EV Update: Wall Street Butthurt after Elon Musk’s Phone Call, GM CEO Bullish on EVs

May 29, 2018

First the teapot brouhaha of Musk brushing off journalists.

Bottom: GM’s Mary Barra bullish on EVs.


Talking to Elon Musk on the phone does not seem like a pleasant experience. The billionaire reportedly hung up on the head of the National Transportation Safety Board during a tense conversation regarding an investigation into a fatal crash involving a Tesla earlier this year, marking Musk’s second major blow up during a phone call this year.

According to Bloomberg, NTSB chairman Robert Sumwalt spoke on his interactions with Musk during a Thursday dinner with members of the International Society of Air Safety Investigators’ Mid-Atlantic Regional Chapter. “Best I remember, he hung up on us,” Sumwalt said of the exchange.

Below, pop Stock analyst Jim Cramer defends the call.


The brush-off sent shares skidding. They had risen after the company reported a loss of $567.9 million, in line with analyst forecasts though still higher than the previous quarter and more than the same time last year.

But worries about Tesla running out of cash had dogged the company heading into results. After rising on the initial report, they fell after hours Wednesday and closed down more than 5% Thursday at $284.45 a share.


I am not a Tesla shareholder, so listening to Elon Musk on the Tesla Q1 2018 conference call was absolutely enthralling to me. You can tell he is really tired of all the Chicken Little’s screaming “the sky is falling!” With mostly good humor, a few stiff interjections, and a hang up, he made plenty of news in the conference call. He gave a very short intro, basically saying that he is finally pleased with production of the Model 3.

Things at the Gigafactory are finally humming along well after they got complacent about their core technology. Currently, they are producing 3,000 Model 3 battery packs per week. This was achieved without substantial capital expenditure. Three weeks prior to the conference call, it was taking 7 hours to build a battery pack. As of May 2, it was taking only 17 minutes.

During a single peak hour, they were producing batteries at a rate of 5,000 per week. Musk estimated it would take a month or two to reach that rate on a permanent basis.

After a few questions asking about specific timelines, Musk indicated he had had enough with these boring questions, and decided to take questions from the YouTube audience instead — well, from a retail investor and YouTuber who was representing 150 TSLA shareholders who hold 63K+ shares ($18M+ of the stock). Musk stated that he was not interested in giving constant updates to help day traders, and said he was not here to convince people to buy the stock. He blatantly said if you are worried about volatility, do not buy Tesla stock.

I have seen way too many articles suggesting Tesla would need another capital raise, and Elon flatly refuted that publicly. Not only did he say it wasn’t needed, he emphasized that he didn’t want to do that in 2018 either — not going to happen. His exasperated tone indicated he may have been thinking something like, “How many times do I have to repeat no, we do not need a capital raise? Don’t act like I never told ya!”

I am not the only one who thought this brutal truth-telling was refreshing. Surprisingly, CNBC host Jim Cramer was ecstatic at Musk’s perceived recklessness. He described that as exactly how a big CEO or hedge fund manager should behave. Basically, he exclaimed that Musk should maintain an “if you cannot stand the heat, get your ass out of the kitchen” attitude.

25 Responses to “EV Update: Wall Street Butthurt after Elon Musk’s Phone Call, GM CEO Bullish on EVs”

  1. davidjkatz Says:

    Bad link

    On Tue, May 29, 2018 at 11:59 AM Climate Denial Crock of the Week wrote:

    > greenman3610 posted: “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8zlVFHj4E0M First > the teapot brouhaha of Musk brushing off journalists. Bottom: GM’s Mary > Barra bullish on EVs. Gizmodo: Talking to Elon Musk on the phone does not > seem like a pleasant experience. The billionaire reporte” >

  2. lracine Says:

    IMO, Elon Musk must be taking lessons from Trump.

    I am NOT impressed. Arrogant prick!

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Thank you for saying that—-I am too often the only one bad-mouthing Mars Man Musk here, and you echoed my feelings exactly.

      Sell your Tesla stock and buy Solar Roadway instead, folks—-the SR folks may be shysters, but at least they’re not arrogant pricks

      • leslie graham Says:

        Yeah – you are the only one bad-mouthing Musk here.
        That much is true.
        Who cares if you think he is an arrogant prick.
        He is producing 3000 model 3’s a week and all kinds of people are queuing round the block to buy them.
        He is just pissed off with people like you bad-mouthing him.
        He’s a genius whether you like it or not.

        • dumboldguy Says:

          Yep, he’s a genius at slinging BS and getting people to give him money.

          3000 Model 3’s a week? For how long until “production issues” again cut that number? And the morons are queuing around the block to buy a an overpriced car with serious handling and safety issues? To say nothing about the fact that the ongoing assembly line issues will likely reduce reliability of the delivered cars.

          Yeah, a real genius he is, especially with his talk of sending humans to Mars while we destroy the only planet we have.

