During his talk at the World Energy Innovation Forum (WEIF) today, Tesla CEO Elon Musk called for people to revolt against the propaganda of the fossil fuel industry and he even described a tactic he believes the industry used to smear his companies.

“We need to appeal to the people – educate people to sort of revolt against this and to fight the propaganda of the fossil fuel industry which is unrelenting and enormous.” – Musk said.

The CEO implied that the LA Times article from last year that misleadingly asserted that Musk’s companies received $4.9 billion in subsidies originated from the fossil fuel industry.

Musk suggested that the report was planted to counter the IMF study that found that the fossil fuel industry was receiving the equivalent of ~$5 trillion in subsidy a year. Both reports came out around the same time.

At the event this morning, Musk said:

“After the IMF came out with their study showing that fossil fuels are subsidized to the tune of $6 trillion a year [it’s was actually $5.3 trillion in 2015] – like $6 trillion per year. Then some representatives from the oil and gas industry added up all the incentives that Tesla had received and will receive in the future, which happens to coincide with the $6 billion figure.”

Musk followed by describing how the subsidies included everything Tesla ever received and everything it could receive in the future, both from the government and from other automakers through ZEV mandates, and including the DOE loan Tesla paid back with interest.

When the article was published last year, we published a complete breakdown with comments on each government incentive and information that wasn’t included or simply glanced over by the LA Times.

Musk continued with what he believes was the oil industry propaganda effort:

“They wanted it [the figure] to start with a ‘6’. So roughly a month or two after the IMF study came out, they started shopping that story around to journalists: “Tesla is getting a $6 billion subsidy” and it sounds a bit like a “$6 trillion subsidy”. It has a ‘6’ in it and ‘billion’ or ‘trillion’, you know, it’s kind of close. [laughing]”

He added:

“then they get the LA Times to buy it. It was totally nonsensical.”

At the time, the LA Times said that they themselves conducted the research.

Interestingly, even though this whole story happened last year, it resurfaced last month after  former SUN Microsystems CEO and co-founder, Scott McNealy, called out Musk on Twitter. He said that Musk’s supporters were unwilling taxpayers and he referenced the LA Times article. Musk’s answer was a simple bet that SUN Microsystems received more subsidies than Tesla.

We have a video of Musk’s talk at WEIF. Youtube is straightening it out currently:

Following the WEIF talk, Musk held a conference call with analysts over Tesla’s first quarter financial results. Here are a few important takeaways from the call:

 

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