Steve Wozniak: ‘I don’t believe anything Elon Musk or Tesla says’

It’s no shocker that Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is wary of Elon Musk and Tesla — he once said there is “way too much hype” around the company.

At a conference in Sweden last week, Wozniak, who owns two Model S vehicles, doubled down on his Tesla criticism — while still leaving an opening for future optimism.

“Now, I don’t believe anything Elon Musk or Tesla says,” Wozniak said. “But I still love the car.”

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In his talk about Tesla, Wozniak recounted one incident at Lake Tahoe, where his Tesla skidded off an icy road and fell into a snow bank, according to Business Insider, which reported on the Q&A with Wozniak. Despite the accident, Wozniak said he maintained his trust for Tesla, upgrading his model when Tesla introduced the feature that allows Tesla owners to “summon” their self-driving vehicles.

He also bought into Musk’s promise that the car would be able to drive itself across the United States by the end of 2016. But after Tesla broke up with the Israel company that developed sensors for Tesla and Musk’s promise wasn’t realized, his trust was damaged, said Wozniak.

“I’m sure the next car will come out and Elon’s promise will be that (this is the car that delivers),” said Wozniak, with author Seth Godin moderating the talk.

Wozniak also took shots at the state of Tesla’s current state of self-driving technology. He said longtime car manufacturers such as Audi and BMW are ahead of Tesla in the race for self-driving cars.

“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,” said Wozniak. “A dumb human or a smart human can easily do it, but the Tesla can’t. Man, you’ve got to be on your toes all the time with it.”

Wozniak says he normally drives his Chevy Bolt EV around rather than the Tesla for almost all trips except very long road trips to Kansas or Yellowstone.

Wozniak was in the news earlier this month for revealing that he is still on the Apple payroll as an employee, earning a far smaller paycheck than what he did as an executive. He only reported to co-founder Steve Jobs, who died in 2011, Wozniak said in front of a crowd at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View.

“Since he died, I can’t be fired,” Wozniak said, according to CNBC.

Apple has been ramping up its self-driving car technology, increasing its self-driving car fleet from three last year to 27, according to a Bloomberg report.

Wozniak compared Musk’s salesmanship to that of Jobs — but not in the most flattering way.

“I love that car but the trouble is, Elon Musk is portrayed in a lot of movies with a lack of faith and trust,” said Wozniak. “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)?”

Photo: Steve and Janet Wozniak with a 2016 Tesla Model S. (Courtesy of Steve Wozniak via Facebook)


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  • Scott Franco

    He does not drive the Tesla because the autopilot is not perfect? Don’t use the autopilot if you don’t trust it.

    • Paul Hylander

      He doesn’t really like Tesla AP. The article doesn’t say whether he does or doesn’t use it. You get the sense that he doesn’t use it. The article does say that he prefers driving his Chevy Bolt around town and chooses it in preference to the Tesla most of the time. But you completely missed his point. Tesla is so far behind the other players in self-driving that it is laughable.

      • MJBinAL

        GM and the other automakers have had their experiences of being sued over defects. They are being conservative with AP for very good reasons. Every accident is going to be an opportunity to sue the manufacturer.

        Tesla is nearly broke. Musk is not going to get any more federal grant money and Wall Street is getting antsy about the prospect of negative cash flow with no visible path to profit any time soon. How many multi-million dollar lawsuits will Tesla survive?

        However you cut it, Tesla is a high risk investment.

  • Martin Lacey

    Like Apple got everything right first time round when Wozniak was a big player there!?!

    • Guest

      Did they deliver what they promised?

      Your criticism is completely unrelated to the points woz discussed.

      • MJBinAL

        yes they did

  • omegatalon

    Anyone who has Tesla stock should sell NOW because there may not be a future.. the rest of the industry is jumping into the ZEV business as General Motors’ Chevy Bolt EV has reached 20K units and will introduce 2 more ZEV in the next year with 20 new ZEV by 2023 with Ford and all of Europe saying they will have an all ZEV fleet by 2025 which means if Tesla doesn’t have their Model 3 available, the customer will walkout and get something else and that could be as soon as next Spring.

    • Paul Hylander

      What people don’t realize is that the stock, while going up today, is really a major risk. The company is close to out of money and is searching for funding. They haven’t secured more funding yet, for reasons not revealed. If it turns out that they cannot get more funding to the tune of several billion dollars, then the stock could easily collapse 50% in an hour or two. Stock holders might not even know before their holdings have been cut in half. The day after that happens, the stock could fall a further 50% and the buy-and-hold stockholder could be out 75% of their money. And within a month or two, the stock could go to 0. This scenario can happen and has a much higher chance of happening than the stock going to 500.

      • rxlawdude

        Oh please. Shorts with their doom and gloom (while praying for failure so they can cash in).
        I love this moron’s prognostications. This MIGHT happen… IF IT TURNS OUT… COULD EASILY COLLAPSE…

        Or, Paul might just be a Russian 300 pound couch potato. Just as plausible as his moronic soothsaying.

