If there’s one thing children do best, it’s tell the truth. So when one of billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk’s kids called his Model S creation “the stupidest car in the world”, you can understand why he listened.
The insult was thrown at Musk after he made the decision to remove reading light in the back because it was thought most people would be using a backlit device and that it would free up more headroom, according to The Verge.
But after one of his five offspring spoke their mind, Musk re-added the reading lights and fitted them to the limited number of customer cars that had missed out for free.
Speaking at a conference at the North American International Auto Show, the PayPal co-founder said he hopes Tesla will be profitable by 2020 and that Tesla hit its 2014 target to sell 33,000 vehicles.
Details of the more affordable Model III, which will be 20 per cent smaller than the Model S, were also mentioned during the talk. Musk confirmed a price of US$35,000 before tax credits and that it will go on sale in 2017.
The subject then turned to one of Musk’s favourites, hydrogen. He called it “extremely silly” and outright dangerous. “It has extremely low density, it’s invisible, you can’t even tell if it’s leaking, it’s extremely flammable.”
“You might as well pick methane,” he added, raining heavily on Toyota’s parade.
On the subject of the Chevrolet Bolt, Musk said he was pleased to see General Motors CEO Mary Barra pushing harder into the all-electric car market with the Chevrolet Bolt.
There was also talk of self-driving car safety. “People should be concerned about safety with autonomous vehicles. The standard for safety should be much higher…” He told reporters self-driving cars, in fact, need to be ten times as safe to make sense, something that will take two to three years to prove.
Interestingly, Musk echoed our thoughts on when we will actually be able to buy a self-driving car. While most manufacturers have pencilled in 2020, the Tesla Motors boss said it will take seven to eight years.
Musk also took the time to dismiss rumours of a partnership with BMW and other major manufacturers, adding that focus is on “completing Model X”, which he said will definitely arrive in the summer of 2015. After a series of delays we’re not holding our breath.
The Tesla Model S arrived in the UK in 2014. Check out our full video review.