Today, it’s safe to say that Tesla has inspired a movement. Sure, hybrid vehicles have been around for years. Celebrities drove them and people decided they are willing to make a change as well. But it was Tesla who first promoted an all-or-nothing approach to cutting one’s carbon emissions. Instead of using a hybrid that still partly runs on gas, how about going full electric? Not to mention, Tesla also made the idea of driving an all-electric vehicle sound so cool.
For Tesla, its beginnings date back to 2003. Back then, a group of engineers had come together. They were keen to prove that “people didn’t need to compromise to drive electric” and that electric cars can “be better, quicker and more fun to drive than gasoline cars.”
At the helm of the company is Elon Musk, a successful entrepreneur and some say a mad genius. Over the years, Musk has shown that he has boundless plans and ambitions. When it came to Tesla, Musk and the rest of the team were very excited to introduce the Roadster in 2008. As Tesla had described, it showed off “Tesla’s cutting-edge battery technology and electric powertrain.” From here, the company went an all-electric sedan known as the Model S. This was followed by its first-ever SUV, the Model X and of course, the highly anticipated Model 3. With the inclusion of the recently unveiled Model Y, Tesla Motors now boasts of five all-electric models.
In recent times, however, it’s not just the cars that have caused a lot of buzz about Tesla Motors. With Musk being quite active on social media, he made certain statements that did not go over too well with others. In fact, as you may know, it even landed the Tesla founder in hot water.
With all the news surrounding Tesla and its founder, we thought it would be fun to sort things out between probably true and most likely false. Here’s what we have so far:
20 Might Be True: Tesla has some steep competition ahead
Apparently, automakers are keen to send a strong signal to Tesla that the game is on. In fact, if the 2019 New York Auto Show is any indication, Tesla is bound to get some serious competition soon.
For starters, there is the Jaguar I-Pace, an SUV that got awarded Car of the Year, World Car Design of the Year and World Green Car of the Year, according to CNBC. Meanwhile, there is also the upcoming Mercedes-Benz EQC Edition 1886, Lincoln Corsair, 2019 Porsche Taycan, and the Pininfarina Battista. Aside from these, there were also cool all-electric concepts presented, such as the Volkswagen I.D. Buggy Concept and Kia HabaNiro Concept.
19 Might Be True: The 'Tesla killer' has run into production problems
There was a time when the highly anticipated Audi e-Tron was touted as the “Tesla killer.” However, if that’s still the case, it seems Tesla would have to wait before the car rivals them in the market. That’s because it looks like Audi has run into some serious production problems when it comes to this car.
According to a report from the website electrive.com, the carmaker is reportedly experiencing problems regarding the battery supply from LG Chem for the car. Because of this issue, the German carmaker is only able to produce around 300 e-Tron cars per day at its Brussels plants. That’s only half of the production capacity it had originally planned.
18 Might Be True: The Tesla Roadster in space might crash back into Earth
Back in 2018 Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk decided to launch a Falcon Heavy rocket into space with an onboard Tesla Roadster. It was red. It came with a mannequin astronaut. And more importantly, its screen displayed the words, “Don’t panic.”
Unfortunately, certain experts are now claiming that the space Roadster can eventually crash back into Earth. According to a paper from the Czech Republic and Toronto researchers, “We calculate a dynamical half-life of the Tesla of approximately 15 Myr, with some 22%, 12% and 12% of Roadster orbit realizations impacting the Earth, Venus, and the Sun within one half-life, respectively.”
17 Might Be True: Tesla's space Roadster can launch a biological attack against another planet
Apparently, there is another reason to be concerned about that red Tesla Roadster that is currently up in space. As it turns out, there is also a chance that it would crash into another planet and start a biological attack of sorts.
According to experts at Purdue University, that Tesla is carrying the “largest load of earthly bacteria to ever enter space.” Furthermore, Purdue University professor Jay Melosh explained, “If there is an indigenous Mars biota, it’s at risk of being contaminated by terrestrial life. Would Earth’s organisms be better adapted, take over Mars and contaminate it so we don’t know what indigenous Mars was like, or would they be not as well adapted as the Martian organisms? We don’t know.”
16 Might Be True: The secret camera on the Model 3 is part of the company’s ride-sharing plans
It seems that Tesla has always had plans to join the ride-sharing market this entire time. In fact, it had installed a hidden camera in its Model 3 car that is meant to serve an important purpose once this plan becomes a reality.
During a tweet conversation with a Tesla owner, Musk remarked, “It’s there for when we start competing with Uber/Lyft & people allow their car to earn money for them as part of the Tesla shared autonomy fleet. In case someone messes up your car, you can check the video.” As you may now, Musk has recently talked about plans to have ‘Robo-Taxis’ on the road by 2020.
