Elon Musk is not impressed with Leaf, Volt

Elon Musk wasn't exactly glowing about the electric car industry in a recent interview, calling the Chevy Volt 'unimpressive' and the battery on the Nissan Leaf 'primitive'.  Is he just  stirring the pot, or does the head-turning success of his Tesla Model S electric vehicle give Elon Musk the right to gloat?

Stephen Lam/Reuters/File
Elon Musk, Chief Executive of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, attends the Reuters Global Technology Summit in San Francisco in June. What could Mr. Musk do with billions from Google's Larry Page?

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] has every right to be proud of his creation, the Tesla Model S.

It's snatched so many awards he probably needs a second office to keep them all in, and it's just been rated as the safest car the NHTSA has ever tested.

When it comes to whatever the rest of the industry is doing though, he's rather less impressed. And in a new interview with Bloomberg, he's given both the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf--the two most prolific plug-ins on America's roads--a big, solid "meh".

It isn't the first time he's sniped at either car, once labeling the Volt as "unimpressive" and calling the Nissan Leaf's battery "primitive"--this before the Model S had even come to market. But this time he's really gone to town with the criticism.

Neither car, he says, is great on aesthetics, nor acceleration and handling, nor fit and finish, nor each car's electronics--all reasons a person might buy a car, in Musk's view, and therefore leaving neither car with sufficient desirability in any area to make it worth buying. Speaking of the Volt especially, Musk says it does neither the "gasoline car" nor "electric car" task as well as a dedicated gas or electric vehicle, while the Leaf's range is still too short.

It isn't hard to come away with the impression his comments amount to a bit of pot-stirring and reaction provoking--Volt and Leaf owners will no doubt be dusting off their keyboards already. There's more than a little subjectivity to his comments too--aesthetics is a matter of personal preference, and each car's fit and finish is more than respectable for its price point.

But at the same time, his own electric baby is riding pretty high right now, and it won't be too hard to find people who agree with his assessment of the Leaf and Volt.

Where do you stand on Musk's comments?

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