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)...

bp | 10. oktober 2012

By purchasing a Model S, you're actually helping the company be successful - so they can repay the federal loan...

petero | 10. oktober 2012

Michael S. You may wish to rethink your bumper sticker. I will defend your freedom of speech and your message, however, I question your wisdom. First, the ‘S’ is rolling art, a bumper sticker will not improve the aesthetics. Second, why paint a bullseye on your ‘S’ for the idiots to focus on?

Less is more. Knowing you are in the right, is reward enough.

mrspaghetti | 10. oktober 2012


Agreed. It's for that reason I don't even put bumper stickers even on my current crappy car. I wouldn't dream of spoiling a Model S with one - kind of like hanging a T-shirt on the Venus de Milo.

STEVEZ | 10. oktober 2012

Ah, Texas. I'd be tempted to tell the jerk, "I see you chose to drink the Kool-Aid, too." But I would probably leave it at, "At least I pay enough in taxes to get some of my money back on the rebate. Meanwhile, in buying this car I'm helping Tesla pay back their DOE loan to reduce your tax burden, to create thousands of well-paid American jobs, and to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Which of those things don't you like?"

Amazingly, here in CO my Sig Red S has yet to draw a comment of any kind, positive or negative. Seen some turned heads, though.

petero | 10. oktober 2012

mrspaghet... Thanks, however, I may reconsider and put one of those smiling faces… No wait, that’s me with the smiling face. Never mind.

CraigT | 10. oktober 2012

I have owned and driven many exotic cars. You get one of two types of comments. The first are from people who appreciate cars and are happy that you spend the time to talk with or educate them while the second type are like the person you encountered.

The arguments vary but in many cases the underlying issue is that the perception is that you are part of the 1% and they are not. You are not going to win that debate and a flippant comment just confirms the opinion.

I ignore the comments and move on, I have more important things to worry about at any given time.

olanmills | 10. oktober 2012

@Michael S

In addition to the othe rcomments people made about your potential bumper I also think it's a bad idea because I find it to be very insensitive. I understand that you may not have been thinking this way, but the option to buy a Model S or even a Volt or a Leaf is not even close to possible for most of the people who will see your bumper sticker. Even if your statement was true, what are the people who see your bumper sticker supposed to take away from that? "Oh I should save up six figures and buy a car with it to make the world a better place!" ?
No, most likely, if they're just going to resent you for trying to suggest that you're a better person than they are because you have the money to buy a Model S, regardless of whether you're "the 1%" or if you're a public school teacher who saved money for 10 years to get a Model S, it doesn't matter. That kind of bumper sticker may sound cute to some people, but to others, it will make you look like a jerk, and, if you worry about nothing else, at least worry about the fact that fairly or unfairly, it might make you or your car a target.

jkhfung | 11. oktober 2012

I would say..."I can pay for yours if you get one."

prash.saka | 11. oktober 2012

@Michael S

Saying that "Buying oil from the Middle East funds terrorism" is akin to saying "Watching a Hollywood funds pedophiles in the US Catholic church".

~ Prash.

olanmills | 11. oktober 2012

Sign me up!!!!

BYT | 12. oktober 2012

@Prash, it's a lot more complicated then that. Although you can say that not all Middle Eastern Countries or their leadership does not support terrorist or extremist activity. The fact remains that we are flooding money into a region that would have otherwise been a huge dust bowl and nothing more if it wasn't for oil. We don't send our troops to many other countries to stop the inhumanity that occurs there. I am not saying we go to the oil rich countries to fight solely for the oil. What I am saying as that it a pretty big coincidence. History proves countries will go to war for things far less important then natural resources. My parents were actually born in the region and there are really good people there, like anywhere! But there are also really bad, misguided, ignorant and heavy influenced people as well that can do a lot of damage given the funds needed to do so. They already have the motivation and with stupid videos put out on YouTube, they build even more of an extremist following everyday. Propaganda has always been a great manipulator disguised as a motivator.

prash.saka | 12. oktober 2012

@BYT, while I agree with some of your reasoning, I feel that it applies to pretty much every country. Of course, except Antarctica.

