Horrible Forbes article

Horrible Forbes article

Ok I've calmed down slightly. This article is severely misleading.
"With The Tesla Model S, Elon Musk Has Created A Nice Fossil Fuel Car"

Even his comments about "$7500 contributed involuntarily by my fellow citizens as a result of government subsidies" are simply not true.

SamO | 25 août 2013

My brain wants to explode with the inescapably illogical things written.

Don't both with shills and trolls.

Anyone advocating for finite vs renewable energy has their head firmly planted in their rear.

sharpe222 | 25 août 2013

Fox News type crap

SamO | 25 août 2013


GeirT | 25 août 2013

"Look how cool I am. I can argue from a different angle!"

AmpedRealtor | 25 août 2013

We are now paying the price for decades of public education budget cuts.

KOL2000 | 25 août 2013

Even if his argument was true I still couldn't care less. Best car I ever drove even if the batteries were made out of dead puppies or coal or whatever :)

SamO | 25 août 2013


Lol +1

NomoDinos | 25 août 2013

KOL2000 - abso-friggin'-lutely. I'm going to request they not use clubbed baby seals to power mine, but if they say no... hey, what can I do about it?

Tâm | 25 août 2013

It's an old boring and invalid argument.

What new is the critics are clueless about Tesla.

In the very early time, there were more environmentalists who would drive a Tesla for a cause.

However, more and more, Tesla is for every one, from the 1 percenter to the penny pincher, from Democrats to Republicans, even for ICE people who found out that Tesla can give them instant torque and speed and instant Tesla grin!

Many do not care how the car is fueled. A drummer just wants to put all the drums and music instruments in a vehicle and none does better than the Model S, not ICE SUV, not minivan.

Others don't care about ICE or EV, they just want to protect their families by driving in a tank-like protection of NHTSA's highest rating and more (why settle for 5.0 when you can get 5.4).

Others don't care what runs the car, the just instantly fall in love with the sexy look, the high tech, the future...

so on and on...

Cindy I II III | 25 août 2013

Well, if the $7,500 doesn't come from tax payers, where does it come from?

He did not read Elon's answer re coal electricity - it's much more efficient use of fossil fuel due to efficiency associated with power plant structure that allows heat to be the captured.

The battery technology is constantly improving, hope this will constantly reduce its carbon foot print.

Lastly, the author was blurring the line between correlation and causation when talking about life expectancy and fossle fuel.

plpham123 | 25 août 2013

The writer of this article makes valid and compelling arguments. Most of our electricity at present is derived from burning fossil fuels. Renewable fuels such as wind power, solar, geothermal, etc. make a very small percentage of our energy usage. Nuclear power is promising in that it produces no CO2 emissions but there is the inherent risk with storing nuclear waste and the potential for plant failures and meltdowns. So currently, the energy we use to power our EV's is primarily derived from burning fossil fuels. However, I believe the electric motor and the ability to recuperate the kinetic energy in EV's makes electric cars much more energy efficient compared to ICE. ICE vehicles are becoming much more fuel efficient but cannot match EV's. Up until now, I have not had a compelling reason to buy a hybrid or EV's. The performance, styling and incorporated technology has won me over. The additional attraction is that I can refuel at home.

NVJoule | 25 août 2013

Whether the electricity is generated by natural gas, coal, hydroelectric, wind, solar, or nuclear, it's generated domestically, and not funding terrorism, as with oil. Protecting our proprietary interests in the Middle East is costly. IMO, the $7500 incentive is money well spent.

SamO | 25 août 2013


The purchaser of the Tesla Model S has paid the taxes already and then gets them refunded.

So the "taxpayer" doesn't pay for the credit except the taxpayer that bought the car.

S4WRXTTCS | 25 août 2013

The problem with this article is its focus and obsession on the right now.

For example it says the replacement battery is $30,000 but that's isn't even close to what the battery will cost approximately 8 years later when you might need to replace the battery. It's not even close to what Tesla themselves charge today (12K for the 85KW, and 10K for the 60KW) to pre-order a replacement battery.