        • Guest

          If you don’t understand and consider what might happen you have no business investing or advising others.

        • Paul Hylander

          I can see you don’t have an accounting background as if you did and you were able to read their SEC published financial reports, you would know what I say is the truth. Look up what happened to Enron’s stock price. Look up what happens to any company’s stock price when they go into bankruptcy proceedings. Here’s a hint, the stock-holders are unsecured and the value of their stock goes to basically zero. If you made money, you should seriously taking your gains and reinvesting them in some other better company which actually has a good chance of an increasing stock price. Just because you worship the snake-oil salesman doesn’t mean you should lose all your gains.

    • CelestialTerrestrial

      Tesla is going to crush it with their new semi’s. They are already selling the crap out of those things. As far as Chevy ad GM? They really aren’t that big of a threat to Tesla because Tesla has their market demographic that they go after, and they do have the best performance specs.

      Chevy is just a low cost mfg. Similar to Chevy and Mercedes Benz. Just because Chevy or Toyota, etc. make more cars, it doesn’t mean Mercedes is selling less cars. Each car mfg. is on their own and as long as they sell more cars each year and they maintain decent profit margins, that’s all the really matters.

      Tesla’s shipping Model 3’s. They are just ramping up production, so what. I don’t know how many Tesla 3 customers will walk and buy a Chevy instead, look at the various performance specs. Range, charge time, 0-60, etc. Chevy’s cars don’t have nearly as much range, which is a BIG deal with EV cars.

      • MJBinAL

        I hate to disturb you, but Tesla HAS to have a volume production vehicle in order to survive. The company debt is huge and the negative cash flow is daunting. If the existing big auto makers produce good vehicles at the usual competitive prices, they will also produce luxury vehicles as well. Tesla will need to be first to build the volume they need to survive.

        Chevy keeps the range down to keep the price down. If battery prices dropped the Chevy range would improve rapidly. Tesla is able to ship a car with more range because they got government grants as subsidy AND they are cash flow negative. THAT is not going be able to continue much longer.

  • Arnis

    He is a stubborn old man with slightly reduced mental capabilities. Age maybe. Musk is a good salesman. And good visionary. And good engineer. How hard it is to understand simple things.

    • Paul Hylander

      “And good engineer” Oh please! Musk is an insult to real engineers. A good salesman I will grant you.

      • MJBinAL


      • Arnis

        Prove. Can’t be that hard to prove something true and simple.

        • MJBinAL

          I did prove it. A full hour before you posted this.

          It is a fact. Musk is not an engineer and never has been. He has a BS in Economics from Wharton and a BS in Physics. Was accepted into a PhD program in Physics but dropped out. Smart guy, but not an engineer, unless you count “financial engineer”.

          No engineering degree, no engineering license.

          To Musk’s credit, he does not claim to be an engineer. Not sure why people are so attached to the idea he is an engineer.

          • Arnis

            Physics degree is like nothing for you? You know engineer knows pretty much the same (or less) than physics degree owner?

          • MJBinAL

            A physics degree is wonderful. I believe I said he is a smart guy,

            But that does not make him an engineer. I AM an engineer, a licensed professional engineer as a matter of fact. It is NOT the same as a physics degree. And an engineering degree (unless it is Engineering Physics, a specific degree) is not close the a degree in physics. They have different degree programs for a reason.

            And as I said, it baffles me why you want to claim Musk is an engineer when even Musk does not claim to be an engineer. It takes nothing away from his accomplishments any more that Steve Jobs not being an engineer did from his.

    • Guest

      And there is nothing in you statement about honesty, which is woz’s entire point. I fact he appears to agree with the point you try to make.

    • CelestialTerrestrial

      I don’t know what Elon specifically engineered. I don’t know how much of the cars or other products his companies make that he actually sat down and engineered. Not to say that he didn’t, I just don’t know the actual specifics on that subject.

      But Tesla does need to do some improvements in the way they are assembled and some of their choices in materials. They do use cheap carpeting, I don’t think the quality of their paint or their paint jobs are that great. Every Tesla I’ve seen up close didn’t have that great of a paint job. Maybe they’ve improved in the last year since I haven’t seen a newly mfg. car, they’ve all been at least 1 year old.

    • MJBinAL

      Musk is not an engineer at all. He is a sales guy and a manager. Some would say a con guy. Let’s just keep in mind that everything Musk has and does since being part of Paypal, is based on enormous amounts of government grants and subsidy. If Tesla cars cost twice what they do, how many would be sold? If he had to raise money on the financial markets to start the company, would it be alive today? Maybe … but probably not. Tesla is still a money loser today, has never had positive cash flow, and could well fail yet.

      • Arnis

        Prove. Can’t be that hard to prove something true and simple as “not engineer”.

