October 15th, 2020 by Zachary Shahan
A reader suggested a few weeks ago that we start a Tesla Throwback Thursday series to reflect on how Tesla has changed over time and how the media narrative around Tesla has changed.
I think Tesla itself is actually very consistent. It is driven by long-term plans, and those long-terms plans don’t seem to change very much. However, the company (i.e., Elon Musk) reveals more and more to the public as technologies mature, and the media reading of what the company is doing varies tremendously. Covering the company for 8 years, I feel like it’s a never-ending roller coaster ride.
So, to kick things off, what what going on one year ago today? And what was going on 5 years ago today?
Tesla One Year Ago on CleanTechnica
On October 15, 2019, Chanan Bos broke the news that the Tesla Model Y production and deliveries would begin in the first quarter of 2020, way ahead of schedule. No one seemed to believe us and almost no one else touched the story until December, when a major media outlet reported something similar. Even I was a bit skeptical, despite seeing the communications about this from an insider, and set somewhat lower expectations by pointing out that production seemed to be on that timeline but that didn’t mean deliveries were, that many roadblocks could come in and screw up that plan, and Elon hadn’t hinted at all that production and deliveries could be that early and kept giving the same guidance that Model Y production was on schedule.
At the time, it was a little shocking to think that Model Y production could be so far ahead of schedule after all the trouble Tesla had with Model 3 “production hell.” However, we did know the Model Y was going to be extremely similar to the Model 3 — sharing about 75% of its parts with it — and that implied a much easier production ramp.
I also piggybacked on a story from The Guardian highlighting that the top banker for fossil fuel companies, JPMorgan Chase, was one of the biggest Wall Street bears on Tesla [TSLA]. It had a one-year price target of $200 (pre-stock split) on TSLA. Yikes! Hopefully no one with a heart took JPMorgan Chase’s opinion seriously.
In the previous few years, JPMorgan Chase had provided $75.6 billion in fossil fuel funding, versus $53.8 billion from #2 fossil fuel funder Citi.
You can see other CleanTechnica coverage of Tesla from around that time if you jump to page 77 of our Tesla archives.
Tesla 5 Years Ago on CleanTechnica
We didn’t have a lot published about Tesla on October 15, 2015, but there was a report about Volkswagen following Tesla’s electric lead and a human interest story about a Tesla owner who got his electricity from a home hydropower system.
Since that doesn’t give us much, here are some more stories about Tesla in that week:
- Tesla Model X Does Indeed Qualify For $25,000 Hummer Tax Deduction
- Univ of Nevada Gets $1 Million From Tesla For Battery Research
- Elon Musk: Apple Is “Tesla Graveyard
- Consumer Reports Is Wrong About Future Reliability Of Teslas
- Tesla Model III Won’t Need Consumer Reports Recommendation
- Tesla Shares Fall 10% After Consumer Reports Drops Recommendation
Tesla in the Media — October 15, 2019
The first page of my Google search for “tesla” for this day last year found:
- A rather short summary of Tesla’s corporate history (good stuff as well as “controversies” and struggles), the juxtaposition against several EV startups that didn’t make it, and analyst opinions at the time.
- A brief look into Tesla software update patterns and the app that revealed the data, TezLab; and people reportedly griping about Tesla Smart Summon. (Far from griping about it, I was having a lot of fun testing it out and playing with it alongside David Havasi and another Tesla owner briefly in town. Check out those archives to find all of our Smart Summon testing if you missed it at the time.)
- A story on why Tesla self-driving cars weren’t “ready for the road.”
- A story on supposed Tesla solar panel “nightmares.”
- A story about worn-out flash memory bricking some older Teslas.
So, you know, pretty positive stuff.
I could have broadened the search to cover the full week, but I thought it’d be a bit more fun to focus in on this precise date. When I found plenty of stories worth mentioning, I figured that was a fine choice. If you think I should expand to the whole week in future Tesla Throwback Thursday reports, though, let me know.
Tesla in the Media — October 15, 2015
Going back deeper, to 2015, Tesla Autopilot had just been released and was being tested out (and sometimes griped about) by Tesla journalists and owners.
How did you like this first Tesla Throwback Thursday?
What do you think we’ll find next week?
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