Tesla fights another big PR battle

While driving through horrible Seattle traffic on my way to a speaking engagement in Tacoma, I heard a radio report about Tesla. A federal investigation leading to a possible mandatory recall related to another fire report. There have been two relatively recent fires involving Teslas caused by road debris penetrating the battery compartment.

Then I was sent this blog post by Tesla (thanks Geoff!). It talks about the mission of Tesla (deflecting criticism of building sports cars for rich people) and then talks about the Tesla fires.

I have become a big fan of Elon Musk’s PR skills (and guts) after he took on the New York Times reporter who gave the Tesla a bad review. I doubted initially that Musk could win this battle (you know the old rule about never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel, and the NYT buys it by the trainload). But win it he did.

Now he is battling all major media who are on the story of the fires and investigation. But, is it fair? No, not at all. But it falls under the category of man bites dog. As Musk or his PR team point out in the blog that while Tesla has had 3 Model S fires in its history, in that time there have been 250,000 gasoline car fires, with 400 deaths. None of those got the headlines that a single Tesla fire got. Why? Because an all electric car is unique. Gas cars are not.

It’s going to take a lot more than this blog to counter all the press on this one. But, knowing Musk, it will be interesting to watch.