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Negative Public Reaction to Seeing the Car

WOW! I wasn't prepared driving in my Model S Sig today to get a negative taunt thrown at me... I was showing some friends of mine at their office in a heavily walked area. Some guy comes up and says "Oh, so that's what my tax money is paying for." Now, I'm not normally political, but I went off... For those just receiving your car, have some nice witty retorts just in case you get something like that... I have a few good ones now that I am prepared. Of course, that's been the 1 bad out of 100 good who keep stopping and looking or wanting to see it (and I've only had it on the street for less than an hour)...

It really just depends on what your driving patterns are. Some people literally never leave a 50 mile radius in their car. Practical is a very, very subjective assessment.

I think there are a good range of responses on this thread. I like the penny toss idea, but I really prefer to think of the tax credit another way:

First, you probably pay more taxes than this guy does, so you are providing more overall benefit to the 'greater good' than he is. Next, you only get to keep the $7500 if you are already paying it. So if you pay $30k in taxes, the government is saying, "we'll take the money you owe, but if you want, you can keep $7500 OF THE MONEY YOU ARE ALREADY PAYING US and do something in both of our interests, which is to reduce our reliance on foreign oil." That can be buying a Volt, or a Leaf, or yes, a Tesla Model S. In many ways, though, the Model S is a more important vehicle for getting us off oil because it is really the first EV that--price notwithstanding--the public sees as a practical daily driver. It has enough range, power, and space to meet most needs in a package that people want. Or aspire to.

Proving out the Model S gets us to Model X and GenIII, which helps meet more use cases at (ultimately) a lower price point.

Last, this guy is a grade A jerk, and while you could go on and on about many of these topics, as many of said here, life is too short to try and fix every one of them. Enjoy the car--there are many of us here in Texas that are in the same boat you are, and I've gotten way more positive feedback than negative so far. I'm sure your positive experiences will be the norm.

In case this wasn't mentioned, it costs oil producers $2.00 to make a BARREL of oil. I'd rather support us government backed startup.

60 minutes:

And back on the topic of the thread, another legit response would be, "What aren't your tax dollars paying for nowadays?"

@larmorfreq: it costs oil producers $2.00 to make a BARREL of oil

Keep in mind that gasoline is derived from oil, so you get considerably less than a barrel of gasoline from a barrel of oil. Also keep in mind that you have refine the oil, put in additives and transport the stuff all over God's good earth. That takes pipelines, refineries, supertankers, storage tanks, trucks, lots of skilled and unskilled labor, etc. That stuff all costs money, which is why it's not $2 for a barrel of gas, if that's what you were implying it should be.

Oh, and don't forget all the taxes and costs imposed by regulatory requirements.


would it be too much to ask to post a really good photo from the bar in the sunroof from the back seat?


"Oh, so that's what my tax money is paying for."

Sadly, the way things are, I think you could look at anything or anyone and say that.

@BestbrokerinDallas: Tonight I went to my local TexMex for a quick bite and luckily found a place right near the door. I started to get out and a guy came up very excited about the car. We ended up talking for 30 minutes, he sat in the car (he was a real car guy, and his buddy is on the board of Fisker), and then offered to buy me a margarita while his group arrived. Long story short, they bought me dinner (I tried to pay) and they were very nice folks. As we sat there, people came in and quite a few took photos of the car. More positivity!

My comeback is (and will always be) the bumper sticker I had designed for the back of VIN 76: OPERATION OF THIS VEHICLE DOES NOT FUND INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM. Ask Mr. Tax Money if he can say the same of his car.

@Michael S;

But do keep in mind: only 45% of oil is now import (and dropping), and about 1/4 of that comes from the Gulf. Canada sends about as much as all those countries put together.

By purchasing a Model S, you're actually helping the company be successful - so they can repay the federal loan...

Michael S. You may wish to rethink your bumper sticker. I will defend your freedom of speech and your message, however, I question your wisdom. First, the ‘S’ is rolling art, a bumper sticker will not improve the aesthetics. Second, why paint a bullseye on your ‘S’ for the idiots to focus on?

Less is more. Knowing you are in the right, is reward enough.


Agreed. It's for that reason I don't even put bumper stickers even on my current crappy car. I wouldn't dream of spoiling a Model S with one - kind of like hanging a T-shirt on the Venus de Milo.

Ah, Texas. I'd be tempted to tell the jerk, "I see you chose to drink the Kool-Aid, too." But I would probably leave it at, "At least I pay enough in taxes to get some of my money back on the rebate. Meanwhile, in buying this car I'm helping Tesla pay back their DOE loan to reduce your tax burden, to create thousands of well-paid American jobs, and to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Which of those things don't you like?"

