Attention can be delightful, say when you have a new haircut or you’ve just finished the entire crossword by yourself in under three weeks and everyone (cat, roommate) cheers for you. But Tesla CEO Elon Musk definitely feels his company and its electric cars are getting way too much attention, the bad kind, after three car fires prompted the feds to open a probe into the Model S.
During an interview with CNNMoney‘s Fareed Zakaria, Musk says that all the media attention has him feeling a bit “pistol whipped.”
“The amount of national news headlines dedicated to three Tesla fires — that caused no injury — is greater than all of the gasoline fires that occurred in the United States,” he says, claiming that there were about a quarter million gasoline fires in the last year that caused hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries.
And then in comparison, he points out that “our three non injurious fires got more national headlines than a quarter million deadly gasoline fires? That’s mad. What the heck is going on?”
But Elon — can I call you Elon? — don’t you want people to pay attention to your electric cars? Well yeah, but not like this, he explains.
“I realize the new technology should have a spotlight on it, but it shouldn’t have a laser on it,” he says.
Zakaria points out that part of the craziness might be due to the scale involved here — after all, Tesla produces about 30,000 cars a year compared to the bigger companies churning out millions, and yet its market cap is almost as high as say, Toyota.
“We’re getting way to much attention good or bad,” Musk says, but it’s not crazy that Tesla is doing so well. At least, it was, before these fires popped up in the news.
“What I’ve actually said on more than one occasion, I thought our valuation was more than we had any right to deserve, that we would do our best to fulfill those value expectations,” he explains. “I thought over the time the value of Tesla would probably significantly seed where it is today or even where it was at the relatively high point a few weeks ago.”
Musk ‘pistol whipped’ by Tesla fire news [CNNMoney]