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Elon Musk Goes On Twitter Tirade Against GM For Supposedly Trying To Kill Electric Vehicles

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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Tesla head Elon Musk went on a social media tirade Friday morning against the auto industry’s supposed history of campaigning to kill off the electric vehicle market.

Musk, who owns more than 20 percent of the California electric automaker, told his Twitter followers that he founded Tesla to fight against General Motors’ efforts to suffocate the fledgling EV market. His comments come as Wall Street analysts hedge their bets on Tesla’s financial health.

“Few people know that we started Tesla when GM forcibly recalled all electric cars,” the tech entrepreneur noted, referring to his competitor’s decision to recall the experimental electric EV1 car in California in the early 2000s. GM produced and leased the EV1 as part of a project to determine how the market would react.

Musk also chided critics who say Tesla would not exist were it not for heavy amounts of government subsidies.

“Nothing to do w govt incentives or making money. Thought 90% of losing it all (almost did many times), but it was the only chance,” he wrote, implying that starting the Silicon Valley company had nothing to do with tax credits or government funding.

Musk tweeted out an Investopedia article Thursday suggesting Tesla is the most publicly maligned company on Wall Street. Still, the maker of the Model S and forthcoming Model 3 saw its capitalization surge dramatically earlier this week to about $48.2 billion, $3.1 billion more than Ford, the second largest auto company behind GM.

He has promised to deliver between 100,000 and 200,000 Model 3s to the market in the second half of 2017, despite Tesla’s paltry showing last year. Musk must produce more than 40,000 Model 3s a month to keep that promise. Analysts who initially championed Tesla are starting to have second thoughts on the company’s high valuation.

David Tamberrino, an analyst with Goldman Sachs, for instance, wrote in a memo that Tesla has done good work on producing electric vehicles, but “our concerns are more near-term oriented with respect to operational execution on the Model 3 launch, an unproven solar business, and cash needs.”

Tamberrino was also worried the company would have to sell stock to raise $1.7 billion to make room for a possible loss if the Model 3 doesn’t make the grade. The financial institution ultimately downgraded the company from “neutral” to “sell.”

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