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)...

mrspaghetti | October 5, 2012

I actually don't hold it against people who assume the Model S sucks because it is an electric car. Given the history of electric cars I'd say the burden of proof is on those claiming otherwise.

-Roadster owners please don't get bent out of shape. I'm sure the Roadster is great, but a $100k+ two-seater with no storage isn't the most practical car in the world for most people. Just fun.

All the other EVs are neither fun nor practical. I.e., they suck from the perspective of most people (true believers in "the cause" excepted).

There is really no reason for people to give the Model S the benefit of the doubt at this point. So have patience, they will see the truth with their own eyes as more of them show up on the road.

MB3 | October 5, 2012

"and it's saving you about $9 over what you would have subsidized had I bought an ICE"

Brian H | October 6, 2012

No "e". Tamny. Get on his email list (about 2-3 per mo.) by sending to .

Only 1½ days till the next/1st real COTS launch! 8:45(?) EDT.
Wonder how soon they'll attempt parachute then powered land touchdown for the Dragon.

David M. | October 6, 2012

Tell him that you weren't able to take advantage of the tax breaks for heavy gas guzzling cars a few years back, but you didn't want to miss this opportunity.

David M. | October 6, 2012

Most people don't realize that tax payers can still subsidize purchases of SUVs weighing at least 6,000 pounds by allowing consumers to offset (small business) income by up to 75% of the purchase price of the car in the tax year that you purchase the car. This stupid tax break works for anybody with a home based business (think Amway, Mary Kay, Real Estate sales, etc.).

The government gives up much more tax revenue from this than they ever will from EVs. This education usually diffuses the whole tax break argument.

kalikgod | October 6, 2012


Wow, sounds like a crazy first day with the car. I think your later experience is more likely what you will find.

As far as the responses, I think I like the hand written check for .0000025. How about PayPal (also Musk) the amount to them from the touch screen? At least make them poke their head inside and start to change their opinion.

Michael_Bluth | October 6, 2012

You forgot to account for the 47% of the population that does not pay taxes (of which the guy may be one). So, 7500/(300000000*.53) = $0.000047. So throw a penny at him and say he got an instant 21000% return.

prash.saka | October 6, 2012

+2 Michael_Bluth. This is my most favorite thread.

PS: Is that your real name? Or are you a fan of Arrested Development?

sunnysailor | October 6, 2012


I love the responses!


+1 Love the comment.

petero | October 6, 2012

BestBroker. I have found it is a lost cause to argue with idiots and the uninformed. It is better to smile and say “we agree to disagree, and have a good day.” A ‘thank you’ might help end the conversation quickly. You will not change their minds and they won’t change yours. Unless you are Don Quixote, you will find fighting windmills and blowhards very unsatisfying.

I am so jealous of Rod and Barbara and other “S” owners. Have you seen the price of gas in California? Thank you “Seven Sisters” you help the EV cause everyday and I am sure the Federal tax breaks Big Oil receives far exceeds $.000025 per person.

mrspaghet. Often the second step is a quantum leap. If not for the roadster owners, we would be “S” out of luck! The roadster was the perfect first step for a start up car company’s first product. I agree with you about bailing out failing companies, but in an approaching election year losing another 500,000 jobs (+ or -) with GM and Chrysler was not an option for the President.

Michael_Bluth | October 6, 2012

prash.saka -

Not my real name, of course. I do drive something similar to the stair car these days, waiting patiently until I can make a deposit for the S or X.
Big AD fan. can't wait for the new series on netflix and the movie.

prash.saka | October 6, 2012

Yep, AD is awesome :)

Michael23 | October 6, 2012

I probably wouldn't say much so I don't get keyed.

Brian H | October 6, 2012

"I'm taking a chance on a new technology. The next few years will be real-world research and testing to see if it's any good."

Tomas | October 6, 2012

Perhaps you could simply remind the a-hole, who presumable was driving an SUV with a "Save Our Troups" sticker on it, that our tax dollars and kids' lives are subsidizing the oil for the gas that he is wasting, while poisoning the planet.