~ Prash.

DanD | 12. oktober 2012

"Well yes, and I hope you enjoyed it when President Obama opened up the strategic oil reserve"

David M. | 12. oktober 2012

Ask for compassion: "I'm neither in the 1 percent or the middle class, or the 47 percent. I'm in the 5 percent, so I guess neither political party is looking out for me. I need tax savings wherever I can find it."

jinglehyme | 19. oktober 2012

"talk to the hand - looser"

If someone is that uninformed - or that addicted to FOX news.

"talk to the hand - looser"

Brian H | 19. oktober 2012

Actually, it's "loser". Don't spell like one.

HansJ | 20. oktober 2012

I have my top 10 list of responses ready

10) I gave my tax credit to the food bank, got a problem with that?
9) believe me, I put more money in this car than you did
8) what do you drive....(pause for response)...oh, I'm sorry.
7) what do you drive.... (Jerk says GM or Chrysler product)... Hey, you should be thanking me!
6) the sales tax is higher than the tax credit
5) you pay taxes? Dude, you need to hire a better accountant!
4) it's a corporate lease so I have to thank BP and the people of the Gulf Coast
3) I'm Canadian
2) oh it's not mine, this is Ron Regan's car
1) if you work hard, someday this technology will trickle down to you too

Michael23 | 20. oktober 2012

Anyone have good responses that won't get me keyed? Thx! I live in sf where I've seen someone burn a car with a cig because the owner corrected them on the make.

jerry3 | 20. oktober 2012


There is really no way to protect yourself against envy. Anyone who would damage a car out of spite will do that whether they talk to you or not.

Thumper | 20. oktober 2012

I've been thinking about this thread and think hostile reactions to the Mod S are a "teachable moment". The oligarchs have trained us to see each other as the enemy. When someone gives a dig about the tax credit or DOE loan, if we have the time, we can gently say something like "I'd like to hear more of your ideas about Tesla". Engage them and listen. They probably don't know what they are talking about and have just been programed to deliver a hostile one-liner. Discuss the relative merits of government subsidies. Remind them that the DOE loan is a LOAN! Mention that Tesla is an American company show them the car. etc. Be gentle and respectful, otherwise we are just playing into the oligarchs' hand.

jerry3 | 20. oktober 2012


Unfortunately, many people equate government loan to gift. Reason generally doesn't work with them.

Brian H | 20. oktober 2012

"Tesla is very grateful for the loan, and plans to pay it back early, with interest. It sped up the development of its new models, like the crossover. Heard about the Model X? "

Note, though, that the loan is not the same as the tax deduction. Different discussion.
"Yeah, it's a help. But it only lasts long enough to jumpstart the EV industry, which is creating lots of good jobs to compete with the European and Japanese companies also in the biz. In fact, Tesla is far and away the most advanced maker in the world right now, and potentially should really dominate the EV industry if it makes it!"

Vawlkus | 22. oktober 2012

Just ask them why they hate America. American company, American parts, American car. If they hate it, they are hating on America.

Won't work for me, I'm Canadian :P

jeanyvest | 22. oktober 2012


Mind you that the car has not enough "buit in America" parts, so we Canadians, have to pay an import much for NAFTA...

jerry3 | 03. november 2012


Well, NAFTA was really just a way to ship U.S. and Canadian jobs to Mexico.

SSL161 | 04. november 2012

In the nearly four weeks that we have had our S, I've only had positive responses from strangers, but this forum has been a good primer just in case it happens to me.

I'll go with:
- No comment
- To a gentle education.

This will depend on my mood, availability, or how open that person is to a reasoned conversation.

No point in making more enemies than we need.

