December 9th, 2020 by Johnna Crider
Yahoo! Finance chose Zoom as its “Company of the Year,” and that’s perfectly fine. However, Yahoo! Finance decided to focus a whole article on why Tesla didn’t make the cut, and the article’s got some issues. Aside from not being fair to Tesla, it really wasn’t fair to Zoom. To be frank, it’s weird. I really don’t see the point, but let’s dive in.
First, congrats to Zoom — it really did help many people and companies during the pandemic. It helped many people stay connected during the global lockdowns and enabled those fortunate enough not to lose their jobs to work from home. Zoom is a worthy winner for that award.
The three reasons why Yahoo! Finance didn’t choose Tesla were:
- Autopilot deaths.
- Tesla’s “bubble.”
- Elon Musk.
The first two one definitely a bunch of FUD, and the second one is pure speculation.
Autopilot Deaths vs. Deaths from Human Drivers
The article referenced a website that has tallied up 7 deaths in 2020 that were somehow related to Tesla’s Autopilot. The article also noted that since 2016 there have been 13 accidents with 16 casualties in which Autopilot was reportedly engaged. Granted, no death is a good thing, but when you compare this to how many lives have potentially been saved from Autopilot, and how many deaths occur on the road every day due to drivers not paying attention, drinking alcohol, or even falling asleep, you can clearly see that Autopilot isn’t a net issue here.
Also note that misuse of the technology was noted in several of those cases. The driver either ignored the nags or didn’t take over when the system alerted them to do so.
Driving Statistics To Consider
- One person every 50 minutes dies in a drunk driving–related crash. —NHTSA
- 1 million drivers have been arrested for driving while under the influence in 2016. —CDC
- There were 10,511 deaths from drunk-driving crashes in 2018. —NHTSA
- 231 children 14 and under were killed in drunk-driving crashes in 2018. —NHTSA
- 8 people in the U.S. are killed every day in crashes involving a distracted driver. —CDC
- In 2018, distracted driving killed 2,841 people. 400 of those were pedestrians. —NHTSA
- In 2018, an estimated 400,000 people were injured in crashes that involved distracted drivers. —NHTSA
What about 2020, in particular?
“Car drivers are killing people — pedestrians, cyclists, their own passengers, themselves — at a much higher rate this year compared to last.” —USA Streetsblog
USA Streetsblog recently shared a new report from the traffic engineering firm Sam Schwartz that revealed that the death rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled was 1.15 for the first 6 months of 2020, which was up 1.02 from the same period in 2019. This is an increase of 12.7%. Richard Retting, the National Practice Leader for Safety and Research at Sam Schwartz, noted that “this increase in traffic fatality rates is tragic and unacceptable.”
Tesla’s Vehicle Safety Report
Tesla recently released its Vehicle Safety Report for Q3 2020, which showed that vehicles using Autopilot are much less likely to get into an accident than other vehicles on the roads here in the US. According to the NHTSA, car accidents occur in the US every 479,000 miles. With Autopilot engaged, Tesla vehicles experienced one accident every 4.59 million miles. That is an incredible difference, even with the bias that must exist for higher-cost vehicles and newer vehicles (Tesla vehicles are more expensive and newer than the average vehicle on the road today).
Some Instances Where Autopilot Saved Lives
— TESLA_saves_lives (@SavedTesla) December 2, 2020
Yet the article claims Autopilot is a downside, and a reason to not give Tesla an award?
In the Yahoo! Finance‘s article, the author also speaks about “the bubble question” and whether or not Tesla is being overly valued. To be fair, he did point out how the competition is mimicking Tesla, and no one knows the future of the stock price. However, there are clear reasons why so many are investing in the company. Many — including myself — see Tesla’s enormous potential, and don’t see any competitors that match it in several key areas. If you remember my article on ARK Invest’s Tasha Keeney’s take on Wright’s Law, you can see clearly how Tesla’s tech keeps maturing, and what is especially important is that it keeps maturing faster than other companies’ tech.
Although I’m not advising anything in regards to investing and am not a financial advisor, investments in Tesla are largely from people who think they understand the products that the company is selling and the reasons why Tesla will continue to be a leader.
Tesla shorts have lost more this year than the US airline industry lost from the coronavirus lockdowns! All the while, people shorting Tesla’s stock were spreading hate and lies about Elon Musk. What will 2021 bring? We’ll see.
This is the real reason for the article, in my opinion. Many in the media seem to hate or at least can’t stand Elon Musk, and often compare him to Trump. Elon Musk may have made some mistakes — for example, some of his predictions about the virus turned out to be false. He is human, as we all are. We make mistakes, but that doesn’t mean we are bad people.
What wasn’t mentioned was the fact that Tesla and Elon Musk worked hard to get hospitals more ventilators and other equipment. Elon even responded to my tweets asking for help when my own state was running out of ventilators. He didn’t promise to help, but said he would try — and in the end, our state was able to slow down the curve and wound up giving the extra ventilators donated from other states back to states that needed them.
The author mentioned the “pedo guy” comment but also neglected to point out that Unsworth went on live television telling Elon where to stick the mini submarine his team created to try to rescue some kids trapped in caves — the implication for where to stick the mini submarine was not polite. Media coverage mostly overlooked that and painted Unsworth as the victim, when he actually started the drama. Elon apologized and even won the case, but honestly, this shouldn’t even be brought up — it wasn’t even in 2020.
Zoom was a worthy candidate for Yahoo! Finance‘s Company of the Year for 2020. I think that the author of this article diminished that by focusing so much on Tesla. Also, Zoom has its flaws, too, as does every single company on the planet, since humans run corporations and humans are not perfect. However, it was Zoom, not Tesla, that kept a lot of people connected through a really stressful year.
Regarding Tesla, those three issues that were listed as to why Yahoo! Finance didn’t choose Tesla are not only unnecessary, but are based on information that is mostly false or twisted half-truths presented as actual facts.
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