          • Gingerbaker Says:

            Serious handling and safety issues? Care to elaborate?

          • dumboldguy Says:

            Read this piece:


            It takes a Model 3 more distance to stop than a Ford F-150 pickup—–Imagine being close behind an F-150 and both having to make a panic stop—-you are likely to have a bumper mark across the front of your zoomy little toy.

          • Gingerbaker Says:

            That is already fixed with an OTA software update. CR has now recommended the car.

            Plus, this was not a handling issue, nor really much of a safety issue. This was a brake fade issue that would be rather difficult to reproduce in real driving.

            you are shooting from the hip here with speculative aspersions. You are kinda out of control, DOG. It’s ugly.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            No “speculative aspersions”—-the car was unsafe, and if you believe that it’s “fixed”, go buy one and tailgate an F-150. Did you read the whole article? How about the controls issue—-where driving the car is going to be as distracting as constantly texting on your cell phone?

            What’s ugly is how a smart guy like you (with such a good-looking wife) is so in love with Musk’s BS. Have you bought your Mars tickets yet?

        • lracine Says:

          He is a CON MAN…. genius is like beauty… it is in the eye of the beholder.

          Perhaps you might want to take a look at some of the owner reviews of the Tesla Cars…. People who have put miles on them and lived with the bad service, poor craftsmanship and designs etc etc etc.

          I wonder how long they will be on the road? I still drive my college car that I purchased used for $500 (a very long time ago)… I am on engine rebuild #3 and it gets 33 to 35 mph on the highway… At the time I purchased it because of it’s fuel efficiency….. and ease to maintain… it is a 1957 356A Porsche… it’s carbon foot print at this point in it’s life is negligible and it gets decent mileage even though it is 70 year old… I wonder if there will be any Tesla’s on the road in 70 years? I think NOT….. lol By the way, I drove this car non-stop (except for gas) from NNY to Florida in 23 hours, two years ago.

          People who buy Teslas, buy them to be seen in and they do not work on their own cars but dispose of they when they are too troublesome to maintain, they do not have the skill set or knowledge to do so, Teslas are part of the “disposable economy”… FAUX GREEN!!!!

          What is needed is a reliable, long distance, min carbon foot print (for construction and operation) auto that is affordable to purchase for the average middle class/entry level person and requires min maintenance…… and we need automobile like this two decades ago!!!! Not a Tesla…

          Look at who is driving them….. and that speaks volumes.

          What Musk is doing is shameful shit….. but hey if you want to spend your money on a piece of shit like a Tesla to be “seen” in, so you can brag about how environmentally conscience you are… well I guess that speaks volumes.

          Imo he is not a “genius” but a good con man,( who has succeeded with you).


          • Andy Lee Robinson Says:

            The dinosaurs didn’t see the asteroid coming either.

          • Gingerbaker Says:

            “He is a CON MAN…. genius is like beauty… it is in the eye of the beholder.

            Perhaps you might want to take a look at some of the owner reviews of the Tesla Cars…. People who have put miles on them and lived with the bad service, poor craftsmanship and designs etc etc etc.”

            That’s a good idea, let’s take a look! From Consumer Reports, Dec. 2017:

            Tesla wins Customer Satisfaction ratings – Again!


            “I wonder how long they will be on the road? I still drive my college car that I purchased used for $500 (a very long time ago)… I am on engine rebuild #3 and it gets 33 to 35 mph on the highway”

            Engine rebuild number three already, eh? How many miles on that Porsche? Because here is what to expect with a Tesla:


            The Tesla S drivetrain has an eight year warranty with unlimited mileage. Real world degradation shows more than 80% capacity of battery at > 500,000 miles. The Tesla S has an aluminum body no rust, and a lot fewer moving parts than your trusty Porsche.

            => => So, please, tell us again how Musk is “a conman” and Tesla cars are “a piece of shit”. We are all on the tip of our seats with anticipation.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            Give it up, GB. Musk is turning into an egomaniac—-hyperloops and Boring companies, rockets, colonizing Mars, and attacking the media just like Trump. His board has just awarded him a compensation package that could be worth $50 BILLION. Just about everyone who writes for the business pages of the WashPost is getting on his case lately.

            If EV’s ever make it (and the Ford F-150 is WAY WAY ahead), it will be because of all the OTHER companies that will be making them, not Musk. I’m with Louise, with my 15 and 20 year old vehicles that are still running fine with minimal expense (and NO engine rebuilds). Buy your Tesla Model 3 soon, so you can tell us all about how wonderful it is, especially those “trendy” controls that make it hard to operate and actually dangerous.

            And “DESIGNED to travel a million miles between services, says Musk”? Uh-huh! Too bad the first ones had to be “serviced” as soon as they went out the factory door because of faulty braking.

          • Gingerbaker Says:

            “Just about everyone who writes for the business pages of the WashPost is getting on his case lately.”

            That whooshing sound you hear? That’s Elon Musk’s whole fracking point whizzing over your head.

