Jan 30, 2018
Steve Wozniak's strong opinion about Elon Musk
Steve Wozniak says he's tired of Elon Musk's promises and thinks Tesla needs to stop overhyping its self-driving technology.
- At the Nordic Business Forum in Stockholm, Wozniak, a cofounder of Apple, shared his experiences driving — and upgrading — his Teslas.
- "Now I don't believe anything Elon Musk or Tesla says, but I still love the car," Wozniak said, adding that other automakers were ahead in self-driving technology.
- Wozniak says he prefers his Chevy Bolt but drives a Tesla on longer trips, pointing to its countrywide charging network.
While Steve Wozniak has cemented his legacy as a tech pioneer, Elon Musk still has a long way to go.
That much could be concluded from Wozniak's recent talk at the Nordic Business Forum in Stockholm, which the Apple cofounder dedicated in part to his newfound love for Tesla bashing. He accused the electric-car maker of overhyping its self-driving technology and using "cheap" tactics to deflect responsibility for mistakes.
Wozniak, an early Tesla fan, owns two Model S cars. But his relationship with Tesla and its CEO has been fraught.
"Our first Tesla slid off some ice late at night up at Lake Tahoe, and we ended up in a snow bank," Wozniak said in a Q&A session jam-packed with anecdotes from his life. "There was no damage, but it was clear we needed a four-wheel-drive Tesla."
Shortly afterward, Wozniak said, he and his wife coughed up the money for an upgrade.
"Then they came up with some sensors that Elon Musk said would drive itself across itself the country by the end of 2016," Wozniak said, referring to a much-talked-about "summon" function Musk has promoted.
"Oh, I had to have that," Wozniak said.
"And then ... they got rid of their sensor company and put in new sensors — instead of one camera, eight cameras," he said, alluding to Tesla's breakup with the Israeli sensor-maker Mobileye. He added that the car was supposed to "drive itself across the country by the end of 2017."
Musk said in October 2016 that Tesla's cross-country demonstration trip would happen by the end of 2017. He then said last August that it would happen by early 2018. He again signaled in December that the timeline had been pushed further back.
Wozniak's trust was dented.
"I believed that stuff," he said. "Now I don't believe anything Elon Musk or Tesla says, but I still love the car."
He said he was sure the company's next car would be the one Musk promises will deliver.
Is Musk 'just a good salesman, like Jobs?'
Following the crowd's roaring applause, Wozniak compared Musk's salesmanship with that of his Apple cofounder, Steve Jobs.
"I love that car, but the trouble is Elon Musk is portrayed in a lot of movies with a lack of faith and trust," Wozniak said. "What he says, can you really believe in him? Is he just a good salesman, like Jobs, and may not be there [in the end]?"
Wozniak homed in on Tesla's self-driving technology.
"When a Tesla runs in any condition on a highway that is a little unusual — a cone in the middle of a lane — you have to move over," he said. "A dumb human or a smart human can easily do it, but the Tesla can't."
He added: "Man, you've got to be on your toes all the time with it."
Wozniak also said Tesla was deflecting responsibility.
"All Tesla says is, 'It's beta, so we're not responsible — you have to be in control,'" Wozniak said. "So that's kind of a cheap way out of it. Everything I've read told me that every other car manufacturer in the world — Audi and BMW — are actually ahead of Tesla for self-driving cars."
'We always drive the Chevy Bolt EV instead of the Tesla, every day'
At the Money 20/20 conference in Las Vegas in October, Wozniak said there was "way too much hype" around Tesla and praised brands like Volvo and Audi. But in the Swedish capital, he opened up about his new crush: the Chevy Bolt electric vehicle.
Wozniak lauded its "decent range" and said he used the GM vehicle for everything except longer trips to places like Kansas and Yellowstone when he and his wife drive their Tesla and use the company's extensive charging network.
But for everyday life, "we always drive the Chevy Bolt EV instead of the Tesla, every day," Wozniak said.
Another nugget from Wozniak's impassioned rant was the story of his first Tesla order: Wozniak and his wife had waited for six months to get on top of the waitlist for a Tesla in 2004 but opted out and got a Mercedes instead.
"When I got on top of the list," Wozniak said, "I received an email from Elon Musk that said, 'You're not a real Silicon Valley boy.'"
by Tom Turula