Elon Musk vs John Peterson DEBATE

Ok I think it is pretty clear that John Peterson is the most prolific anti-EV voice on the internet. He has nearly 25,000 posts on one investment website alone. Google anything negative about batteries or EV's and his name is sure to pop up. The scary thing is that he has a pretty huge following, and people are actually listening to his lies. Some of which are as follows:

- He constantly makes claims that full EV's are a waste of battery use (he thinks hybrids save more petrol overall for the price).

- He thinks batteries are far too energy intensive to produce and only generate a payback if used in small hybrid applications. Despite not taking into account the ICE vehicle industry OR the oil/gas industry's cradle to grave energy inefficiencies OR the fact that EV's and their batteries could be nearly 100% recyclable and powered by renewable energy.

-He claims there are no economies of scale to be had in the battery industry so mass production won't bring costs down ever.

- He claims there are not enough physical resources in the earth to make all vehicles full BEV's

- He thinks battery technology is far from any significant improvement and even if we do get a breakthrough the new batteries will be far too expensive to ever be practical for at least 20 years.

- He thinks battery cycle life is unsuitable for full BEV's - they won't last long enough.

- He personally dislikes Elon and has labelled him as "suffering from some form of delusional ADD" because he thinks he is smart enough to run three cutting edge companies at the same time.

- He has attacked Tesla's methods of accounting and thinks they are violating company laws by using deposits to fund operations.

- And much much more.

I say we get these guys into a room and let them debate these issues.
Peterson is single handedly trying to destroy the BEV industry and Tesla most of all...because if Tesla is successful the tiny battery company that he owns a large amount of shares in is toast (because it relies on small battery hybrid type applications in vehicles to survive).

I know people will say that Elon shouldn't waste his time on people like this...but this is THE GUY in terms of the anti-EV crowd...silence him and we will go a long way towards silencing most of the EV critics out there.

Plus I think it would be awesome to watch Elon thrash this arrogant douchebag!

C'mon Elon! I know you read these forums (or somebody from Tesla does)...lets make this happen!

it's Petersen, not Peterson.

Out of interest, what is JP's position on Global Warming? Is he equally a misinformed denier in that area?

Yes he is.
Another thing that bugs me about this guy is that he keeps referring to studies that label battery production as extremely energy intensive and that a Tesla battery will never save as much CO2 during its whole life as the CO2 that was spent making it.

I think it would be good if Tesla put out a research paper on this very subject because this concern is starting to spread quite quickly on the net.
I know Panasonic is going for a very green image so they must use best practices when building their 18650 cells and their should be some data on how much CO2 per cell is required to produce it?

Obviously the end goal is to have renewable energy power our factories and EV's but until we get there are we really going backwards in terms of CO2 output with EV's in terms of battery production as opposed to ICE vehicle construction?

Yawn. CO2 emissions are hyped and irrelevant. The CO2 level lags the changes in ocean temperature by a few hundred years -- warm water holds less of all gases, including CO2 and O2, so it is driven into the atmosphere. When the water cools, it takes it back, and the level drops, eventually, given enough surface agitation and mixing. Basics: that which precedes cannot be the result of that which follows.

It may be frustrating to endure Petersen's deliberate misinformation, but Elon has a higher calling.

The best way to prove Petersen wrong ...

is to build a great car.

That strategy is already working, and I'd say Elon is focused right on target.

Brian, there are two different physical laws at work here:

1) the absorption by CO2 of infrared radiation (easily measured in a lab).
2) the solubility of gases in water (easily observed by drinking lukewarm beer).

These are two separate, completely independent laws that in no way preclude each other.

So a rising temperature forces CO2 out of the oceans (CO2 lags temp)

And a rising CO2 level traps more long wave radiation (temp lags CO2).

Both laws apply all of the time and have done so since the big bang. You don't have to choose.

Remember the old saying (or something like this): "Don't get in an arguement with someone that buys ink by the barrel". Not really worth it. Plus, this guy makes his name/living by arguing, using facts and opinions. It's very hard for a straight-forward business person to "win" in an arguement with these types. It would only lead to big negativity.
Plus, as Tesla has strong followers that will not likely change their mind from articles like this person, so would JP's readers. They are/were not really going to buy a Tesla to begin with. It's the other part of the population that needs to see the benefits from actuals, not arguments.

But the energy required to produce batteries is becoming a bit of a hot topic against EV's, thanks to guys like JP.
Elon doesn't have to address the issue personally but perhaps Tesla should produce a paper on this topic showing how many miles a Tesla needs to cover to break even in terms of battery CO2 production and then compare this to an ICE vehicle.
What we really need is a full study examining energy cost of producing both types of cars then evaluate the entire supply chain for the fuel used in both showing energy consumption in best case and worst case scenarios for both vehicles.
ie. You could have an EV built and powered by 100% coal as worst case. But one using 100% renewable to build and power as best case.
Then show ICE built using coal and powered by gasoline as worst case (including the chain of energy required in drilling, pumping, packaging, shipping (incl oil spill damage), refining, trucking, pumping, then burning that gasoline.
Then an ICE built using renewable energy and using gasoline as best case.
You could also add the energy consumption required if recycled materials were used (say for the batteries in particular) and how that might reduce mining pollution required for battery production etc.

Would be one hell of a study to compile energy costs for all the ingredients necessary to build and power both types of cars but I believe the EV would win in terms of the present day technology and grid. And it would certainly win using recycled batteries and a 100% renewable grid.