--- Cherif

JThompson | 14. desember 2012

Guys & Gals, this is BY FAR the best Forum topic I have seen. PLEASE keep them coming! I get my Model S Performance in a week or so, and I want to be sure I am prepared for comments here in the Wash DC area. So far everyone seems really excited and pumped for me...we'll see!

dstiavnicky | 14. desember 2012

Jealously is best answered with silence.

shop | 14. desember 2012

Geez guys, as a Certified Right Winger here, I'd say the best reply is a polite one. Politeness disarms people, and you can use it as an opportunity to further evangelize this wonder car/company. The $7500 rebate/subsidy can be seen as what DARPA did for the early Internet - Tesla is truly innovating and the government is helping incubate it. Far better use of money than other much more expensive subsidies like farm subsidies. The DOE loan is being paid back, and Tesla is in fact past cash break even, so no need for a bailout there.

Anyways, look for ways to unite people, not further divide us...

EcLectric | 14. desember 2012

Well said, @shop. You are a credit to your 'wing'.

Michael S | 14. desember 2012

Unfortunately, the right wing rails against things like science, progress, clean energy, new technology (unless its for the oil or military industries), etc.

But that said, I have two born-again friends: One who is convinced the world is 12,000 years old and the other who thinks the first one is an idiot. Both really dig my Model S. So I already see a rift in the right wing pathos.

As long as the Right is alligned with Big Oil, then the electric car has an uphill battle. The best tool to change the dialogue is the car itself. Once one drives it, it becomes real (and desirable) regardless of your political or religious beliefs.

Change is inevitable. For some it comes too fast, for others too slow. Heck, friend #1 is thinking of getting solar panels!!!

Soflauthor | 14. desember 2012

I've had my Model S for a little over 2 months and have yet to encounter a single negative comment. I'm asked about ithe car every day (in fact, it can be problematic when you're in a hurry), but it's always positive comments or legitimate questions about range, maintenance, etc. I live in a red state, but it seems that the Model S draws smiles across the board.

BYT | 14. desember 2012

This morning I had one lady stop traffic and asked me to roll down my window. I thought she was lost and needed directions but nope, she just wanted to know what kind of car I was driving. I wanted her to clear the road so I just gave her a prompt reply that it's a Tesla build in Fremont. She said it's a beautiful car and went on her way. Once traffic cleared I was also able to pull out... :)

shop | 14. desember 2012

Please @Michael S, the right wing does not rail against science, progress, clean energy or new technology. Just, as I imagine, lefties don't all want to live in sustainable mud huts and force everyone to bike to work as a conflict resolution advisor :-) Stereotypes, especially incorrect ones, help no one.

Just to clear up some misconceptions, though, since I can't help myself, and apologies if I'm taking this thread in a bad direction.

Right wingers don't rail against clean energy, they rail against subsidies for clean energy. Raising everyone's energy costs by 50% (for example) is a huge cost with at best questionable benefits, and at worse, negative benefits. That subsidy money could better be spent wiping out malaria, just to pick a random example. I like clean energy, especially nuclear, and it annoys me no end when environmentalists block things like the Yucca nuclear waste disposal facility and try to shut down the nuclear industry. Wind and solar are OK, except there are rarely acknowledged costs there too in that they both take up, and spoil, large amounts of land, and of course, the electricity produced is expensive.

The comment about "science" is probably meant to jab right wingers about global warming, renamed, I guess, to climate change (which is funny since climate changes whether humans are around or not, see Ice Age). Humans are undoubtedly increasing co2 in the atmosphere (but note, not anywhere near as much at there was in the times of the dinosaurs), but it is still an unproven theory whether this actually affects temperature averages, and even past this warming theory, whether such temperature changes are significant (ie. will actually cause catastrophic things to occur).

I have no idea where the stereotypes of right wingers being against progress or technology come from, unless you are lumping lack of belief of catastrophic anthropomorphic climate change into those categories?

