Tesla indicates there has been no “unintended acceleration” in its vehicles (aside from unintended acceleration caused by the drivers accidentally stepping on the accelerator pedal, which happens occasionally in all vehicles). However, something else destructive might have been intended by unintended acceleration claims, and not by Tesla. I want to zoom out right quick and paint a larger picture for you to see before coming back to that.
Here we have a company that is one of the strongest fighters for humanity itself. It is choosing to create products that are safe for humans and for the planet — safer for the individuals in the cars and also safe because they do not contribute to the mass pollution that other vehicles do. Some people do stand to lose from cutting pollution, though. These people are those with ties to the oil industry. The picture is vivid, yet you have to take a few steps back to see it in its entirety.
Carbon Impact Matters
Carbon pollution is the main contributor to climate disruption. It makes extreme weather worse and threatens the stability of our agriculture and water cycles. Tesla has stepped up and created solutions. No, Tesla isn’t the only company in the world doing something, but it’s the most prominent. It’s the most popular and draws the most attention, and it may be the company most significantly shifting an industry (or more) away from fossil fuels.
As of today, when I looked at Tesla’s webpage for Carbon Impact, the amount of carbon that has not been created via emissions from Tesla vehicles was over 3,564,442 tons. Tesla vehicles, unlike those that are powered by fossil fuels, do not have a tailpipe to push out carbon, and that is how much those vehicles are estimated to have cut CO2 pollution compared to a comparable gas car.
In 2018, The Guardian published an article that pointed out that vehicles are the largest source of carbon dioxide pollution in America. “For the first time in more than 40 years, the largest source of greenhouse gas pollution in the US isn’t electricity production but transport — cars, trucks, planes, trains, and shipping.” This article was published around the time Tesla started delivering its best-selling EV, the Model 3.
Burning one gallon of gasoline creates 20 pounds of carbon dioxide. The average car emits about 6 tons of carbon dioxide every year. In 2015, there were an estimated 263.6 million registered vehicles in the United States. The total number of Tesla vehicles sold by 2015 was just under 80,000. So, if we do the math, 263.6 million multiplied by 6 tons equals 1,581,600,000 tons of carbon produced by vehicles just in 2015. These numbers have vastly multiplied since then.
What Was Intended?
We don’t know that any of the NHTSA claims are fraudulent, but we do know there have been clear and precise campaigns to smear Tesla and Elon Musk. If Tesla is to succeed in transitioning us from using fossil fuels to using sustainable energy, some multi-trillion-dollar industries will go down. They won’t go down without a fight. So, whether intentions were bad in this recent story or not, we should keep in mind that much money is on the table and is actually working in various ways to try to bring down Tesla, or at least slow its growth.
FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) is something these industries as well as short sellers use all the time. They attack people who support Tesla, who say anything positive about it. I would not put it past some of them to file fake NHTSA complaints, and/or to amplify claims by packaging them up and pushing them onto the media.
The truth is that shorts bet a certain amount of money on the failure of Tesla’s stock. If the stock price is higher than what they bet, they lose — and they have already lost billions in 2020 alone. In some cases, short sellers may have actual connections to the oil industry. In other cases, they have have simply bought the narrative that Tesla is a failing company. Either way, both groups have a shared desire — for Tesla to go down.
In my opinion, short sellers are the vultures of the stock market, feasting upon the rotted remains of businesses that have failed. Regarding Tesla, which many hoped would fail, they don’t care about the bigger picture or the fact that carbon is contributing to an increase in climate change. They are just thinking about money.
You can’t deny Australia was on fire recently — a deadly fire that has damaged the ecosystem of an entire continent and poisoned rivers, which led to the killing of fish by the hundreds of thousands. I mean, you can deny these facts, but your personal beliefs as to whether or not they exist don’t negate the fact that they do exist.
Short sellers betting against Tesla and losing badly as they witness a historic rise in the stock and sentiment around the company, may be motivated to go to extreme lengths. In their death throes (metaphorically speaking here), some of them will fight harder. We don’t know the details of the recent NHTSA submissions and petition, but either way, going forward, we can expect more NHTSA complaints and more false claims about Tesla vehicles from people on Twitter tagging the DOJ and the SEC in their tweets. As long as major industries are losing money from Tesla’s rise, there will be large amounts of money and resentment going after the company (and its supporters). Be vigilant. Don’t let misleading claims fool you.