Elon Musk was scorned when he set up Tesla, but his tech approach to electric vehicles has triumphed. However, when it comes to aftercare, the model’s not so great
The first thing one learns when purchasing a Tesla, as this columnist did in December 2020, is that the neighbours immediately begin to hold one personally responsible for Elon Musk. The co-founder and now Supreme Leader of the company is, one finds, widely regarded by non-techies as a fruitcake with a bad Twitter habit, so it follows that anyone who buys one of his cars must be a devotee of the world’s richest nutter and therefore not properly earthed.
Interestingly, there was a time, not so very long ago, 2005 to be precise, that this view of Musk was held by sensible German men in suits, who laughed at the idea of this jerk building automobiles. Didn’t he know that making cars is hard and that BMW, Mercedes, Ford, General Motors, Volkswagen, Toyota and the rest had spent the best part of a century figuring out how to do it profitably at scale? Sure, he might be able to produce expensive toys for Silicon Valley types – but real cars?