How do we fight confusion and misinformation about electric vehicles?

How do we fight confusion and misinformation about electric vehicles?

Guest Contributors: CleanTechnica's CEO, Zach Shahan, and COO, Scott Cooney 

Any fan of EVANNEX knows that the EV revolution is happening, happening fast, and, well, inevitable. EVs are simply better - cleaner, cheaper total cost of ownership, faster, funner, they will continue to eat market share from gas / ICE vehicles until the latter become obsolete.

Above: A Tesla Model Y at a Supercharger (Image: Casey Murphy / EVANNEX)

It's really only a matter of time. But that's the rub - how much time do we have to achieve energy independence, local self-reliance, resiliency, and, if you're concerned about climate, carbon neutrality? We are certain that EVs will help on all of these levels, so the answer to when the EV revolution happens, in my opinion, needs to be ASAFP.

In the not-too-distant future, EVs charged on clean, renewable, locally generated power will transform our grids. Their batteries can power our houses after disasters (and serve as distributed energy storage that do not require site selection and permitting). The cost to get to work will be less. Local air quality will improve. And so on.

But there is a ton of misinformation out there. Some of it is reasonable and occurs with any disruptive economic transition. Some of it is not so reasonable. Many people have reasons to try to stop/slow the EV revolution, and some of those people have a lot of power, money, and followers.

We at CleanTechnica have been working hard to catalyze the clean tech revolution and make sure people have the correct information...information that will hopefully help convert more and more people to join the EVAnnex community of EV drivers. We were a pioneer in the space - we have been covering cleantech such as solar panels and wind turbines for 15 years, since 2008. It did take us a few years before we really started covering the electric car market. It was with the Tesla Model S coming to market in 2012 that we really jumped into this field. Not only did the Model S seem like a potential game changer (it was), but Tesla had a much bigger plan in place — a "secret" master plan to bring affordable electric cars to market that were better than conventional gas-powered cars in multiple ways and cost competitive in a mass market. We believed in the dream, the plan, and the team that had been brought together to make it happen. Most of the car industry and Wall Street, however, was laughing at the young startup and its idealistic aims.

We didn't necessarily believe right off the bat that in ten crazy years, a Tesla vehicle (the Model Y) would become the 4th best selling car, truck, or SUV in the world. However, once we started covering Tesla, we realized some of the other coverage was quite unsatisfactory, misleading, and ill informed. From ridiculously implemented road trips to misinformation about Tesla capabilities and convenience, we found ourselves setting the record straight over an over again. When it got into the real nitty gritty, we found great resources in the highly engaged, passionate, and intelligent Tesla enthusiast community, especially the Tesla Motors Club forum (which, incidentally, is where EVANNEX's first product and spark for the company's creation originated). We got into the details of Tesla's growth plans — which (it's hard to believe today) no "serious" person believed. Tesla was the laughing stock, and in various auto industry conference calls and meetings, I was the odd one out who believed Tesla would be a disruptive force rather than a flop. Auto company execs joked about Tesla, ridiculed it and laughed it off, while we warned about the challenges their companies would face in the coming decade in order to survive. By the mid-2010's, we were running EV conferences in Europe and the Middle East. Nowadays, everyone can see how successful Tesla has become and how concerning and difficult the situation is for legacy automakers. Back then, though, it was a much smaller community of "believers," and we were a top media company carrying the torch forward into a new tech era that not enough people believed in.

The big turning point that separated that "struggling" Tesla era (when few "serious people" believed in the company) from the current era (Tesla's market cap is higher than the market cap of the next several automakers combined, and Tesla is quickly on its way to becoming one of the best selling automakers in the world). It was in the fall of 2018 when Tesla turned a profit and Elon Musk said Tesla would sustainably be profitable quarter after quarter going forward. We had been explaining how this would happen for months, and we had been covering the huge amount of consumer interest in Tesla vehicles for years — including tracking its fast growing sales milestones around the world. There was one particularly momentous day, though, in the story of our coverage and analysis. Funny enough, it was EVANNEX co-founder Matt Pressman who broke the news to me back in October 2018, and then again reminded me of this when we were together at TeslaCon Florida in October of last year, 2022. The story was: someone who had been a top Tesla [NASDAQ:TSLA] short seller and commentator for years had made a 180-degree turn on the matter. He published a report on this, explaining his rationale for the surprising shift, and it sounded very much like a CleanTechnica article. Not only that — the short report included 4 of my sales charts highlighting Tesla's quick-growing success. The report didn't make its own versions of these charts — they were my actual charts in Citroen Research report. More than a billion dollars shifted on the stock in the following day.

That was a key turning point, and we predicted it would be a key turning point at a time when most analysts thought it would be a small upturn for the company that would soon be over, and that when initial reservations for the Model 3 ran out, sales would drop and Tesla would inevitably collapse. From October 2018 to today, pretty much everyone has come around to accepting Tesla's phenomenal technology, success, and future promise. (There are still some holdouts, shockingly.) It's now very much an easy story to tell. However, from 2012–2018, as fun as it was, it wasn't such an obvious or easy story. While there may not be another "Tesla origin story" to tell, we are still focused on uncovering what others don't see, deep exploratory analysis, and obsessive cleantech news tracking and curation in order to tell the next big stories — whether in the EV battery space, AI and autonomous driving, heat pumps, solar technology, or [fill in the blank]. As before, it may not always be easy (especially when hive-mind thinkers who are too quick to criticize our critiques make up more and more of the EV arena), but we expect again that it will be worthwhile.

This is all great, but here's the thing. The media business is a tough one. We want to do so much more to catalyze the EV revolution, but as a bootstrapped startup, we've always been hamstrung by financial limitations. (We literally have 3 individuals who own our company - no corporate owners tell us what to say). 

To expand significantly in this space, we are, for the first time, opening our company up to outside investment. Interested in being an owner of CleanTechnica and helping us drive the rEVolution?

Sign up here to be contacted when we are ready for investment  - we will be raising money this year, helping to dramatically expand our coverage, events, and influence. 

Thank you, from the two of us, and the rest of the CleanTechnica team!

Above: Zachary Shahan and Scott Cooney of CleanTechnica (Image: EVANNEX is using this image with express permission from CleanTechnica).