        • MJBinAL

          It is a fact. Musk is not an engineer and never has been. He has a BS in Economics from Wharton and a BS in Physics. Was accepted into a PhD program in Physics but dropped out. Smart guy, but not an engineer.

          No engineering degree, no engineering license.

          To Musk’s credit, he does not claim to be an engineer. Not sure why people are so attached to the idea he is an engineer.

          • CelestialTerrestrial

            Maybe that’s why he stutters so much and looks so unprepared at all of his new product presentations.

          • Zero Nada

            He also has a BS in BS.

        • CelestialTerrestrial

          Arnis, Go to Wikipedia’s entry for Elon Musk.

          He has a BS in physics and a BS in Economics. That’s it. He enrolled in a PhD program but left after 2 days. I don’t know how much he can learn in 2 days of school, but he probably felt it was way above his head.

  • Serai 1

    LOL. Takes a lot of nerve for this Apple founder to accuse another company of being untrustworthy. What about all the crap products Apple put out that never went anywhere? Selective memory is a wonderful thing, especially for filthy rich moguls.

    • MJBinAL

      Woz had little or nothing to do with the iPhones, iPads, or any of this other stuff. He was the brains behind the Apple 1 and Apple 2 and his involvement has always been on the computer side of Apple’s business.

      • Serai 1

        Uh huh. What about the Lisa? Yeah, that was a huge success, all right.

      • Hacka1

        The Apple 1 & 2 were crap products. Unfortunately they went further than they should have.

        • MJBinAL

          Seriously? Were you alive then? The Apple 1 and 2 were the best available at the time. You could have purchased a S100 Bus based machine for 8 times as much and then purchased expensive software running on CPM.

          This is before the TRS-80, Commodore 64, Commodore VIC20, or pretty much anything else remotely affordable. When the Apple 1 came out a small computer was a DEC PDP8 or PDP9 built with bit slice processors and the 6502 microprocessor was the latest greatest thing!

          It is easy to look back today and think how primitive and useless these things were … but back then the 8 bit, 64K memory space, 1Mhz 6502 CPU chip was a big deal. The choices at the time were Intel 8080 (new), 6502, RCA 1802, Motorola 6800 and the not yet available Z80!

          The Apple 1 was literally designed and built by Woz in a garage. Jobs was the guy who sold it. They were both the best at what they did.

          Woz was largely out of the company during the Lisa, Macintosh timeframe and was never really an integral part of the company after that.

          • Hacka1

            Was I alive. Yes, I had to program those Apple pieces of junk in assembly language for customers who had them rather than the much more worthy CP/M systems. The Apple 1 & 2 along with the TRS-80, Commodore 64, Commodore VIC20 were all consumer toys.

            The 6502 was never a big deal except in cheap computers. It’s limited instruction set made programs larger and more cumbersome to write. The Z-80 ruled 8 bit with the 8080 coming in second (which of these two is best is hotly debated). Not sure why you think the 6502 was the latest and greatest thing, the three processors all came out within a year of each other and the price was marginally different.

            I bought 64 K of static ram in 1981-2 for something like $1,000 US for my IMSI 8080 Z-80 CP/M system. 8-16K was usually plenty though. Add an 8 inch SSSD floppy or go for the gusto with dual DSDD 8 inch floppies and you’d have yourself a hot system. The IMSI 8080 converted to Z-80 was a great system. Heck when you weren’t computing you could use the IMSI’s power supply to arc weld (joking about the welding).

            Woz and Jobs were not the best. They made a piece of junk computer that was affordable off of large cash infusions. Why were they affordable? because they were junk. There were so many problems our team spent more time getting them to work then actually programming. Unplug card reseat card, repeat. No reset button Apple said “because they didn’t need one” but they did sell a programmers button that guess what “Pressed the reset button”. They somehow got schools to buy them and they had a business.

            Woz was and still is a hack. Jobs was a good salesman.

            If the Macintosh bus had became the standard instead we’d all be 30 years behind what we have now.

          • Serai 1

            Jobs was a good salesman, but he was also a major a-hole. I worked in Los Gatos in the early 90’s doing admin at several computer companies, and nobody had a good word for that jerk. Everybody hated him. I wasn’t surprised at all when he got pushed out of his own company.

  • marty1234

    When Tesla starts secretly lowering they’re battery range so as to force people to upgrade to a new car and then lies about, then I’ll stop trusting Tesla. For now it’s Apple I no longer trust….FYI: I’m on my third I phone 7 plus replacement and will not be buying another Apple product…

  • tyrannystopper

    Wozniak is an enemy of humanity. He is part of the cult of AI.
    He will support and help make robots take over all.
    Elon Musk knows this and has recently come out against these tech heads and their new “god”.

  • Gordon Fraser

    Musk gets the fan-boys all hot and bothered and doesn’t deliver.

  • Huma’sAsshole

    This article makes no sense.

  • Hacka1

    I can’t believe I actually agree with Woz.

  • James Lingerfelt

    yeah.. i guess apple is the model of integrity..