Amazingly, here in CO my Sig Red S has yet to draw a comment of any kind, positive or negative. Seen some turned heads, though.

mrspaghet... Thanks, however, I may reconsider and put one of those smiling faces… No wait, that’s me with the smiling face. Never mind.

I have owned and driven many exotic cars. You get one of two types of comments. The first are from people who appreciate cars and are happy that you spend the time to talk with or educate them while the second type are like the person you encountered.

The arguments vary but in many cases the underlying issue is that the perception is that you are part of the 1% and they are not. You are not going to win that debate and a flippant comment just confirms the opinion.

I ignore the comments and move on, I have more important things to worry about at any given time.

@Michael S

In addition to the othe rcomments people made about your potential bumper I also think it's a bad idea because I find it to be very insensitive. I understand that you may not have been thinking this way, but the option to buy a Model S or even a Volt or a Leaf is not even close to possible for most of the people who will see your bumper sticker. Even if your statement was true, what are the people who see your bumper sticker supposed to take away from that? "Oh I should save up six figures and buy a car with it to make the world a better place!" ?
No, most likely, if they're just going to resent you for trying to suggest that you're a better person than they are because you have the money to buy a Model S, regardless of whether you're "the 1%" or if you're a public school teacher who saved money for 10 years to get a Model S, it doesn't matter. That kind of bumper sticker may sound cute to some people, but to others, it will make you look like a jerk, and, if you worry about nothing else, at least worry about the fact that fairly or unfairly, it might make you or your car a target.

I would say..."I can pay for yours if you get one."

@Michael S

Saying that "Buying oil from the Middle East funds terrorism" is akin to saying "Watching a Hollywood funds pedophiles in the US Catholic church".

~ Prash.

Sign me up!!!!

@Prash, it's a lot more complicated then that. Although you can say that not all Middle Eastern Countries or their leadership does not support terrorist or extremist activity. The fact remains that we are flooding money into a region that would have otherwise been a huge dust bowl and nothing more if it wasn't for oil. We don't send our troops to many other countries to stop the inhumanity that occurs there. I am not saying we go to the oil rich countries to fight solely for the oil. What I am saying as that it a pretty big coincidence. History proves countries will go to war for things far less important then natural resources. My parents were actually born in the region and there are really good people there, like anywhere! But there are also really bad, misguided, ignorant and heavy influenced people as well that can do a lot of damage given the funds needed to do so. They already have the motivation and with stupid videos put out on YouTube, they build even more of an extremist following everyday. Propaganda has always been a great manipulator disguised as a motivator.

@BYT, while I agree with some of your reasoning, I feel that it applies to pretty much every country. Of course, except Antarctica.

~ Prash.

"Well yes, and I hope you enjoyed it when President Obama opened up the strategic oil reserve"

Ask for compassion: "I'm neither in the 1 percent or the middle class, or the 47 percent. I'm in the 5 percent, so I guess neither political party is looking out for me. I need tax savings wherever I can find it."

"talk to the hand - looser"

If someone is that uninformed - or that addicted to FOX news.

"talk to the hand - looser"

Actually, it's "loser". Don't spell like one.

I have my top 10 list of responses ready

10) I gave my tax credit to the food bank, got a problem with that?
9) believe me, I put more money in this car than you did
8) what do you drive....(pause for response)...oh, I'm sorry.
7) what do you drive.... (Jerk says GM or Chrysler product)... Hey, you should be thanking me!
6) the sales tax is higher than the tax credit
5) you pay taxes? Dude, you need to hire a better accountant!
4) it's a corporate lease so I have to thank BP and the people of the Gulf Coast
3) I'm Canadian
2) oh it's not mine, this is Ron Regan's car
1) if you work hard, someday this technology will trickle down to you too

Anyone have good responses that won't get me keyed? Thx! I live in sf where I've seen someone burn a car with a cig because the owner corrected them on the make.


There is really no way to protect yourself against envy. Anyone who would damage a car out of spite will do that whether they talk to you or not.

I've been thinking about this thread and think hostile reactions to the Mod S are a "teachable moment". The oligarchs have trained us to see each other as the enemy. When someone gives a dig about the tax credit or DOE loan, if we have the time, we can gently say something like "I'd like to hear more of your ideas about Tesla". Engage them and listen. They probably don't know what they are talking about and have just been programed to deliver a hostile one-liner. Discuss the relative merits of government subsidies. Remind them that the DOE loan is a LOAN! Mention that Tesla is an American company show them the car. etc. Be gentle and respectful, otherwise we are just playing into the oligarchs' hand.

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