I'd also like the Author of this article to give up all the money he has ever gotten back from the IRS for deducting the taxes on his mortgage because he is obviously against government incentives to push people into certain behaviors. He should also give up money given for any kids he might have.

He also leaves out what's happened in Germany in regards to renewable energy. The share of electricity produced from renewable energy was about 25 percent in the first half of 2012, and it's estimated to be about 35% by 2020 (Wikipedia is the source for these estimates).

Mark K | 25 août 2013

Wow, that was bad!

What encouraging though, is that those who diss the car and company have to resort to saying things that are not true.

If they stick to what's true, they invariably make the case for ditching your gas car.

Forbes drags down their credibility by publishing this rot. It didn't do NYT any good.

jbunn | 25 août 2013

Well, it is an OpEd piece, which means any bonehead with a soapbox can write one. I read the article, but the twisted logic made me dizzy.

Brian H | 25 août 2013

The US is now so close to energy independence that it is contributing little or nothing to the ME. Dead issue.

Tâm | 25 août 2013


Thank goodness that California came to its senses to close down San Onofre nuclear plant.

It is reckless to turn a simple concept of boiling water into something so toxic and dangerous of a nuclear plant

Nuclear is touted as cheap and environmentally friendly but ignoring the fact of the unsolvable problem of spending money, time, health and civilization in the hope of outlive nuclear waste.

Man-made Plutonium-239 has a 250,000-year half-life and that’s longer than Homo sapiens has been around. Uranium-238 with a 4.5 billion-year half-life and that’s the lifespan of Planet Earth.
Department Of Energy (DOE) already spent $13.5 billion on the now defunct Yucca Mountain nuclear waste storage facility.

DOE spent $12.2 billion so far to construct Hanford, Washington facility by 2022 to temporarily process excess radioactive waste and let the next generation to figure out what to do with it in 40-100 years.

The bill for nuclear waste cleanup in the US is easily about 400 billion dollars over 75 years.

There seems to be no amount of money to control the waste of nuclear plants and there seems to be no human time or even earth time to outlast its invisible but harmful radioactivity.

There are people who do not learn from history: No more Vietnam would result in much more Iraq, Afghanistan.

Series of nuclear accidents would result in much more nuclear revival:

Windscale Pile, Great Britain—INES Level 5, 1957: Over 16 tons of uranium fuel remains in the reactor; it will be decontaminated in 2037.

Jaslovske Bohunice, Slovakia—INES Level 4, 1977: Overheat. Estimated decontamination time by 2033.

3 Mile Island, Pennsylvania—INES Level 5, 1979: Partial meltdown.

Chernobyl, Ukraine—INES Level 7, 1986: The estimated cost of containing the disaster was $235 billion. Chernobyl Atomic Energy Station, claimed that you can happily live there again in 20,000 years.

Tokaimura, Japan—INES Level 4, 1999: Containment tank to overfill, Two of died of high levels of radiation.

Fukushima, Japan—INES Level 7, 2011: Reactor One Hydrogen explosion. Reactors two and three full meltdown. As of today, 2 years later, radiation leak is still not contained.

jbunn | 25 août 2013

Tam, if you're keeping a list

December 12, 1952 - Partial meltdown of the Chalk River Canada NRX experimental reactor core. Millions of liters of radioactive water escaped the cooling system.

In 1958, the NRU reactor in the same facility had a fuel rupture and fire starting another major cleanup effort. Granted, these were experimental early models, and things are getting safer, but we are pulling the dragon's beard.

RZippel | 26 août 2013

Face it, the article is right in many ways. Or might be. Everything is speculation until someone calculates the full life-cycle (incl. production, raw material mining, energy production incl. plant, etc.) CO2 output caused by a car. Also depending on assumptions about lifetime mileage, etc.

