prepared. Of course, that's been the 1 bad out of 100 good who keep stopping and looking or wanting to see it (and I've only had it on the street for less than an hour)...

BYT | December 16, 2012

I think there is a negative public reaction to this thread... ;)

jjaeger | December 16, 2012

I know there is...

biwamura | December 16, 2012

This thread is now completely out of whack!!!!

shop | December 16, 2012

Sudre - I've already proposed something that people can do to reduce co2, but tellingly none of the global warming alarmists in this thread have gotten behind it. To wit, promote nuclear energy. Cue the personal attacks now that I've said something else in 3, 2, 1...

RedShift | December 16, 2012

Shop, I happen to love nuclear energy, coz its very energy dense. Like you, I hate the alarmists who scream that nuclear is dangerous. However, I happen to believe in global warming.

Brant | December 16, 2012

Elon Musk has calculated that the land area dedicated to a nuclear power plant (the actual facility + unused surrounding "safety zone") would produce MORE electrical power annually if dedicated to solar instead. However he did not mention the longitude/latitude used for this calculation.

shop | December 16, 2012

Brant, you mean safety zone in case of a meltdown?? That's a huge area, and a silly argument. Are you saying instead of nuke plants we should commandeer, what 500 square miles of land for solar?

Brant | December 16, 2012

Just quoting Elon. You can listen for yourself to what he said on the link I provided earlier to his talk at Oxford (or look it up on youtube) My understanding was that there is a defined zone around a Nuke plant that cannot be used for residential/commercial/farming/airport/anything actually. I don't think its that silly if it can't be used for anything else. Whats the difference? If you can use the same dedicated land area for solar and make more electricity without the hassle of dealing with spent fuel rods?

Brant | December 16, 2012

And don't get me wrong Shop; I like Nuclear just fine. But if Elon is right it would make sense to put the Nuke plants up north and Solar plants down south.

shs | December 16, 2012

The problem with nuclear is that I don’t think that any country has really figured out a good way to deal with spent fuel. There seem to be many approaches, but none of them a good long term (or short term) solution.

jbunn | December 16, 2012


For someone with an execllent command of the English language, you seem to misuse "outrageous" and "BS".

Watts admits to gettting 88,000 in funding to set up his web site from Heartland. He's had the cost of his publication paid for by Heartland, and he's been a featured speaker at their confrences. (want to bet they have a nice fat speakers fee?). Watts has never said he doesn't get paid by Heartland. He says he's not on salary. Not the same as being a grant recipient, getting honorareium, having his costs underwritten. Some links if your interested.

"The Heartland Institute published Watts' initial report on weather station data, titled Is the U.S. Surface Temperature Record Reliable?[11]

Watts has been featured as a speaker at Heartland Institute's International Conference on Climate Change, for which he acknowledges receiving payment.[47]

Documents obtained from the Heartland Institute and made public in February 2012 reveal that the Institute had agreed to help Watts raise $88,000 to set up a website, "devoted to accessing the new temperature data from NOAA's web site and converting them into easy-to-understand graphs that can be easily found and understood by weathermen and the general interested public."[48][49][50] The documents state that $44,000 had already been pledged by an anonymous donor, and the Institute would seek to raise the rest.[47]

11. ^ a b c d Watts, Anthony (2009). Is the U.S. Surface Temperature Record Reliable?. Heartland Institute. ISBN 1934791266. Retrieved 2009-11-24
47.^ a b Gascoyne, Tom (February 23, 2012). "Leaked documents hit home Climate-change scandal has a local connection". Chico News & Review. Retrieved August 8, 2012.
48.^ "2012 Fundraising Plan". The Heartland Institute. January 15, 2012. Retrieved 2012-07-15.
49.^ Hickman, Leo (February 15, 2012). "Climate sceptics – who gets paid what?". The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-02-15.
50.^ Watts, Anthony (February 15, 2012). "Some notes on the Heartland Leak". Watts Up With That?. Retrieved 2012-02-23.

Since you were quite wrong on that last one, any interest in seeing who funds the Heartland Institute? Might be fun to speculate on why. Because private donors who own large industrial concerns don't just drop a million 10 on a whim. They want something. Question is who. And what?

