Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Murray Energy CEO Robert Murray are now engaged in a battle of words after Murray called the EV maker “a fraud” and said that it relies too much on tax subsidies. His words call a report earlier this year from Devonshire, which claims that Tesla’s business model mirrors scams.
Musk was quick to respond with a challenge to Murray, suggesting that they “both go to zero” on tax subsidies.
Murray Energy chief blasts Tesla
The energy giant chief executive also questioned the motives of Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) and its supporters. When asked if he would invest in Tesla CNBC‘s Squawk Box, he not only declared the automaker “a fraud,” he also called out the wealthiest names in the U.S.
“Tesla is a fraud. He’s gotten $2 billion from the tax payer, has not made a penny yet in cash flow. Here again, it’s subsidies, and Hillary Clinton said they need government help. She was talking about Elon Musk, Warren Buffett… That’s who she was talking about in supporting her friends. It has nothing to do with the environment, and by the way, you could close down every coal-fired plant in the United States today and you would not affect the temperature of the earth at all.”
Tesla chief fires back
With his typical bravado, Tesla CEO Elon Musk was quick to fire back, using Twitter as his vehicle to deliver his comments:
Real fraud going on is denial of climate science. As for "subsidies", Tesla gets pennies on dollar vs coal. How about we both go to zero?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 10, 2016
Musk’s and Murray’s comments demonstrate just how unlikely it is that oil companies will ever get along with those that try to reduce the world’s dependence on oil.
Tesla shares up on product news
Despite the war of words between Murray and Musk, shares of Tesla climbed on Monday, rising by as much as 2.8% to $202.11. They probably received a boost from one of Musk’s other tweets, in which he announced that the automaker will hold a product unveiling event on October 17. He promised to unveil a surprise product that no one is expecting. The event is separate from the one scheduled for October 28, when there is expected to be news about the merger with SolarCity.
Tesla is facing a growing list of lawsuits filed by shareholders who are trying to block the merger, but Musk claims that they are “without merit.” The automaker revealed the lawsuits in a regulatory filing with the SEC on Friday. In all, there are now seven cases, meaning the number has nearly doubled in a short amount of time. The cases allege breach of fiduciary duties on the part of Musk. A hearing is scheduled for October 14, and the court will consider whether to combine the lawsuits.
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