The "environmental footprint" would also include poisonous materials used or created, etc. So you will find, like in that article and here, a lot of beliefs instead of facts.

My belief ;-) is that showing the will to the industry to change something for a lower environmental footprint is the intrinsic value here. I lack a scientific basis for any other statements.

Would be a great topic for a PhD thesis wouldn't it. Real, scientific, based on research and facts, comparisons. But there the belief part would be how the footprint is defined and what assumptions to use... I guess there are already many with more or less scientific value around...

SamO | 26 août 2013


Here's renaut's research apples-to-apples comparison of Fluence v Fluence ZE

Here is the Union of Concerned Scientists Report "State of Charge"

Bottom Line: EVs are better than the best ICE (Prius) even when burning pure coal. They only get even better as the grid moves from dirty to clean.

The Forbes OP/ED doesn't cite any of these sources because they are inconvenient.

RZippel | 26 août 2013

Thought so, thanks SamoSam. You might questions some of the assumptions and the most critical one, comparing a car that exists as ICE and EV in the same class. If you compare a small diesel engine compact to the MS P85 I assume from those reports that you would find out that the MS has a much higher footprint. This is not apples to apples in terms of car but it is in terms of getting from A to B, ignoring comfort, safety, etc. The Diesel and UK ZE already are not so far apart...

I would love to see such a comparison between volume models from compact to luxury. The MS would easily beat an S-Class with similar performance in Environmental Footprint I assume, but a Polo 1.2 TDI blue motion for 17k€?

Tiebreaker | 26 août 2013

Oil shill.

RIP, journalism.

SamO | 26 août 2013


It doesn't matter.

In that the evidence is already in. If you have to carry your fuel in liquid form, then the reaction cannot be as efficient as battery EV.

Game over.

Doesn't matter if you are comparing a Polo. Every single EV is better for the environment.

Gas/Diesel loses.

In terms of gross emissions. In terms of efficiency. In terms of overall environmental impact.

Read the report from UoCS.

AmpedRealtor | 26 août 2013

The introductory paragraph is so misleading that I did not even bother reading the rest of the piece. Anyone who wears an "I love fossil fuels" shirt obviously has his head so far up his ass that he can't see the light of day. He may as well have worn an "I love cigarettes" shirt while visiting a cancer ward.

In Arizona 1/3 of our energy comes from coal, 1/3 from nuclear and about the same from natural gas. I put a 14 kWh solar array on my roof to offset grid usage and it keeps my vehicle charged during the day and whatever the car draws at night has already been banked through daily solar overproduction back to the grid.

The people who write these sorts of articles are clearly uneducated idiots. Anyone who wears an "I love fossil fuels" shirt and brags about it needs some psychological counseling.

cloroxbb | 26 août 2013

I think the point of the article is that the author obviously doesn't do any research before posting. Just another person that writes fluff piece just to misinform the normal "ignorant" consumer about Tesla Model S.

I would hope that Tesla fans or people looking at Tesla would be smart enough to do their own research. :)

RZippel | 26 août 2013


Sorry but this kind of arguing doesn't help the cause I think. If I don't drive at all then the efficiency of the chemical to kinetic energy conversion is irrelevant. So it will always be a question of car production footprint vs. smaller footprint of the energy production / consumption. My parents e.g. should not have a car at all, they could even just financially hire a chauffeur every time they use it. So for them, a car with a small production footprint would be much more environmentally friendly. But the best mile is not one in a EV but one not traveled.

I can only suggest to avoid such generalizations that the opposition will just use to prove wrong with individual examples. And by this win credibility they don't deserve. The material you quote is excellent to make the point it really allows to make.

I would rather admit that you need to look at driving patterns and type of car and then you can find the best one. And yes, it might not be a EV in every case. So what? It will be in most.

If you want a 400+, 600nm luxury limo. with a lot of trunk space and range, no way to beat the MS. If you want the most environmentally friendly option to get from A to B and you rarely use it then maybe a small ICE is better. Again, so what?

