Apple co-founder ‘Woz’ hits out at ‘dishonest’ Elon Musk for misleading Tesla buyers

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Elon Musk’s penchant for promising the moon has landed him in hot water with one of Silicon Valley’s original greats. 

Steve Wozniak, who co-founded the world’s most valuable company, Apple, castigated the Tesla CEO for supposedly stealing from his customers, himself included.

Speaking to CNBC: SquawkBox on Thursday, Wozniak said he was deliberately misled over how well Teslas could drive themselves, arguing his own car came woefully short of Musk’s claims.

“It makes mistakes all the time,” he told the daily news program. “It’s a horrible, frightening experience.” 

Wozniak expressed frustration at the showmanship of the Tesla CEO, saying it contrasted sharply with his own approach to business based on upfront candor and a refusal to embellish the truth. 

“A lot of honesty disappears when you look at Elon Musk and Tesla,” he continued

In particular Wozniak complained about spending tens of thousands of dollars on the latest self-driving technology since 2016, when Tesla first offered Full Self-Driving (FSD) as an unvalidated commercial product in beta. 

This suggests the Apple co-founder bought into a promotional Tesla video that is now alleged to have been staged at Musk’s request, according to recent testimony by the head of the program. 

“They have robbed my family—myself and my wife—of so much money I couldn’t tell you, with things they said that we really believed would be real,” Wozniak said.

With minimal progress made, Musk has dropped all talk of his robotaxi dream

Musk’s bold claims stretch back years, but they reached a whole different level in April 2019 during Tesla’s Autonomy Day. 

The entrepreneur famously claimed at the time that before the next year was over, more than one million Teslas already delivered to customers would turn into robotaxis so advanced their owners “could go to sleep” in the vehicle while it chauffeurs them around.

Tesla customers could earn passive income from their car, potentially around $30,000 a year by his estimate, simply by instructing the vehicle to pick up fares on its own via inclusion in a dedicated Tesla Network of robotaxis.

This would happen at the push of a button, he claimed: “The fleet wakes up with an over-the-air update—that’s all it takes.” 

Nearly four years later, Musk has made some basic progress with a fourth-quarter roll-out of its feature-complete FSD to all customers that paid for the $15,000 option

But the software remains in beta, meaning vehicles must be under constant supervision by a licensed driver behind the wheel, and it is limited to the United States and Canada only.

To Wozniak’s chagrin none of the Tesla CEO’s original claims have therefore come true.

“Elon Musk said it would drive itself across the country by the end of 2016,” Wozniak said, adding he was tired of Musk constantly shifting the goalpost from one year to the next every time he failed.

In recent months, Musk has toned down his rhetoric.

Now he only aims for supervised FSD to be safer than the average human, and all talk about achieving the most advanced stage of full autonomy known as “Level 5” has been dropped entirely.

When Musk was asked last April how he could be so off in his prediction—when rivals have been more sober in theirs—the entrepreneur simply said it might shock people to realize he can be wrong from time to time.  

Even though Musk hasn’t delivered on his robotaxi plans, a key element of his Master Plan Part Deux, he will unveil Part 3 at Tesla’s investor day on March 1st

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