Following his very public spat with a New York Times writer, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk has a new foe to face down: Sarah Palin.
After the former Alaska governor and Republican vice-presidential candidate wrote a Facebook post calling Tesla a “loser” and accusing its electric cars of turning into a “brick” when the battery discharges, Musk responded on Twitter in a somewhat less angry, more sarcastic tone when compared to his tirade following the Tesla critique in The Times:
Sarah Palin calls Tesla a loser. Am deeply wounded. rawstory.com/rs/2013/04/07/…Btw, Model S warranty does cover "bricking".
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 8, 2013
“Bricking,” in this case, refers to a scenario in which the lithium-ion battery pack of a Tesla is unplugged for too long and cannot be revived. While the warranty for Tesla’s Model S car does cover bricking, the warranty for the Tesla Roadster does not because the issue “is avoidable” in that model, a Tesla spokesman told The New York Times last year.
Palin’s Facebook post criticizing Tesla focused on the news that Fisker, an electric car company that received a green-energy loan from the Obama administration, was laying off three-fourths of its U.S. workers. “Americans really need to get outraged by these wasteful ventures,” Palin wrote. “As we’ve seen time and time again, We the People are always stuck subsidizing the left’s ‘losers.’”
During a 2012 presidential campaign debate, Mitt Romney similarly called Tesla a “loser” in conjunction with criticism of Obama backing Fisker.
Like Fisker, Tesla took a substantial amount of government funding in the early stages of its development. But unlike the struggling carmaker, Tesla seems to be on the rise. In March, the company said it had reached profitability and would be paying back its $465 million government loan five years early and twice as fast as required by the original agreement.
“Profitability is what makes a company real,” Musk said at the time. “Tesla is here to stay and keep fighting for the electric car revolution.”