But don't get me wrong, if I compare a little generalization in the EV fraction to a guy with a "I love fossil fuels" T-Shire, my opinion who is a danger to society is clear ;-) That is why my MS arrives in December and I even went through the effort to have Tesla defined as a vendor for our company fleet and get chargers into the office's parking garages. So you preach to the converted, but a converted with a degree in physics and the associated love for scientific proof vs. beliefs...

sia | 26 août 2013

+1 @AmpedRealtor!

This article ignores many things, including total future cost of burning fossil fuels, and proliferation of solar power.

Like you, my home and model S power comes from solar. Driving on Sunshine!

Bigtexun | 26 août 2013

For those worried about nuclear waste, consider this... The nuclear fuel in the environment is a present danger where it sits, and creates places named for that danger, such as Poison Canyon. The natural radioactive sources leak into wells, and poison the Oceans. Just like gold and other minerals, the natural ocean cycles cause these poisons to be concentrated, stored in sequestered deposits for millions of years, only to be exposed by erosion and washed back into the ocean. This cycle has been going on for a long time. What Man has done is accelerate the erosion process, concentrate the poisons into a usable form, then produce waste in need of sequestration. We have not created a new problem, we are only aware of a problem that has existed since the birth of life on this planet. The problem isn't that we don't know what to do, the problem is that we have political problems preventing us from doing it right. And even if we ARE able to do it right, there is a stigma attached because of past mistakes, as well as politics.

I think nuclear power is an excellent source of energy, but the governments of the earth are too immature to deal with it, or any other form of energy. We are too immature to survive as a species, given where we are in consuming our resources, and progressing our society. Hopefully we can slow our damage to the planet long enough to mature as a global society while we are still viable. As an "advanced" space faring society, we have many challenges if we are to win out over our eventual extinction. And our energy culture is one of the first challenges, one of many. Cars like the Tesla are part of the solution, but only if the other parts of the solution are developed.

The Author of the article has his numbers wrong, and his logic can be questioned. But there is a thread of truth to some of the issues, and those issues need continual support to be successfully addressed.

SamO | 26 août 2013


You are punching a straw-man that doesn't exist in any of my comments.

If you don't drive at all then why write "If you compare a small diesel engine compact to the MS P85 I assume from those reports that you would find out that the MS has a much higher footprint."

I thought our comparisons are for cars. Not car vs. on foot. Cost doesn't enter into the equation of efficiency.

The Model S is more EFFICIENT than any ICE car.

It will last longer than any ICE car (this is speculative, but we know the batteries have ~3000 full discharges to get to 70% capacity). 3000 discharges of my 60kWh MS is 600,000 miles.

There are 1000 fewer moving parts. No oil to change. Fewer brakes to change due to regen. No fluids except windshield wiper. No belts. No plugs.

The car is made of recycled aluminum. Aluminum does not rust like steel, so the chassis should last 100 years.

I don't mean to sound cruel, but did you even have a point? Your degree in physics hasn't helped you in the least understand the full impact that a low-maintenence, long-lasting, zero tailpipe emission vehicle provides.

From AAA, here are the keys to a long-lived car.

1. Regular oil changes
2. Monitor the key fluids
3. Maintain the transmission
4. Change the plugs as needed
5a. Watch and care for the timing belt (if applicable)
5b. Watch and replace timing belt
6. Do not forget the radiator
7. Remember the filters
8. Fight rust
9. Know and use your maintenance manual
10. Drive with habits that don't take years off the car

Notice that 1-8 don't apply to Tesla Model S. Guess the cars will last forever.

Instead you pull a bait-and-switch and change the subject to your parents who should be taking taxis instead of driving themselves.

Production footprint is only helpful if you can divine how long a regular ICE vehicle will stay on the road.

Since the car has been on the road for 1 year, there still is not enough data. But the data that DOES EXIST points to the very small footprint of the Model S.

