Tesla’s Elon Musk on the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf: Meh


Tesla Motors chief Elon Musk in a video still from the Nightline interview.

We get it: If we were running a wildly successful electric car company, we wouldn’t be chatting up the competition’s praises either.

So it comes as no surprise that in an interview on ABC’s Nightline program, Elon Musk, the Tesla Motors founder and space taxi/solar power tycoon, wasn’t about to laud the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf, two cars which, in some ways, are competitors to his all-conquering Model S EV sedan.

How does Mr. Musk see the popular hybrid and plug-in EV? As pretty average. While he doesn’t slam the cars as crap outright, he does call into question their performance and concepts, saying the Volt is an “amphibian” and “splits the baby” (ew!) between running on gas and electricity while the little Leaf is woefully short on range. Well, sure, compared to a $100,000, 250-mile range Model S Performance it is.

Musk seems a bit mystified as to why someone would own either car, but that’s perhaps understandable considering he probably gets the purchase price of a Tesla wired to his slush fund in interest on his own fortune, like, every day.

We love Elon Musk and all the brash, brassy and bold things he is doing. Rockets to Mars! Rocketship fast electric cars! Saving the world one solar panel at a time! But he should also understand that regular working people are indeed buying the Volt and Leaf in ever-rising numbers because that’s what they can afford. Within the sphere of the cars’ abilities and price, they get the job done of getting people around on little or no gas, which is sort of the whole point of the electric car thing.

So, no, they aren’t Tesla-level wonder machines. At least not yet. But how about a little love, Elon? Some constructive criticism? Some “thanks for fighting the good fight against oil addiction” or the like?

“Splitting the baby?” Yikes. Here’s the video:

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