Brian H | December 16, 2012

Nuclear plants run 24/7, 24/24 with very high reliability and dispatchabilit. Solar, not so much. Solar input into the grid varies uncontrollably; at 10% problems occur. At 20%, it's unmanageable.

Brian H | December 16, 2012

typo: dispatchability

shop | December 16, 2012

The US has a perfectly workable spent fuel solution - it is called Yucca mountain. Environmentalists have prevented its use, so we continue to stockpile spent fuel at nuclear power station sites. If I recall correctly, the French simply breakdown spent nuclear fuel in a breeder reactor to make much less volume of nuclear waste. Anyways, my point seems to stand. If you are worried about co2 production through burning fossil fuels, you would think that you would at least look into nuclear to see if it would work. Instead many (not all) global warming alarmists dismiss nuclear out of hand without researching it or knowing too much about it. And nuclear is a very viable solution to rising co2 levels. So why do alarmists dismiss nuclear? If the world is going to fry, wouldn't taking a chance with nuclear, given that it would solve co2 levels, be the right thing to do, or at least look into??

MB75 | December 17, 2012

As a Libertarian, I will probably be in the minority here (as I am everywhere)but my response would be that I am not in favour of government bail-outs, loans or subsidies either but when the government is offering 'free' money it would not be rational to refuse it.

shs | December 17, 2012

I am not an expert on nuclear power, but I read an article a couple of years ago that described how the French actually pay people to bury spent fuel in their backyards and have put spent fuel in the English channel figuring that if dispersed enough it would not be a problem. All this led to a measureable increase in Leukemia. In the same article it mentioned that the French were offering the US some of their newer nuclear reactors in exchange for our taking their spent fuel. I think the idea is that we would store it in Yuca Mountain, but as you say in the US we say, “Not in my backyard”, even if we have a very big back yard. Transportation is part of the problem.

The other issue is nuclear power plants, like any “big” power plants, they are subject not only to natural disasters, but also to terrorist attacks, and if brought down, the result is a much greater disruption of our lives and economy relative to a more distributed power generation system.

The first time I understood this difference was, a few years ago, when my wife and I were talking with a local candidate for congress and General Wesley Clark, (Ex) Supreme Commander of NATO, about the infrastructure in Afghanistan and the troubles NATO was having with enemy attacks on electrical generation and the grid there. As they explained if one bases a countries electrical infrastructure on “big” power generation and a high-power grid to distribute the electricity around the country, an attack on the power station or grid can disrupt a large section of the economy. On the other hand, the discussion continued, if the country’s power generation is widely distributed with lots of smaller power plants, ideally as much as possible with solar and wind, and local grids, then it is much harder for the enemy or a terrorist to have a significant effect on the infrastructure.

Of course big business interests prefer “big” power plants as that is how they make their money, but it would seem that with big power, not only do you have distribution losses transporting that power over large distances, one is creating an infrastructure that when disrupted has the biggest impact on the economy. Local distributed power, including solar panels in our backyards are good for lot of reasons.

up north | December 17, 2012

some see the future and some have to be hit over the head with it.

BYT | December 17, 2012

Elon can get a SpaceX contract to launch the spent fuel rods into space, maybe out and straight down? I don't like the idea of Nuclear energy unless it's built in a very stable environment, but with the way the weather has been, is there really any environment free of Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Tsunami's or any other number of disasters that can cripple a Nuclear Power Plant and cause it to overheat? Northern Japan is still dealing with that after their Tsunami and it's even effecting some regions in the West Coast of North America. It's not longer an small isolated area, it's a global problem. Out need for power is a global problem. Safe, sustainable energy is really the only real way to go, IMHO.

Video of Elon, Elon Musk on Changing the Energy Sector
Elon Musk, founder of Paypal and CEO of Tesla Motors, speaks on a panel with Segway Inventor Dean Kamen and J. Craig Venter about how to accelerate the change toward renewable energy at WSJ's ECO:nomics conference.