RZippel | 26 août 2013


Cool down ;-) I just indicated that the usage needs to be included, proof being the (extreme end of the possible) scenario of just production, no usage, where no matter what the usage efficiency is, the car that has a smaller environmental production footprint will be the more environment friendly one. And then there might be a point in time that changes based on usage efficiency. My parents being an example for very low usage where this might never happen.

Well, lets re-discuss this after we know how long the batteries really last before they need replacement because the range is too low. I guess there is a reason why the nice Tesla battery warranty doesn't state a capacity guarantee. Also, your discharge calculation with the 600.000 miles again is not based on facts but belief and wanting to make a point (and that is my point ;-)

Li-Ion Cells age, no matter if used or not. No matter if stored at 50% charge. You can make it better or worse. So time is a factor, not just charging / discharging / storage charge.

No offense taken but also without wanting to sound cruel (whatever that means), there is a difference between there being no point and you not getting it... You want to believe something and pick the parts of the facts that support it. I call this the "Michael Moore" syndrome although he doesn't believe but wants to make others believe...

mvannah | 26 août 2013

Brian H; When the US withdraws the Fifth Fleet from the Strait of Hormuz and no longer feels it necessary to defend the oil supply there from hostile forces, then it will be a dead issue. Until that time, we are indirectly subsidizing oil.

jonesxander | 26 août 2013

I'll chime in and say that this guy is just a sensationalist. Why wear your oil T shirt when you know you're going into a Tesla shop?

Was it the next shirt on your rack? Or did you purposefully wear it to illicit some kind of reaction, so that you might have a reason to mention it in the article?

This is the definition of a troll.


redacted | 26 août 2013

One more thing to add, one can often (and I intend to do so) buy one's electricity from renewables. For $5/200KW (2.5 cents per KWH) extra, my utility buys power from renewables instead (primarily wind here in Illinois). Boom, no carbon there. Can't help the battery's carbon footprint though.

RZippel | 26 août 2013


I switched to 100% hydro power from Norway last year already but sadly the renewable power plants (like the hydro plant and dam in Norway delivering mine) don't come free of CO2. But much less than the energy mix I had before. And no matter how low in CO2, although I think fission power is better than coal, etc. I still don't trust human kind to run such plants so I don't want it. We seem stupid enough to build them next to the coastline on the pacific fire ring, clever species...

If the energy density would just be better than max. 200Wh/kg (I guess the Tesla battery will only be around 100Wh/kg) that would be great. We have to carry almost 4kg of batteries for a mile (assuming 400Wh/mile it would be 4, so more 3-3.6) and could do with a few hundred grams of Hydrogen or Methane. That would make the MS handle so much better... So again I don't pretend an environmental motivation, although consumption would go down with weight a little, I admit I would just like a lighter car in corners ;-)

justineet | 26 août 2013

He's a hack for the well established industries in the oil and auto sectors!

Tesla-David | 26 août 2013

@Tam +1, agree totally with your points on nuclear power.

@redacted & @RZippel + 1
I am solarized with solar panels. So all the electrons fueling my MS come from solar energy generated from my roof (net producer).

KDF | 26 août 2013

Hi all,

I am not sure if brown paper bags changed hands before Mr Epstein wrote his s&%tty and flawed piece of journalism or if he's just plain stupid?

As if the internal combustion engine industry never received any help from the involuntary tax payers in the last 100 years all over the world?

And if it was up to most EV or TESLA customers I am sure most would gladly have panels on their roofs and encourage the workplace they commute to to do the same to drive on 100% renewable energy.

Of course there will be some sort of fossil fuel burning happening in the foreseeable future for industry to keep on functioning, but someone needs to take the first step to change the direction...

How else can we tell the up and coming third world countries to watch their emissions if we don't lead by example?

I moved from Germany to Australia 13 years ago and still can't believe how much people here are lacking behind in political will to change direction to renewables.

Probably the brown paper bags again...

Best regards from Down Under