Musk Misses: The Stories You Don’t Hear About Tesla Anymore

Niya White
Mar 26 · 4 min read
Elon Musk via Business Insider

Tesla is definitely one of the most exciting companies to come around in a long time.

From its birth as a concept car, to its re-birth resulting from a brilliant hostile takeover by former Paypal executive and current CEO Elon Musk, Tesla has a number of myths surrounding it. But many stories have been left out of the history of this popular car company. Outside of the many announcements that have come and gone — and maybe resurfacing after Elon remembered them? — some projects were touted for a little while, then never heard about again. A few were just bad ideas — remember the Battery Swap? Some were just social media gimmicks, like the snake charger that seemed “kinda wrong”.

Here are others I wonder about:

Roller Coaster/Free Yogurt

Based on this e-mail, Tesla Employees were about to get some serious swag for all their hard work with the “production hell” — and not unionizing — by way of an electric pod rollercoaster in the lobby and free (!) frozen yogurt stands. Never mind the near- impossible logistics of a large amusement park ride in and around Tesla’s Hawthorne offices — the noise alone will likely be a serious distraction.

Though I’m curious about this frozen yogurt. Are we talking about something that resembles that old TCBY watered -down slop or Cold Stone Creamery fluffiness. Seriously Elon, how much love can you show your employees through dairy products? And please, no Dippin’ Dots.

Book Deal

A few months before Ashlee Vance’s best-selling extended puff-piece was released, there was a press announcement about Elon accepting pitches for a book of his own. There wasn’t much detail:

Walsh invited a group of publishers to hear a pitch on the book. All of them bid. Musk narrowed the field down to two. Penguin flew someone out to meet with Musk at SpaceX’s California headquarters. They won the deal.

This totally- not- ghostwritten book was supposed to be completed over the course of two to three years (announcement was in 2015) and was to feature Musk-isms on science, space exploration and the like. He even pitched his book with one of the biggest agents from William Morris.*

And then…nothing, zip, nada. The story disappeared as quickly as it showed up.

It’s noted that Musk later financed a new media company with p̶o̶a̶c̶h̶e̶d̶ former Onion writers — likely a retaliatory action for being hilariously rejected from buying the paper.

There are examples of Elon Musk’s writing all over the internet: “leaked” memos and e-mails, this introduction to his friendship with Kanye West, this weird blog post in response to an article about his ex-wife (the first one) and of course, those infamous tweets — but nothing published by him yet. Or ever?

Plane Crash

In mid-February, 2010 three Tesla Motors employees were flying to Hawthorne for an all-hands meeting. The plane never made it.

Understandably, negative stories about a company are always downplayed, but Tesla spokespersons — and especially their CEO — love bringing up hard times at Tesla in interviews to appear sympathetic. This important story about “the worst day in Tesla’s history” is curiously left out when recounting these experiences. The only update I’ve seen was a 2015 featurette on the owner of a destroyed house; the crash the ruined her daycare business. Thankfully no children were present in the house at the time — and she still hasn’t recovered from the physical, mental and financial trauma.

Tesla Diner

While Tesla expands the Supercharger network to be just as dominant as gas stations, the next obvious step is to have a place for a light snack just like those fossil-fuel snack shops.

In comes the idea for a Tesla diner: a 1950’s style eatery complete with lovely women (no lovely men??? How sexist!) on roller skates. Clearly a ploy for expanding the tesla brand into food, along with candy and tequila, and a fantastic excuse for upgrading employee medical insurance. Many jokes and speculation ensued as people wondered aloud how fast you can skate away from a burning car without falling.

Some paperwork was filed via a building permit, then the story fizzled out.

Bonus:

What happened to this orange kitten?

Elon Musk and lil orange kitten via Talulah Riley Instagram

I’m not sure if kitteh is this unfortunate found in a tesla, or a wandering stray from outside the mansion(s). But if this cutey is still around, it is by now a Great Big Orange Cat (or a Red Tabby).

Elon needs someone to give him a withering, judgmental look before tweeting something stupid. Because humans have failed at this, it’s obviously a job for a cat.

I’m sure there are quite a few things I missed — that rapidly fading Chicago Hyperloop thing for one — but the Tesla story is changing all the while.

Stay tuned.

*I contacted the WME rep via her LinkedIn account and she has yet to respond at the time of publication — and why would she? She doesn’t even know me like that…

Niya White

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Author from Chicago