15 Might Be True: The Model S is a future collectible
Among Tesla cars, it seems the Model S is destined to forge a lasting legacy. That’s because it is now being referred to as a future collectible. According to The Hagerty Group, LLC, “If the EV1 opened the door for electric vehicles, the Roadster gave it a good shove before the Model S kicked it down.” Moreover, the Model S is most popular among the Gen-X crowd, Boomers and Millennials.
Clearly, the car has a lot of appeal. Moreover, longtime electric car advocate Chelsea Sexton remarked, “The Model S was the first ‘beautiful’ EV and large enough to appeal beyond the most niche of markets.”
14 Might Be True: Tesla autopilot will have an aggressive mode
For quite some now, Tesla has been working on perfecting its autopilot mode. Ideally, when this is engaged, the driver doesn’t really have to do anything behind the wheel. Instead, they can sit back, relax and watch the car drive itself.
Apparently, in the future, Tesla’s autopilot technology is rumored to get more aggressive. According to a report from The Verge, Musk made a declaration to this effect during the recent Autonomy Day. In fact, he remarked that Tesla drivers will be able to choose “gradually more aggressive behavior” in their car. Nonetheless, Musk also noted that this will give car owners a “slight chance of a fender bender.”
13 Might Be True: The Tesla pickup truck will have crazy hauling capability
It looks like Musk and Tesla are incredibly serious about building an all-electric pickup truck. Not only that, but they are also determined to make sure that it would be one of the most powerful trucks around yet.
As far as we know, Musk’s plan is to come out with an all-wheel-drive pickup truck that features a dual motor. Moreover, he once tweeted that this truck would have “crazy torque & a suspension that dynamically adjusts for load. Those will be standard.” Meanwhile, there is also speculation that the truck would have an exceptional hauling capacity. During a Twitter exchange with a Dodge Ram truck owner, he referred to 12,000 pounds as “puny.”
12 Might Be True: Apple continues to poach Tesla employees
In this day and age, the corporate world would not be so interesting unless there is some poaching activity going on among the top tech companies. In fact, it seems that Apple has long been interested in Tesla employees. And more interestingly, it has not slowed down in its efforts to poach them.
According to a report from CNBC, “dozens” of Tesla employees decided to make a move to Apple back in late 2017. Some of the reasons cited for the departure included stock price growth and compensation. Meanwhile, in 2018, Apple also hired at least 46 Tesla employees. Recently, Apple made another major hire from Tesla. According to a report from Electrek, it got Tesla’s VP of Engineering Michael Schwekutsch.
11 Might Be True: Tesla is working on finger swipe doors
Here is a car upgrade that Tesla is expected to put on their cars soon: finger swipe doors. Yes, you heard it right. According to a report from Teslarati, you will just need to do a simple fingerprint swipe to open the doors of the new Roadster. This might explain why a slight preview of this feature shows a Roadster without any visible door handle.
This next-generation Roadster currently has a target first delivery date of 2020. Aside from the finger swipe doors, this car will also reportedly have onboard rocket thrusters. Moreover, it is supposed to have a top speed of more than 250 miles per hour.
10 Totally False: Tesla was founded by an alien
It might sound weird to you, but there are some who believe that Tesla’s Elon Musk is an actual alien. According to a statement posted on one Tesla forum, “Gaia brought Elon Musk here from another world to save us from ourselves with Plan A; Tesla, Solar City, hyper-loop and warnings about AI, or if the efforts of NADA, stupid politicians, big oil and the legacy manufacturers prevail, go to Plan B; evacuate a chosen few to Mars with SpaceX.”
Time after time, Musk has denied this. In one tweet, he wrote, “The rumor that I'm building a spaceship to get back to my home planet Mars is totally untrue.” Later on, he also tweeted, “And, no, I'm not an alien...but I used to be one.”
9 Totally False: Elon Musk is going to put up a factory in India
Apparently, this urban legend all started with one a little joke on Twitter. Just earlier this year, Musk suddenly decided to change his profile name from Elon Musk to Elon Tusk. At the same time, he also placed a cute elephant emoji beside his name. This resulted in a whole lot of speculation. Namely, that Musk was planning to announce a Tesla factory in India really soon.
As you may know, Tesla has always been open about expanding its production side. In fact, Tesla’s factory in Shanghai, China is currently under construction. And during an earnings call, Musk said it is possible to reach a production rate of 2,000 vehicles per week by the end of the year in this new facility.
8 Totally False: James Murdoch to take over as Tesla CEO
As you may know, Musk had gotten into trouble with the SEC, to the point that he is being asked to leave his role as CEO. Because of this, someone had floated the idea of having James Murdoch come in to replace Musk.