JohnQ | December 17, 2012

Launching radioactive waste into orbit (or beyond) is an extraordinarily bad idea. Rockets fail. The failure mode would result in widespread dissemination of radioactive material into the upper atmosphere (if explosive event) or spread across a large area on the ground making containment and cleanup extremely difficult. Use of newer reactor designs that can utilize spent fuel, or underground storage, are the best current options.

nwdiver93 | December 17, 2012

The main reason we don't use more nuclear is the same reason we wheren't using more solar... Cost. $6/w is cheap for nuclear power. Florida Power and Light was getting quotes of over $10/w for the AP1000s they wanted to build and the price has not dropped over time because we don't build enough plants for economies of scale. Unlike nuclear the cost of solar has been falling dramatically.

An added thorn in the nuclear idustries side is the fact that they must maintain a high capacity factor to be profitable. As the cost of solar continues to drop and deployment expands we will see less and less need for additional capacity during most of the day. Nuclear quickly becomes exceedingly cost prohibitive as its Capacity Factor dips toward 50%. German solar already provides near 50% of demand on some days.

rmitchum | December 17, 2012

Do you want cake or icecream? (I would like some of each.) A newly engineered, smallish nuclear plant with with the surrounding safety zone set up for massive solar.

frisbin | December 18, 2012


Putting solar around all the nuke plants that have already been built is a great idea.
There is a heck of a lot of room for solar, and all factors prove to be a win-win with that plan.

No doubt hundreds,even thousands of square miles of solar could be deployed, with high power electric lines already on each site, -otherwise the land and solar resource is wasted.

Budget as much money for doing solar on these sites as it cost to build the nukes.
We should do that first, then talk about the need for new nukes.

Need some balance.
Time for some more ice cream, we got plenty of cake.

BYT | December 18, 2012

@JohnQ, no faith in SpaceX to pull it off without incident? Fine, then we can use the space elevator... :)

DouglasR | December 18, 2012

I believe I recall Elon saying (at a talk in the UK) that the amount of land required for a nuclear generating site, if covered with solar panels, could generate an equivalent amount of energy. I don't know that I believe this claim, but I found it interesting.

JohnQ | December 18, 2012

@BYT, No faith in anyone to pull it off as the failure is catastrophic even if it's a once every 20 year event. You really don't want it raining spent fuel rods across three states.

If you can build a space elevator I will support the export of nuclear waste to space. But, boy, what a terrorist target that thing would be (see Robinson's Mars series).

Timo | December 18, 2012

@DouglasR, that claim might be possible. Problem with Solar is not the area or even the cost, but where it is usable and the fact that it depends of weather to work. We can't use solar here in north, the time we could make use of it most we don't have any Sun.

If you want to make solar reliable you would need to move it to space, but then the solar rectenna would need to be big which limits the places you could build one once again.

Biggest problem with that is the prohibitive cost of moving things from Earth surface to space. Maybe with mining asteroids and Moon that could be feasible, so in order to do that we would need to turn to true spacefaring civilization. Well, what do you know, there is one company named SpaceX that is doing just that...

All hail great Elon!

(also I again need to mention cheap fusion, that solves all energy problems here at Earth once we get it to work)

jbunn | December 18, 2012


Dropping things into the sun is much harder than it seems. Takes a lot of energy to get there. It would not be cost effective. Besides we already have stable, reliable fusion we can tap.

lph | December 18, 2012

Hope you are not serious about the space elevator. Being a structural analyst I was involved for a short while with the space elevator. Unfortunately the materials are not ready yet, at least that was the case a couple of years ago.
It appears that only single walled nanotubes are strong enough (about 100x stronger than steel ... greater when one considers the strength to weight ratio) but I don't know of anyone making them longer than about 4 inches (really long for a single molecule). We need to make them much longer in order to braid them successfully, because they tend to slide over each other easily. The ribbon would be thinner than a human hair and about 8" wide. Hope it is far enough out in the ocean to avoid birds because they won't be able to see it if it is edgeways!
One day this could happen. But I think you could see space elevators happen on the moon before here because of the lower strength requirements and lack of weather.

Even if the space elevator did work it is still a risky undertaking to hoist nuclear waste.. I don't think the public will allow it.

Think Elon is safe with space-X for a little while longer!