I woulda punched the idiot.

Tomas | October 6, 2012

Ops. I case nobody got that, we are Iraq for the oil. One trillion dollars and counting. Now THAT is a subsidy.

mrspaghetti | October 6, 2012

@tomas: A lot of people would disagree with that.

GoTeslaChicago | October 6, 2012

Re GM & Chrysler to those of you of you who don't believe in bailing out failing companies, I'm with you but....

and this is a mighty important but.

When Lehman brothers failed, access to capital disappeared and so did demand for cars. If the government didn't step in, one domino after another would have fallen, taking down the innocent as much as the guilty. In a financial crisis it is the duty of the government to step in, precisely when, and because no one else could or would.

my (short) 2 cents worth.

BYT | October 6, 2012

I believe when they stepped in to bail it out they should have then regulated the hell out of them as apposed to a free lottery win in their favor (and tax free) as they are doomed to repeat that bull crap once again. Fool me once, shame on you but fool me twice??

Tomas | October 6, 2012

True. Most Republicans would disagree.
Not many well informed persons would though.
Politics aside, the point is that the government subsidizes all sorts of things from agriculture to logging to oil and gas to mining, to nuclear power plants, to the highways and roads (partially paid for with the Federal gas tax.... and now, I buy no gas, so I pay no tax, so I'm a free loader! And I'm using the roads for free. Yeah me!).
I think investing in the private sector to help them develop new technologies, which may grow into new industries, like EV's, which may create jobs makes a lot of sense and we have been doing that for years.
Or, the government can sit back and do nothing and cede new industries to germany and china and we'll all be left running convenience store and dry cleaners.

But back to my point, does any one doubt that if Iraq didn't happen to be sitting on tons of oil that we would be there right now? There are way worse regimes and abusive dictators around the world that we totally ignore because they have no resource we want.

Tesla is the first small step to ending all the bull shit in the middle east. Get off oil and tell them all take a hike.
Hate to get all political again, but I see the lame response coming that we are in Iraq to foster freedom and fight the terrorist. There would be no terrorists, or at least terrorists that hate us, if we stopped propping up all the corrupt, repressive middle eastern despots that Exxon Mobil does business with.

The world needs to charge. Tesla, even if it fails, is a huge milestone in history. We will look back 50 years from now and say, duh..why didn't we start the EV revolution sooner.

Steve841 | October 6, 2012

FWIW... most folks who didn't want to bailout the automakers were pushing for a structured bankruptcy.

REASON: Unions, retirement health plans and pensions.

Now, we the tax payers are on the hook for the 25+ Billion floating out there...

So, as long you dont mind paying those taxes and bowing to the Chinese for buying our debt or the continued devaluing of the dollar by the Fed ... then all is good.

GoTeslaChicago | October 6, 2012

StevenR | OCTOBER 6, 2012
"FWIW... most folks who didn't want to bailout the automakers were pushing for a structured bankruptcy."

It was a structured bankruptcy!! The alternative was liquidation which would have killed hundreds of companies in the supply chain, so many, that it probably would've taken down Ford's supply chain and Ford too.

The auto bailout involved $80 billion of government funds. Chrysler has repaid in full. The US is still in the hole for $25 billion from GM but owns 500 million shares of GM stock, given a few more years, the taxpayers may yet come out whole.

In fact as I remember, Romney and others have said that a tax cut can pay for itself because the new jobholders pay taxes. Shouldn't you apply the same logic to the Auto Bailout? If so, then because of the million or so jobs and thousands of small companies in the supply chain that were saved, the taxpayers may be ahead already!!

up north | October 6, 2012

it was either this or have more soldiers die in order for me to fill up with gas again. i support our troops.

Steve841 | October 6, 2012

You missed my point. I believe they were looking to get the automakers off the hook for union pensions and health care costs that GM said was making it uncompetitive vs what we got which was reconstituting the same problems.

Yes there were some fools out there who pushed for liquidation ... which was wrong.