Murdoch has actually been on board with Tesla for a few years now. In fact, according to the company, Murdoch has been serving as an independent director for Tesla since 2017. Meanwhile, Murdoch is better known as the current CEO of 21st Century Fox. Despite this, however, the rumor of Murdoch taking over for Musk hasn’t had much traction.
7 Totally False: Elon Musk is completely abandoning Tesla for Dogecoin
If you have been following Musk more closely, you are most likely aware of his love of cryptocurrency. During a 2014 interview at Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit, Musk remarked that cryptocurrency is a “far better way to transfer value than pieces of paper.” “That’s for sure. Without a doubt,” he added.
Meanwhile, more recently, the Tesla founder went on to declare that Dogecoin is his “fav” cryptocurrency. Perhaps, this led him to become the top choice to become Dogecoin’s CEO. At one point, Musk also referred to himself as the “former CEO of dogecoin.” He also tweeted a meme that came with the caption “dogecoin rulz.”
6 Totally False: Tesla is automatically signing up car owners with Spotify
As you may know, Tesla U.S. owners can’t use Spotify in their car just yet.
This is precisely why a rumor that Tesla was signing up owners to Spotify automatically is weird. According to one entry in a Tesla forum, “So, I received an email from email@example.com this morning that said they reset my password due to suspicious activity. The only thing is, I'm 99% sure I've never signed up for Spotify or even visited their website. After spending a couple of minutes verifying it wasn't a phishing attempt, I'm wondering if Tesla has started signing up owners under their MyTesla email addresses.”
5 Totally False: Tesla is running out of cash
There have been rumors circulating Tesla is bound to have some cash flow issues. However, it looks like this is simply not true.
During a financial statement made earlier this month, Tesla divulged that they are expecting their first-quarter net income to be “negatively impacted” by its reduced delivery volume and pricing adjustments. Nonetheless, Tesla stated, “We ended the quarter with sufficient cash on hand.” Just like any other company, it is possible for Tesla to run into some serious financial issues, especially due to its continuous delivery woes and pricing issues. Nonetheless, it looks like the electric carmaker remains afloat and ready to fight another day.
4 Totally False: Tesla founder claims they have the “safest” car in the world
Tesla founder Musk has always been convinced that his fleet of electric cars is the “safest” that you would ever drive. At one point, Musk even tweeted that Tesla’s fatality rate is “approx. 4x better than average.” He also remarked, “According to NHTSA, there was an automotive fatality every 86M miles in 2017 (~40,000 deaths). Tesla was every 320M miles. It’s not possible to be zero, but the probability of fatality is much lower in a Tesla.”
Unfortunately, that is not really the case. In fact, an investigation from Medium reveals that Tesla’s fatality rate is “more than triple that of luxury cars (and likely even higher).”
3 Totally False: One million Tesla cars to drive autonomously in a year
Tesla’s Musk has always been bold about his declarations. And so, it’s really no surprise that he has predicted that around one million Tesla car will be driving by themselves in just a year.
According to a report from the Los Angeles Times, this declaration has a lot to do with Musk’ plans for a Tesla “robo-taxi fleet.” These cars are absolutely driverless and able to drive themselves on allowed public roads. As explained by Musk, “We expect to deploy the first robo-taxis with no one in them next year. I’m confident we’ll get regulatory approval somewhere.” However, Musk also said that they still need to “improve the software” to make this happen.
2 Totally False: Tesla founder says non-Tesla cars will become extinct in three years
Sure, one can argue that electric cars are the future. However, this absolutely doesn’t mean that your typical petrol and diesel car would become extinct. Moreover, it’s more likely that they will still relevant in three years’ time.
During the Tesla Autonomy Investor Day, Musk remarked, “The fundamental message that consumers should be taking today is that it's financially insane to buy anything other than a Tesla. It would be like owning a horse in three years.” Several people on social media disagreed. One even remarked that “people will not want automated cars.” Meanwhile, someone else remarked, “Sorry @elonmusk but I love my horse.”
1 Totally False: Apple might be buying Tesla
Perhaps, one of the craziest rumors that have floated around is that Apple will buy Tesla. Well, this is, in fact, one of the predictions recently made by Saxo Bank in Denmark. For them, Apple buying Tesla is one of their ten “outrageous predictions for 2019.”
Meanwhile, during an interview with CNBC, Latitude Investment Management’s chief investment officer Freddie Lait discussed the same scenario. According to him, Tesla’s $52.5 billion value makes it ripe for acquisition. He further explained, “It’s already got it’s [sic] own operating system, it’s got its own technology, it’s got a great brand” Well, he does have a point.
Sources - Tesla, Hagerty, Electrive.com, arXiv& Purdue University