Timo | December 19, 2012

@lph Hope you are not serious about the space elevator. Being a structural analyst I was involved for a short while with the space elevator. Unfortunately the materials are not ready yet, at least that was the case a couple of years ago.
It appears that only single walled nanotubes are strong enough

There are couple of other carbon nanotube variants that are strong enough, so single-walled is not the only option, however...

I don't know of anyone making them longer than about 4 inches

That is the problem with all of them. At least now AFAIK. Also even if there were method of creating longer ones mass-production required to build structure as big as space elevator is out of the question for a long long time.

archibaldcrane | December 19, 2012

Hey guys, this thread has gone wildly off topic - can we get back to random people saying nasty stuff to Model S drivers and their responses? Feel free to make a "comprehensive electricity generation pros/cons" thread if you like.

Brian H | December 19, 2012

"Eat your heart out. Then have a nice day!"

Mel. | December 19, 2012

Arch, you cracked me up.

Brian H | December 19, 2012

"Subsidies usually screw up, but the gov't got lucky with Tesla. It's a great product and a great company."

Lush1 | February 19, 2013

Those unacquainted with the Model S are curious and impressed with the answers. Their jaws hit the ground when I pop the Frunk and the expressions are priceless. Those that know about it, friends and strangers alike, are kind and full of well wishes like; congratulations, god bless you, I'm happy for you, brilliant, have fun, you were really smart to get it, good luck, it's beautiful, etc. Every person I've encountered is rooting for me and for Tesla. Haven't heard a discouraging word yet. The response is more positive than I imagined. Everybody in the office building I work in (hundreds of people) all seem to know about it and like to come out and look at it. Those that have found me sitting in it during lunch, learning the controls and saving bookmarks in my browser, offer smiles and thumbs up.

Lush1 | February 20, 2013

Sorry, I should have posted this in the "what are people saying about the car" thread. Will copy it in the right thread. Sorry for going off topic and double posting.

jackhub | February 20, 2013

So don't read it.

lolachampcar | February 20, 2013

Oh, god. If maturity is a requirement I'm toast.

andykeller | February 20, 2013

I don't get mine for a few weeks, but I couldn't help but hear the conversation from the table next to me last night at dinner. Here are a few choice quotes:

"I don't know why they don't just start drilling. Gas is going to be $10 / gallon of they don't start drilling soon."

"I heard we only have 10 months supply of oil, but at least it will buy us some time."

"I don't understand electric cars. I heard over 30mph they switch over to gas anyway. That might be good in New York or Chicago, but around here we drive more than 30mph."

At that point I really wanted to get up and inform them about global markets, OPEC, and how except for a few hybrid electrics, electrics don't use gas at any speed. As far as I know, only the plugin prius switches to gas based on speed (55mph?).

I was having a nice dinner with my family so I let them carry on but it was painful. I have a feeling this conversation will be directed at me soon.

Brian H | February 20, 2013

then you'll get to unload. Both barrels. >:)

Michael S | February 20, 2013

I thought I would be more like Andy, and I was when I first got my Roadster. I remember having an arguement with my Rush Limbuagh neighbor in San Francisco 3 years ago (all the typical party line BS from him). It got my wife ticked at me and I decided then: no more discussions with the enemy.

Since then, with my Roadster and now my Sig, I let them come to me. Plenty do, all the time. All kinds of questions. A lot of the same ones. I have given many a stranger a test ride. All of my family and friends have driven one or both of the cars.

That's how to do it. Passive resistance to Big Oil seems to be working on everyone I meet. My Sig plates read: OILS NME and the plate holder says "The Future is Electric".....That is the only discussion I will have now with "them".

Jewsh | February 20, 2013

@ Brian H:

"[...] then you'll get to unload. Both barrels. >:)"

Indeed it is tempting. It's amazing how many people I've encountered who are experts in renewable energy, BEVs, hybrids, diesel engine technology, oil and gas exploration, urban planning ... the list goes on.

The more time goes by the more I realize that I know nothing and all of these same "experts" are simply full of hot air. At this point I think it's best for techy people like us to stay focused on what we're doing and ignore everyone else -- particularly those with uninformed opinions.