Anyways, I think we can all agree that the Model S is a great car regardless of other beliefs. Go Elon, even if you are an enviro wacko who wants to live on Mars (<--- RIGHT WING HUMOR!)

Mel. | 14. desember 2012

Shop,very well put. Very nice that you took the time to explain .

Gator | 14. desember 2012

Thank you Shop. I am tired of leftist BS. Illiteracy can be cured.

@Michael S. I did not appreciate your post. You attack one political group, then the God-fearing Christians. You come across as a snide elitist and a political hack. I worked with these types while at Google. I understand this is what the left does, but I would hope for a more intellectual conversation on these forums.

oh, I have a solar PV system on my house and am Christian and right libertarian ideology. I also own TSLA and now SCTY Solar City stock. Love SpaceX.

Anyway. Back On Topic, who cares what others think of the car. It is what I choose to own and drive.

Brian H | 14. desember 2012

You sound so drenched in leftist cartoon caricatures it's a wonder you can navigate your living room. Equating scams and rent-seeker fads with "science and progress" is worse than mental laziness; it's like putting a sign on your brain saying "Kick Me".

Comparison: At the point NASA had spent $1.6 bn on one incomplete Orion prototype, Musk and SpaceX had spent $0.8 bn from company sod-turning to 2 successful Dragon launches/recoveries. And the Dragon capsule is likely a far better vehicle than the Orion will ever be (superior propulsion on-board, launch to orbit abort and landing capacity, etc.). The comparison is a wee bit unfair, I admit, because Musk is so exceptional, one of those multi-generation game changers and shapers, but government science and "inventiveness" accrue bureaucratic barnacles much faster than anything else.

Sudre_ | 14. desember 2012

And here you guys go all proving the exact point. There are extremist on both sides. Stop lumping everyone on one side or the other. Actually there are probably far more people in the middle than on any one side.

FYI a theory is a theory until it becomes scientific law or gets dis-proven. Global (whatever) has not been dis-proven yet. shop be careful not to end up on the right winger side :-) Brain H should have caught it. You can take the 'unproven' part out because that is what a theory is by definition.

shs | 14. desember 2012

The greenhouse effect caused by atmospheric CO2 has been understood by scientists since 1820 when it was predicted (correctly) that the atmospheric CO2 provided a greenhouse warming of about 60° In 1890 it was understood that man’s burning of fossil fuel could and would increase the level of atmospheric CO2 and hence global temperatures. In the 1950s scientific measurements showed clearly that atmospheric CO2 was increasing and that the new CO2 came from fossil fuel sources. There is a strong correlation between CO2 levels and global temperatures over many centuries.

No doubt many swings in the earths climate in the past were caused by many factors including CO2 levels, just as there is no doubt that man’s burning fossil fuels today is responsible for our current warming trend and many of the extreme weather events we are currently experiencing.

The cause/effect relationship between burning fossil fuel and climate change may not be as direct a causation as when you punch someone in the nose. George Latkoff calls this less direct causation a systemic causation, a concept with which we are all familiar: Smoking is a systemic cause of lung cancer. HIV is a systemic cause of AIDS. Working in coalmines is a systemic cause of black lung disease. Driving while drunk is a systemic cause of auto accidents. Sex without contraception is a systemic cause of pregnancies. The relationship between burning fossil fuels and current climate change is just as real. That is why I am buying a Tesla Model S. Plus it’s a cool car.

shop | 14. desember 2012

Awww, we were just getting warmed up too! Read some other thread if you want serious car discussions...

@shs - I don't think either one of us is going to change each other's minds on this one. For instance, I believe the US is headed for ruinous inflation which will dramatically affect our standard of living. Proving this, though, to someone that wants the federal govt to keep spending is very hard. Likewise you believe in catastrophic climate change, and no amount of me debunking your arguments is likely to change that.

