"Dear cult members, I love you": Elon Musk annouces new goals for Tesla and talks smack about competitors

Musk also said Uber drivers won't be able to use Tesla's self-driving cars

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published October 27, 2016 9:37PM (EDT)

Elon Musk   (Reuters/Rashid Umar Abbasi)
Elon Musk (Reuters/Rashid Umar Abbasi)

During an earnings call on Wednesday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced that he has three main goals for his electric car company while getting in a healthy dose of smack talk against various competitors.

Musk’s three main goals for Tesla are to make sure that the Model 3, the fourth car to be launched in the company’s history, is finished on time and can be priced at an affordable rate; to advance Tesla’s autonomous vehicle software, which has been criticized for being unsafe; and improving the company’s high-energy battery pack for its cars.

Musk also used the opportunity to take swipes at some of his industry critics and competitors. In response to former General Motors chairman Bob Lutz, who compared Tesla’s supporters to a religious cult, Musk tweeted: “Dear cult members, I love you.”

Similarly, in response to reports that Tesla has a war against Uber because it will not allow its self-driving vehicles to be used by Uber drivers, Musk responded, "Sometimes this has been characterized as Tesla versus Uber or Lyft or something like that. It's not Tesla versus Uber, it's the people versus Uber."

All of these announcements occurred on the same day it was announced that Tesla had just earned its first quarterly profit in three years. It generated $21.88 million in net income in the third quarter, compared to $229.86 million loss at the same time last year.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a professional writer whose work has appeared in multiple national media outlets since 2012 and exclusively at Salon since 2016. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012, was a guest on Fox Business in 2019, repeatedly warned of Trump's impending refusal to concede during the 2020 election, spoke at the Commonwealth Club of California in 2021, was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022 and appeared on NPR in 2023. His diverse interests are reflected in his interviews including: President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981), Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak (1999-2001), animal scientist and autism activist Temple Grandin, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (1997-2001), director Jason Reitman ("The Front Runner"), inventor Ernő Rubik, comedian Bill Burr ("F Is for Family"), novelist James Patterson ("The President's Daughter"), epidemiologist Monica Gandhi, theoretical cosmologist Janna Levin, voice actor Rob Paulsen ("Animaniacs"), mRNA vaccine pioneer Katalin Karikó, philosopher of science Vinciane Despret, actor George Takei ("Star Trek"), climatologist Michael E. Mann, World War II historian Joshua Levine (consultant to "Dunkirk"), Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (2013-present), dog cognition researcher Alexandra Horowitz, Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson (2012, 2016), comedian and writer Larry Charles ("Seinfeld"), seismologist John Vidale, Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman (2000), Ambassador Michael McFaul (2012-2014), economist Richard Wolff, director Kevin Greutert ("Saw VI"), model Liskula Cohen, actor Rodger Bumpass ("SpongeBob Squarepants"), Senator John Hickenlooper (2021-present), Senator Martin Heinrich (2013-present), Egyptologist Richard Parkinson, Rep. Eric Swalwell (2013-present), Fox News host Tucker Carlson, actor R. J. Mitte ("Breaking Bad"), theoretical physicist Avi Loeb, biologist and genomics entrepreneur William Haseltine, comedian David Cross ("Scary Movie 2"), linguistics consultant Paul Frommer ("Avatar"), Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (2007-2015), computer engineer and Internet co-inventor Leonard Kleinrock and right-wing insurrectionist Roger Stone.

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Business Elon Musk Technology Tesla Tesla Motors