Tesla Punks Us Again. Maybe.

May 13, 2009
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Tesla logo

A few weeks back, we suggested that Tesla's Elon Musk is not real-crazy, just pretend-crazy--not Howard Hughes, just an actor playing the role of the wacko messianic CEO in order to get publicity for his company. Well, a new YouTube video suggests our suspicions may be correct--and that Musk's thespian tendencies are contagious.

In the clip, someone with a video camera is given a quick drive around the block perched in the passenger's seat of a Tesla Roadster. We don't get to see much--mostly the speedometer and a slice of the passenger-side window. But while the cinematography ain't all that, the soundtrack is pretty extraordinary.

Seconds after pulling into the street, the driver's phone rings. (FYI, someone needs a new ringtone.) He talks in curiously full detail about new investments in Tesla and big announcements coming in the next few days. We say "curiously full" because it sounds kind of like those one-sided conversations you hear in a Lifetime movies with Sally Field: "Of course I remember our whispered conversation about the child you had out of wedlock in Malta during the summer of 1975. And yes, I know all about the secret vault hidden below your hope chest in the basement. Now can you please give me that strudel recipe?" In short, it sounds like he's hoping to be overheard.

The most damning evidence that this video isn't what it purports to be? The driver has been identified as Victor Morgenstern, the head of a private-equity firm that invested heavily in Tesla. In fact Morgenstern's company controls a seat on Tesla's board. And given Tesla's current finances...well, let's just say that Mr. Morgenstern has good reason to keep spinning positive news about the company and its Model S.

Honestly, we don't know what's going on here. If you click through to the vid poster's channel or run a search for his username you'll see that he's a kid--probably in early teens, which would explain the weird view from the passenger's seat. So maybe the shooter was recruited for viral video duty and told to post it ASAP. Or maybe he just happened to catch Morgenstern on just the right phone call, and his post is totally innocent.

Here's what we really wanna know: who tipped off the media about the video, and why weren't they as skeptical as we are? Surely we're not that jaded. Are we?

[source: Gawker]

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