PatrickO | October 6, 2012

"The loans aren't even the best part, can you believe all the roads and bridges the government built for me too!?"

I've been on the waiting list for 3.5 years, and I just had my first test drive today.
Best acceleration and handling of any car I've ever driven, and I love how quiet it is. Can't wait until mine gets here in a month or so.

Robert22 | October 6, 2012

Sometime, somewhere, Mr. Musk will emerge from his car to hear the same snide remark from a Joe Sixpack.
Suggested response: If you liked what you paid for my car, you'll love what you're about to pay for my rockets!

nwdiver93 | October 6, 2012

My retort will be "My tax dollars helped pay for the war to get your oil... now yours helped build my car. At least your tax dollars get paid back."

yeti130 | October 6, 2012

how about: "in 10 years since college I've paid over $100k in federal income tax. Plus a substantially larger amount in fica, state income, sales, and property taxes. So I don't feel bad about getting about 2-3% of that total discounted off of my tax bill this year."

Brian H | October 7, 2012

Foolish comment. SpaceX's rockets are going to save the government (and every commercial launcher) a bucket of bundles of bucks. Even China has admitted it can't match SpaceX's prices. And Elon is working to reduce them by a factor of 1000, by making all stages re-usable, and able to do soft touchdowns on land.

jkirkebo | October 7, 2012

100k in taxes in 10 years ? Wow, you do have low taxes...

portia | October 7, 2012

@nwdiver93 like your response!

portia | October 7, 2012

How about asking him if he said the same thing to all the other EV's getting the $7500 rebate? Ford Focus, Nissan Leaf, Toyota RAV4 and lots more? If it's the rebate he is complaining about. If he is complaining about the loan, Tesla only got $465M, Ford got $5.9 Billion, Nissan got $1.6 billion, and Fisker got $528Million, all more than Tesla, it's a loan.

petero | October 7, 2012

Politics aside. If the US government hadn't made the commitment to put a man on the moon, our technology advances and quality of life would be significantly less.

jerry3 | October 7, 2012

petero -- If the US government hadn't made the commitment to put a man on the moon, our technology advances and quality of life would be significantly less.

Quite right. Most of us owe our jobs to the space program. Integrated circuits were not going to be produced because transistors were "good enough". However, NASA realized that ICs were much more durable and much lighter in weight so they had them manufactured. Without NASA the computer revolution might never have happened or would have happened years later.

Unfortunately, one of the U.S. political parties is anti-science, anti-education, and pro-superstition so that they can have cheap labour from an uneducated populace.

Captain_Zap | October 7, 2012

Before 1930 power companies refused to deliver electricity to farms and rural communities in Washington State.

Through a grassroots Democratic process, the Washington State Grange sponsored the very first initiative to the Washington State legislature. This was the Public Utility District initiative and there are 28 PUD’s in Washington State to this day.

Sometimes private companies need to be prodded to provide what the community needs or wants. Others just need an incentive. If that doesn't work then a public solution needs to be initiated.

Tesla is helping solve our society's issues on a number of levels.

Volker.Berlin | October 7, 2012

+1 petero, on Don Quixote.

Brian H | October 8, 2012

ICs made compact cheap circuitry possible. No one would have noticed unless the gubmint told them.


mrspaghetti | October 8, 2012

Brian H +1

I wouldn't even know how to sneeze if Kathleen Sebelius hadn't shown me how...

Michael37 | October 8, 2012

tesla.mrspaghet: I've driven a RAV4-EV for a decade. It's not super fun, but it's perfectly practical and a wonderful car. Please don't bad-mouth other EVs that certainly don't deserve it.

As for the OP: I would have been horribly tempted to say, "Dear God, somebody as dumb and ugly as you gets paid enough to pay taxes?!" But, that's probably not a good strategy for an uneventful day. I like the idea of just giving him a penny and telling him that was his share. No point in trying to foist more math on somebody like that.

mrspaghetti | October 9, 2012


I'm sure you think it's a wonderful car, but that's because you're willing to make sacrifices around it. Most people aren't willing to do that, which is why a car like that is never going to catch on outside the circle of true believers.

