Reuters Tesla Article Fails Badly (… Unless Intent Is To Mislead)

Originally published on EV Obsession.

Let’s just get this out there right up front: Reuters is one of the most biased anti–electric vehicle media outlets out there. I noted this publicly back in 2013, and not much has changed since then, as far as I’ve seen. What’s up with the Reuters agenda? Sponsors? Editorial bias because of editor prejudice and personal investments? I don’t know, and honestly, I don’t really care to dig into it. In fact, I mostly don’t feel like debunking or wasting my time on FUD from outlets like Reuters at all. I much prefer writing on the fascinating, fun, positively disruptive, good news that is so abundant in the world of electric cars and cleantech in general. But sometimes, I just feel like I have to do it.

In the latest example of irresponsible “journalism” (aka, Reuters twisting information to make an incorrect and societally harmful point that it is intent on making), it has crunched Tesla’s numbers to show how much it is “losing” on each Model S.

The punchline of this new joke from Reuters is that each Model S costs Tesla $4,000. “Mwahahaha, all your #winning is a lie, Tesla!” The reason this is a joke is as follows:

EBITDA-Margin

  1. Tesla’s gross retail margin on the Model S is above 20%, which puts it far above the industry norm. (h/t TeslaMondo).
  2. Tesla’s overall “loss” is due to the fact that it is building a world-record-shattering Gigafactory that will result in a shit-ton of future revenue and profits; is building a new Supercharger approximately once a week to corner the market on one of the key aspects of the EV market; just dumped a lot of money into R&D to build the earth-moving Tesla Model X (which is sure to make BMW’s and Mercedes’ knees shake), create the quickest mass-market car in history, and develop other innovations we probably haven’t even heard of yet. In other words, it’s not a “loss” — it’s a combination of several #WinningTheFuture moves. You aren’t really losing when you sacrifice a pawn to get checkmate, are you?

I also love how Johnny Le summarized it in a recent comment on CleanTechnica: “The way I put it is that yes, Tesla loses $4k per car sold but gains a gigafactory, a hundred or so charging stations, the ludicrous mode, the P90D, the self-charging cable/snake, and probably many other minor things that we don’t know about. So it’s a good loss. I wish I can use money that effectively.”

Tesla made all of this exceedingly clear in the recent quarterly letter it published. You don’t have to try in order to get the story right. You have to try in order to get the story wrong.

Back to Reuters, TeslaMondo nicely summarizes: “They know Musk warned of ‘staggering’ spending and relentless growth this year. They’re not that stupid. They’re just feigning stupidity to appeal to stupid readers — and, unfortunately, stupid investors.”

Sadly, I don’t think it’s the last time we’ll see anti-EV nonsense from Reuters.

Zachary Shahan

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.