DTsea | February 20, 2013

The only thing I hear is from guys who like engine sound, but so far everyone who has noticed the car has been positive.

Velo1 | November 28, 2013

Had my first negative encounter today, Thanksgiving of all days. I was backing out in a parking lot neae some running/hiking trail heads when I saw a young man get out of his car and began walking along the back end of the cars on the opposite row. He was listening to his earbuds, focused on his iPhone. I was clearly watching him on the HD backup camera, keeping in mind the car is silent. Half way out of my parking space, I turn the car 45 degrees, and I never get within 10 feet of this guy. Before I could shift into Drive, he approaches the driver's side window. I am thinking he wants to ask or say something about the car, so I roll down the window, and he starts cursing at me, yelling that I almost ran him over. I thought he was going to kick the side of the car, so I hopped out and asked what was his problem. He called me an F'ing hippie driving an F'ing electric car. More words were exchanged then I decided to defuse the confrontation, so I just shut up. He walked away cursing me.

I took a picture of him and his car/plate, and he turned around and got back in my face. I have the county sheriff on my phone Contacts, so a called and told the dispatcher I want to file a report against someone verbally abusing me and making threatening comments against my Model S. The threatening guy left to go for his run, but I still filed a complaint. The Deputy Sheriff was very nice, even asked a dozen questions about the car. The Sheriff said he would wait for the guy to finish his run and get his story. Fair enough, but I can only imagine what he'll say.

I know it is my word against his, but it sure would have been nice if the backup camera could/would record the video for retrieval just for such disputes. My biggest fear is that I use these trails many times per week, and this guy, if returns, might do something to the car at some future point in time. That is the main reason I insisted on filing a complaint, so at least he knows the Sheriff knows he had threatened me and the car. Happy Thanksgiving folks.

RedShift | November 28, 2013


Happy thanksgiving to you too!

Don't let this affect you. Along with Elon, we are actually all in this fight against ignorance and dogma.

Heh, I remember the funny number plate cover: "My Karma ran over your Dogma" !!

jcaspar1 | November 28, 2013

I get the most from BMW owners who think their cars are far superior to anything American. The first (a three series driver, couldn't believe I bought a Tesla instead of an M3 ??? The second (BMW 8 series driver) was at first resistant but after a tour of the car, turned to me and said "This is the future isn't it!"

Living in Northern California, most people are very anti American auto, pro Prius and euro sedans so I expect (and enjoy) that the Tesla gets under their skin!


lolachampcar | November 28, 2013

That must be a California thing. We are back woods here and I am surprised if someone even knows the car is electric.

ChetB | November 28, 2013

"Best investment you could ever make -- for your Grandchildren."

david.baird | November 28, 2013

@Velo1 - this whole business of a silent car is something that has been on my mind a bit. I used to cycle to and from work here in Brussels and I was caught out a few times with Prius's running on battery; we don't realise how much we rely on passive hearing until we get caught out.

I know on Fiskers they play that weird sound when they're below a certain speed, but Teslas don't.

Does this cause an issue? Other than driving with it in mind are there any strategies out there?

Velo1 | November 28, 2013

@Lycanthorpe - many moons ago there was a thread about the need for a pedestrian horn. If interested see:

I, too, cycle here in Colorado. Once at a stop light a Prius silently pulled up right next to me and it startled me to where I almost jumped out of my cleats.

I love that tweeter horn used by support and official vehicles that work pro cycling races. Just mid-range volume and short enough to alert, but not scare. Cheers.

lolachampcar | November 28, 2013

I was sitting waiting for a bridge on my Zero a few hours ago and having to breath the trash that comes out of the exhausts. I was thinking to myself (1) it is amazing what we can get used to and accept as normal and (2) it does not have to be like this.

Part of me wants to apply the same thought process to this "need to make noise". I understand why people would want the comfort and warning of ICE noise as that is what we are all used to. We use those signals as warning that a vehicle is near. However, would the world not be a better place if we allowed that noise to fade into history and adjust to the new level of noise around us. Driver's need take steps to remain safe and bikers/peds need to reset their warning systems to tire noise.

At least it is an option.