IR is not heat, it is one of several modes of energy transfer. The overall consequence of the presence of CO2 in atmosphere has been measured from satellite as either zero or negative. Results from the lab:
In a hot combustion chamber, CO2 radiative energy transport is measureable. At atmospheric temperatures and pressures, it is negligible. Water, however, is vastly higher in concentration, and has numerous dynamic features which CO2 does not, in all temperature and partial pressure ranges. It condenses, evaporates, freezes, melts, circulates, and is present in widely varying concentrations locally and by altitude and region. There are deserts, oceans, tropics, mountains, and forests which strongly differ in amount and behavior of H2O in play. The dynamics of energy transport by water are powerful and ubiquitous; CO2 is at most a thin background influence, along for the ride. It is no more a "forcing" variable than is salt or any other compound that strongly responds to or modifies water's influence. It is a "dependant variable".

I guess when I say CO2 I mean to say "pollution".
I want to know the harmful effects of battery production and oil production in terms of the negative impacts on our environment. Increased dirty air that we must breathe and polluted oceans, rivers, lakes, etc.
I am also not primarily concerned with climate change, its far too political, but I am concerned about the quality of the air I breathe and water I drink...amd I think most can agree on that. If by cleaning up these aspects of our environment we happen to reduce CO2 and the potential for climate change, well then that is a nice side benefit but cleaner air and water should really be our priority.

Not true. CO2 is important in the upper atmosphere, which is extremely dry, cold, and thin, so lacking in water vapor.

Its upper atmosphere role is to slightly enhance outbound radiation, but cold gas doesn't do much of anything wrt radiation. Absorption/emission varies as the 4th power of temperature.

This thread seems to be veering a little off topic. Has Petersen ever addressed the fact that there are energy savings from the numerous parts not necessary in an EV as compared to ICE?

JP has never admitted NiMH batteries are different to Li-Ion batteries.

Brian, if that were true, Mars would be colder than it is. The thin, dry, cold CO2 is keeping it about 9F warmer than it should be given its albedo and distance from the Sun.

Can we Please take the climate debate to a single thread and label it as such. Better yet take it to another form.

Some of us are interested in TESLA, both the car and investment and are tired of wasting our time going into threads that have been hijacked way off subject!

Vielen Dank

I have been fighting that imbecile of JPetersen in SeekingAlpha by destroying some of his arguments about battery technology specially on emissions which is basically his stupid assumptions,and is scary because people that do not know much about this stuff is being misled. We need to destroy all his arguments one by one and show that this is nothing but an appointed EV hater probably paid by the oil / car industry. We need to start creating articles that destroy every single of his articles.

ignore him.

"toys for rich boys" says it all... JP doesn't get it. Don't be fooled buy by his arrogance.

A wise old man once told me, "those that say it can't be done should get out of the way of those doing it".

@Brian H:
"A dog yapping along behind the racing fire engine. "

An interesting image and funny to boot.

Yawn. Nobody will watch a scientific debate, one with endless statistics and big science words. It would be better for Musk to go fishing or something.

The success of Tesla depends on the quality of the product, the price and how to recharge it conveniently, not some anal-ists twittering or whatever.

EV vs. Hybrid...There is no comparison as the latter is focused on desperately clinging to a long antiquated technology based on a finite and ever diminishing resource whose usage poisons the people and the planet we live on, whereas the fore is focused on clean, renewable energy regeneration/creation, the future, and moving the World forward with it.

Like I said, no comparison.

Tesla: A Comprehensive Review of Leading FUD Touchpoints


- Battery Safety

- Cell Supply Constraint

- Giga facory vs Capex

- GAAP Lease Accounting

- Environmental credentials

- Fuel Cell Vehicles

- Production Projections

- Profitability

- Full discussion on the definition of disruptive technologies

Yes I am sick of reading a diet of unmitigated and erroneous FUD on the subject of Tesla.


Yum. Very nice.

If nothing, Mr. Peterson is driven. Has anyone asked him why he is so driven? It surely must occupy most of his time. Perhaps this seemingly OC output has its roots elsewhere.

John Petersen is a VP and CFO of ePower Engine Systems who makes Hybrid drive trains, and he is highly involved with Axion Power Intl. who makes Lead Carbon battery systems.

So basically, he is biased because he is competing with (and losing to) Tesla on two fronts: Battery Systems and Vehicle Drive-trains.

@Julian Cox

Very well written piece. You've clearly done your research, and hit a lot of good points.

If I may offer some feedback if you plan on editing and/or republishing later on, my personal opinion would be that there's a bit too much of the "X is FUD" throughout, as the almost bitter tone of it may cause some readers to question whether there is some other motivation for what's being written. Of course, the informed readers know that what you are writing is true.

Also there were a few typos here and there, a few I noted near the end are:
"Nither", "Perhapse"

But again, kudos to a better analysis than anything put out by the amateurs on Seeking Alpha or Motley Fool.

JP's most frequent criticism of Tesla is that they ""refuse" to release a comprehensive lifecycle analysis of the cars energy and carbon intensity. To put this argument to bed Tesla should commission such a study.

Just to take issue with one point the OP made: He constantly makes claims that full EV's are a waste of battery use (he thinks hybrids save more petrol overall for the price).

This is almost certainly true. Given the average daily driving distance is 30 miles, having batteries for 40 miles (~10kwh) saves the vast majority of fuel use, the remaining 75Kwh of energy intensive battery gets significantly diminished returns because it is used far less frequently. That's not to say the Tesla doesn't decrease energy use over its usable lifetime, however if you calculate total fuel saved per kWh of battery capacity a plug in hybrid will definitely come out on top.

The rest of Mr Petersen's ramblings about only vampires being able to charge EV's with solar and Model S's being more carbon intensive because thy produce more emissions over their lifetime than a Nissan Versa are just bizarre and incoherent.

It depends on when you charge you car, if you charge in the middle of the night using off peak and surplus power, it would be completely zero emissions.

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