Well done to the author for taking the least interesting and most minor of the questions put to Elon.
How about :
Q: The German automakers just presented their responses to Tesla in Frankfurt at the international automobile show. What do you think of the Audi e-tron quattro and the Porsche Mission E?
A: Any action in the direction of electric mobility is good. Our goal at Tesla is for cars to transition to e-vehicles. That’s why we opened up all our patents for use by anybody.
Q: And who has used them?
A: Maybe the companies you already mentioned. When I saw a diagram of Porsche’s Mission E, I thought: It looks exactly like our car. Which is fine. It’s more important to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport.
Q: What role will German manufacturers play in the future?
A: The longer the delay of getting into electric cars, the worse off the German car industry will be. We have reached the limit of physics for what gasoline and diesel can do. You see what’s happened with the current diesel scandal at Volkswagen. In order to make progress, they apparently had to cheat. I think if you intentionally mislead governments around the world with software that is designed to only be effective at the test stand, this is a very conscious action.
Q: Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said: “No one will make money on electric cars.” When will Tesla?
A: I hope to be profitable next year. I agree, we cannot be making losses forever. This year we’ll be investing a lot into the manufacturing ramp-up of the Model X, and in the long term, the Model 3 as well. So our goal from next year onwards is to be cash-flow positive. But we wouldn’t slow down our growth for the sake of profitability.
Q: How do you see the role of Asia in the future of the e-car? We just saw the Taiwanese Thunder Power e-car at the IAA…
A: Thunder Power? Never heard of it. But you do have to take them seriously. There are four China-funded electric vehicle start-ups in the United States alone at the billion-dollar level. We are facing some challenges in China because we don’t get produced domestically. We have to pay 25 percent import taxes; when China exports a car to the United States, it’s 3 percent. If China expects other countries to have a level playing field then they should too.
Q: Do German politicians understand what’s happening in the mobility market?
A: I think the public understands better than the politicians and the automakers. If you judge the public reaction in the room, they know what should be done.