            ” Musk is …attacking the media just like Trump…”

            DOG, you can do better than that. How about…. he is attacking the media just like Hitler? Just like Richard Nixon? Like Genghis Khan.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            No need for hyperbole and straw men, GB.

            Musk’s “point” is the same self-indulgent narcissism that Trump engages in with the press—-If they don’t give him the adulation he demands, they are “fake news” and need to be attacked. What’s whizzing IN your head is your inability to face facts because of your wishful thinking and unreasoning optimism for EV’s. Some facts:

            2017 sales of EV’s in the USA was ~200,000

            All other light vehicles sold in 2017 ~17,000,000
            Can you do the math? That’s ~ONE EV sold for every EIGHTY-FIVE other vehicles.

            Pickup trucks sold in 2017 alone ~2,800,000—-that’s ~ONE EV sold for every FOURTEEN pickups.

            Wake up and smell the fossil fuel fumes, GB And once Pruitt and Trump cut back on the fuel efficiency standards, it’s going to get smoggier.

          • Gingerbaker Says:

            Again you miss the point, DOG. The point is that the press has not been objective or honest with its reportage on EV’s in general or Tesla in particular. The point is that someone should be investigating the connection between this disinformation campaign and the Koch brothers.

            And one more thing: If not for Musk and Tesla, there would be no EV revolution. Not only that, but if, somehow, this propaganda campaign against Tesla were to be successful and the company folded, that EV revolution would be halted in its tracks. All the huge plans of the European car manufacturers to electrify their fleets would be put on hold and then quietly disappear.

            I don’t understand your personal animus against Musk, but you need to reevaluate it, because your voice has joined the ugly distorted chorus of deniers trying to subvert the crucially important success of his car-making company.

  3. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    The gushy Tesla fanbois are just as disturbing as the Apple fanbois were 10 years ago. If other *EV* brands manage to drive Tesla Motors out of business, I’m fine with that, because it means the mainstream are starting to take it seriously.

    I’ve seen a lot of Priuses around Austin since they came out, but now I’m noticing several more people in my neighborhood buying Leafs since I bought mine in 2015 (there are also a couple of Teslas and EV BMWs). It’s one of the few things I’ve lead the curve on, and I feel insufferably smug about it.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      If one is going to be smug, why not be insufferably so? Especially when one is ahead of the curve. Preen away!

    • leslie graham Says:

      The other EV brands can’t even catch him let alone put him out of business.

      • dumboldguy Says:

        Leslie the All-Knowing speaks again! All Hail, Leslie!

        Time will tell whether the other EV’s can “catch” him, and if they do (with cheaper, more reliable, and safer cars) the free-market WILL put him out of the car business (except for making toys for the rich, perhaps).

        Let’s hope the battery business survives, because he is doing good work there. The Mars BS will likely disappear quickly once the SFTF with AGW and we are forced to pay attention only to Planet A—-I’m sure Musk will be right up front in the geo-engineering rush, proving what a genius he is at sucking up OPM.

      • Mike Male Says:

        VW plans to be producing 3 million electric vehicles per year by 2025. They have already put orders in for batteries valued at $48 billion.

        I’m no fan of Musk but love him or hate him, he certainly has sparked an interest in EVs more than any other person and if that gets the ball really rolling that’s great.

  4. Gingerbaker Says:

    I have been singularly disappointed by the reaction of the EV community to Musk’s remarks. Instead of fixating about his testiness, or criticizing his arrogance, how about addressing the issues he has raised about the media?

    Because frankly, what we are seeing is an extended anti-EV campaign, particularly in regard to Tesla. It has gotten as bad as the climate denial industry, with flocks of trolls on-line, of course, but there has been a concerted effort in the mass media to spread FUD as well.

    Now, the Koch brothers announced just a few months ago – publicly (talk about arrogance?) – that they were going to spend untold sums of bucks to discredit the EV industry. Or has everyone simply forgotten that?


    So we have a hundred articles about the “arrogance” of Elon Musk. And **ZERO** investigative reporting to follow the money.

  5. redskylite Says:

    Maybe Musk needs a PR team to handle communications and his public image, there are plenty of Chiefs in industry who are not too smooth with the media side of the business. However after seeing Tesla cars here in New Zealand they certainly look robust and have easily passed our governments requirements on safety and reliability.

    I am aware of a smear campaign trying to devalue the product and the factories, and also a few cases of accidents caused by drivers using the “autopilot” feature and not paying attention.

    Personally I think Tesla has had a huge impact on de-carbonizing personal transport and his battery enterprise has made a huge contribution in electricity supply, especially down in Australia, also Musk’s solar roof tile business is taking of so good luck to Musk and his enterprises, no-one can say he is messing about when you look at his fantastic megafactories and at least someone is trying hard.

    “The Model 3 did a superlative job of protecting the people inside. Elon Musk likes to brag about how safe the cars his company builds are and it looks like he has good reason to be proud.”


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