Tesla CEO Learns Nothing From Big Three Automakers, Flies Around in Private Jet

<a href=Elon Musk" width="616" height="420" />

Is there something in the water at Tesla? First we learned that the auto startup decided to stop selling the only car it has on tap (the Roadster) a whole year before the Model S sedan goes on sale in 2012. That means the company will go a long time without any marketable product. And now Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been caught making the ultimate auto bigwig mistake of flying around in a private jet—at least 12 times in the last 14 months, to be exact.

According to FAA records, Musk took his Dassault Falcon 900 jet to Washington both before and after the U.S. government lent Tesla $465 million for the Model S. The cost of Musk's jetsetting ways: $175,000 in the latter half of 2009. Did Musk actually need to travel for business? It's quite possible, but in the wake of the Big Three auto companies' fall from grace, it seems unwise to use a private jet while also asking taxpayers to pay for your product.

For its part, a Tesla spokesman told Wired that the company doesn't have a private jet and that, "When traveling on business, Elon and other Tesla employees have used his private airplane, especially for urgent or unscheduled travel, other times they fly coach. Tesla has paid for expenses such fuel charges and landing fees on some of the trips." Fair enough. Let's hope—for the sake of Tesla's PR department, at least—that this doesn't happen again.

[Via Wired Autopia]

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  • Fabian Pattberg

    It is about the individual responsibility of the Tesla owner. Producing an electric car and flying of (on taxpayers money) doesn't really look so good in my opinion. It seems to me that Mr Musk is only not getting his priorities right and he needs to be a role model. Flying in a private jet at the taxpayers expense is not really it.

    Where to find me: FabianPattberg.com http://www.fabianpattberg.com

  • Kirk Gould

    So if Nancy Pelosi is flying home to California on a public jet (not tiny little plane, but 700 Series) with public funds every weekend, how do view that? Oh, wait a minute. She is part of the General Motors management team. So I guess the lesson for Elon Musk is, that his plane is too small and the government is covering the whole cost of it, I mean we are not covering the whole cost of it.

  • Brian Kung

    This seems like yellow journalism. The man owns his own space faring company (SpaceX), you don't think he can afford to take a private jet around?