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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)...

Another you might like to follow/read is John Tamny, economist at Wainwright, and contributor at RealClearMarkets. Says, in addition to your bankruptcy explanation, that trade is never unbalanced, and that quantitative easing (money printing) does so much harm to the currency it is worse than pointless, etc.

ask him if he's one of 47% not paying a federal tax, and if he's not, thank him ;)

All you gotta do is point to the "I support our troops" magnet on the back of the car....

Any questions? :)

My response probably won't be a snappy comeback. If someone is brave enough to say something to me they better be wearing track shoes.

Tell them to suck on your exhaust pipe.

@tesla.mrspaghet, ahhh, thanks, I completely forgot about the tax credit. Well, I haven't taken that yet and besides, if any car deserves it, I think a true BEV like the Leaf or the Model S are the only ones that should truly qualify personally. I'll still be snippy if I hear that comment however... :D

What red blooded, patriotic American would be against a car that was manufactured in the US, built primarily from US parts, operating on US electricity, generated by US built Super Charging stations, built from US Solar Cells, that operate on US rays of sunshine, creating what will eventually be thousands of high-paying US jobs, led by a genius from South Africa?

Short version:

"Why yes, thank you. And my tax money is paying to subsidize the oil to put gas in your car, and that's four times what you paid for mine."

Long version:

"Why yes, thank you. You spent $2, of which you will get $1.50 back. And my tax money is paying to subsidize the oil industry that puts gas in your car. That costs me $9.33*, of which I will get nothing back."

* $2.8 B in oil industry subsidies per year, according to Mitt Romney. The $2 for Tesla includes the DOE loan plus 20,000 tax credits, or $600 million.

@akimball, that is the problem today! As American's we should unite for the greater good of this country, instead we are on polar opposites and have anger fueled from self interests and propaganda distributed heavy by extremely biased news agencies. There needs to be a fundamental change to the was we treat each other since IQ's of the masses are not getting any higher to help supplement the abundance of ignorance.

+1 @zwjohnston7.

Give him a penny and tell him thanks, you are repaying him his contribution to your rebate not just for your car but 400 friends' cars as well. (399 would probably just confuse him)

My reaction would be to simply walk away and smile, in the knowledge that, due to their ignorance and narrow mindedness, they are doomed to a lifetime of pumping gas into a piece of outdated machinery, at $4+ per gal. and smelling like petroleum distillates.....

he's probably just jealous!

One of many, many, many reasons not to live in Texas I suppose.

I find there are many reasons to like living in Texas. And I've lived a lot of places (including California and NYC).

OMG! I LOVE everyone's responses... These are great! The initial response pissed me off, but as I drove around today, I had people telling me to roll down my windows... This one couple asked what type of car it was... They said it was the most beautiful car they had ever seen (which I wholly agree with) and asked who made it... I told them and mentioned it was all electric, no gas, no oil, no emissions... They were floored it was all electric... Then tonight when I went to dinner, the parking lot in the front of the restaurant was full so I had to park in the back. There was a security guard watching the cars and he flagged me over and gave me the most secure, safest non-parking spot and watched the car. Then while I waited for my table, the hostess said there was a rumor going around the restaurant that I tipped the security guard $100 (which I didn't tip him anything, just thanked him - not sure if that was a social faux pas or not) and that I was a professional football player (I'm big and stocky, but certainly not a sportsman)... I felt like a celebrity! :-)

That's when you shoulda whipped out and donned your bright red Tesla baseball cap! ;)

@Brian H: Thanks, I'll look up Tamney


Congrats! I love stories like this, and it is part of the reason why it's so great being one the first ones out there to own it! Don't sweat the negative stuff, even original Model T owners got razed about driving the first gas cars back in the early 1900's. 

My comeback would have been... "Thank God you did, because without Tesla and its CEO, we might not have a space program anymore in America". 

When I wear my Tesla cap, some people ask about it, and I quickly turn to the fact that Tesla's CEO is keeping America in space, and keeping NASA alive. Most folks have never made that connection, because of all the negative press about Fisker and Solyndra (sp?). In fact, I am considering putting a lic plate frame on my Model S that says... "Falcon ####" (whatever my vin number is), and at the bottom "Tesla-SpaceX".

My older brother, a staunch Republican, keeps calling my Model S an Obama car. I shut him up by saying W signed the tax credit into law, so what's your point? He Really gets under my skin, but I just smile and say thanks for helping offset my cost.

I actually don't hold it against people who assume the Model S sucks because it is an electric car. Given the history of electric cars I'd say the burden of proof is on those claiming otherwise.

-Roadster owners please don't get bent out of shape. I'm sure the Roadster is great, but a $100k+ two-seater with no storage isn't the most practical car in the world for most people. Just fun.

All the other EVs are neither fun nor practical. I.e., they suck from the perspective of most people (true believers in "the cause" excepted).

There is really no reason for people to give the Model S the benefit of the doubt at this point. So have patience, they will see the truth with their own eyes as more of them show up on the road.

"and it's saving you about $9 over what you would have subsidized had I bought an ICE"

No "e". Tamny. Get on his email list (about 2-3 per mo.) by sending to .

Only 1½ days till the next/1st real COTS launch! 8:45(?) EDT.
Wonder how soon they'll attempt parachute then powered land touchdown for the Dragon.

Tell him that you weren't able to take advantage of the tax breaks for heavy gas guzzling cars a few years back, but you didn't want to miss this opportunity.

Most people don't realize that tax payers can still subsidize purchases of SUVs weighing at least 6,000 pounds by allowing consumers to offset (small business) income by up to 75% of the purchase price of the car in the tax year that you purchase the car. This stupid tax break works for anybody with a home based business (think Amway, Mary Kay, Real Estate sales, etc.).

The government gives up much more tax revenue from this than they ever will from EVs. This education usually diffuses the whole tax break argument.


Wow, sounds like a crazy first day with the car. I think your later experience is more likely what you will find.

As far as the responses, I think I like the hand written check for .0000025. How about PayPal (also Musk) the amount to them from the touch screen? At least make them poke their head inside and start to change their opinion.

You forgot to account for the 47% of the population that does not pay taxes (of which the guy may be one). So, 7500/(300000000*.53) = $0.000047. So throw a penny at him and say he got an instant 21000% return.

+2 Michael_Bluth. This is my most favorite thread.

PS: Is that your real name? Or are you a fan of Arrested Development?


I love the responses!


+1 Love the comment.

BestBroker. I have found it is a lost cause to argue with idiots and the uninformed. It is better to smile and say “we agree to disagree, and have a good day.” A ‘thank you’ might help end the conversation quickly. You will not change their minds and they won’t change yours. Unless you are Don Quixote, you will find fighting windmills and blowhards very unsatisfying.

I am so jealous of Rod and Barbara and other “S” owners. Have you seen the price of gas in California? Thank you “Seven Sisters” you help the EV cause everyday and I am sure the Federal tax breaks Big Oil receives far exceeds $.000025 per person.

mrspaghet. Often the second step is a quantum leap. If not for the roadster owners, we would be “S” out of luck! The roadster was the perfect first step for a start up car company’s first product. I agree with you about bailing out failing companies, but in an approaching election year losing another 500,000 jobs (+ or -) with GM and Chrysler was not an option for the President.

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