Can you at least understand that I've arrived at my position on climate change through my own careful research (bearing in mind neither of us are climate scientists), and it is a considered opinion, not just blindly following some radio host's rantings?

Even though we may not agree on several important (to us) topics, we can still be civil. And if you really are interested, I can give my thoughts on your specific climate change arguments.

MB3 | 14. desember 2012

shop | I are fooling yourself if you think you have carefully researched climate change.

Brian H | 14. desember 2012

As for sticking to the topic, I remind you that it is ignorant negative comments about the car based on dislike of tax support? If that's not 51% political, what is?

My final shot: both CO2 and warming are tremendously beneficial. Bring 'em on!

shs | 14. desember 2012

Shop, Actually I am a scientist and have spent many years studying climate change. Send me an email if you want to continue this. I'd also much rather discuss the car on this forum.

MB3 | 14. desember 2012

Brian | Stick to edit checks.

Brian H | 14. desember 2012


MB3 | 15. desember 2012

Brian. Just saying that you are not at your best welcoming destruction on so many. Cities And nations will be lost as the sea levels rise and storm activity increases.

RedShift | 15. desember 2012

Curious to know how the link is 'unproven'. I don't want to sound like a lefty extremist, I am really an Ayn Randian and an atheist. When an overwhelming majority of scientists who do this for a living agree that global warming is caused by human causes, I dont know how some one can say 'unproven'. To me that is just 'choosing not to believe.'

Brian H | 15. desember 2012

Sea level rise is decelerating. Still on track for about 6" or less by 2100. Trivial. Storms continue their 25 year decline. Those scare stories are totally imaginary (i.e. invented).

rwang | 15. desember 2012

Reality check -

At this moment, the Tesla represents an exclusive product that's heavily subsidize by the government for an exclusive group of people. It's going to be a target and symbol of failed environmental policy for some and a symbol of hope for others. As with most of the political spectrum the truth is in the middle.

Let's start w/ the myth on gas prices. A barrel of oil is priced in dollars. If you sold oil, you'd adjust the price depending on the value of the dollar. As the US continues to print money to cover its deficits, what happens? Inflation. This quantitative easing only means we've flooded the market with dollars. That means if you sold in dollars, your getting less for your dollar. What would you do? Raise production or raise the cost per barrel. Now I'm not an economist but my friends who are tell me that cost per barrel right now is still about the same it was or less during the 1970's oil crisis.

What does that tell us? A barrel of oil and energy costs still remain cheap so long we don't print ourselves into inflation. What it doesn't address is the environmental rational to move off fossil fuels. The economic argument is the weakest here when our fossil fuel costs continue to drop. If we look at price per kw/hour, it's going down b/c fossil fuel costs in natural gas go down. That allows for low electric transmission at mass.

Okay, what else does this mean? EV's are like the organic food movement. EV's have a limited local range right now. Organic food works if you are near small local farms. However, to get to scale, this is why we have big agra. You need this kind of scale to feed people at the lowest cost so they can then have an economic future to do something else. In order to have EV's at an affordable rate, we need cheap electricity AND renewable. However, you can't put enough solar panels up to meet the overall supply.

So what's the lesson? There isn't an extreme position on either end that will solve this problem. Fossil fuels are still the most cost effective energy source we have. From an environmental stance, you can have good scrubbers on electric plants to mitigate the carbon and pollution.

The question is how quickly AND cost effectively can we make the switch for the most people so they can benefit from renewable energies. Taking extreme positions on one end or the other only makes this harder as we have very little middle ground to show progress towards this goal. Unfortunately, that's where the country is right now.

Brian H | 15. desember 2012

BTW, the "nations drowned" meme is a laugher. Those coral islands grow and fall in synch with the sea. The Maldives, e.g., are just milking the suckers, and putting in airports and hotels etc. with the proceeds. Its area is actually increasing. In other news, Bangladesh is a river delta, whose area is also increasing.