And I know you may not think of yourself as making sacrifices, but you are. You can't use that car for everything most people take for granted with an ICE vehicle, which is why no one else wants one.

It's also more expensive than a regular RAV4 and has none of the luxury features or sexy styling of the Model S, so there's really no reason to pay more for it - again, unless you're one of the faithful.

That's what I mean by 'not practical'.

archibaldcrane | October 9, 2012

It really just depends on what your driving patterns are. Some people literally never leave a 50 mile radius in their car. Practical is a very, very subjective assessment.

stephen.pace | October 9, 2012

I think there are a good range of responses on this thread. I like the penny toss idea, but I really prefer to think of the tax credit another way:

First, you probably pay more taxes than this guy does, so you are providing more overall benefit to the 'greater good' than he is. Next, you only get to keep the $7500 if you are already paying it. So if you pay $30k in taxes, the government is saying, "we'll take the money you owe, but if you want, you can keep $7500 OF THE MONEY YOU ARE ALREADY PAYING US and do something in both of our interests, which is to reduce our reliance on foreign oil." That can be buying a Volt, or a Leaf, or yes, a Tesla Model S. In many ways, though, the Model S is a more important vehicle for getting us off oil because it is really the first EV that--price notwithstanding--the public sees as a practical daily driver. It has enough range, power, and space to meet most needs in a package that people want. Or aspire to.

Proving out the Model S gets us to Model X and GenIII, which helps meet more use cases at (ultimately) a lower price point.

Last, this guy is a grade A jerk, and while you could go on and on about many of these topics, as many of said here, life is too short to try and fix every one of them. Enjoy the car--there are many of us here in Texas that are in the same boat you are, and I've gotten way more positive feedback than negative so far. I'm sure your positive experiences will be the norm.

larmorfreq | October 9, 2012

In case this wasn't mentioned, it costs oil producers $2.00 to make a BARREL of oil. I'd rather support us government backed startup.

60 minutes:

mrspaghetti | October 9, 2012

And back on the topic of the thread, another legit response would be, "What aren't your tax dollars paying for nowadays?"

mrspaghetti | October 9, 2012

@larmorfreq: it costs oil producers $2.00 to make a BARREL of oil

Keep in mind that gasoline is derived from oil, so you get considerably less than a barrel of gasoline from a barrel of oil. Also keep in mind that you have refine the oil, put in additives and transport the stuff all over God's good earth. That takes pipelines, refineries, supertankers, storage tanks, trucks, lots of skilled and unskilled labor, etc. That stuff all costs money, which is why it's not $2 for a barrel of gas, if that's what you were implying it should be.

Oh, and don't forget all the taxes and costs imposed by regulatory requirements.

vouteb | October 9, 2012


would it be too much to ask to post a really good photo from the bar in the sunroof from the back seat?


olanmills | October 9, 2012

"Oh, so that's what my tax money is paying for."

Sadly, the way things are, I think you could look at anything or anyone and say that.

stephen.pace | October 9, 2012

@BestbrokerinDallas: Tonight I went to my local TexMex for a quick bite and luckily found a place right near the door. I started to get out and a guy came up very excited about the car. We ended up talking for 30 minutes, he sat in the car (he was a real car guy, and his buddy is on the board of Fisker), and then offered to buy me a margarita while his group arrived. Long story short, they bought me dinner (I tried to pay) and they were very nice folks. As we sat there, people came in and quite a few took photos of the car. More positivity!

Michael S | October 9, 2012

My comeback is (and will always be) the bumper sticker I had designed for the back of VIN 76: OPERATION OF THIS VEHICLE DOES NOT FUND INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM. Ask Mr. Tax Money if he can say the same of his car.

Brian H | October 9, 2012

@Michael S;

But do keep in mind: only 45% of oil is now import (and dropping), and about 1/4 of that comes from the Gulf. Canada sends about as much as all those countries put together.