Spotlight on Tesla is drawing pests

Here they come: the attention-seekers.

March 28: Electronic security specialist Nitesh Dhanjani decides the Model S is startlingly vulnerable to unauthorized entry. A would-be intruder is just a password away from stealing your ice scraper and supermarket receipts. Rather than discreetly telling Tesla his thoughts, he “unveils” his findings at Black Hat Asia, a security conference. And posts on his blog too. Response from Tesla spokesman Patrick Jones: “… we continue to work with the community of security researchers and actively encourage them to communicate with us through our responsible reporting process.” Teslamondo translation: “Gee, thanks for your opinion Nitesh, but did you have to make a spectacle out of it?” Wait a minute, you say. Dhanjani is a Model S owner. He would never succumb to self-promotion at Tesla’s expense. Right? Right.

Four years ago, during the Toyota GAS (Great Acceleration Sham), electronics professor David W. Gilbert from Southern Illinois University tinkered with his Toyota Tundra and discovered an electronic Bigfoot that causes vehicles to lunge forth, or so he believed. He meandered over to plaintiff mouthpiece Safety Research & Strategies Inc., who introduced him to an absolutely rapt Brian Ross at ABC News, and then to Congress. Just like Dhanjani, Gilbert was simply trying to improve the world by unveiling a startling discovery. Thanks guys.

Well, at least compared with Gilbert, Dhanjani is right — about a non-issue, however.

April 7: Milwaukee lawyer Vince Megna, the self-appointed King of Lemon Laws,* creates a comedy video of himself and also poses for publicity shots next to a Model S — while filing a suit on behalf of a disgruntled Model S owner. Seems the car just can’t do anything right, and Tesla can’t fix it no matter what. Do you smell something? Tesla does. OK, at least Megna didn’t call police in mock panic while staging a runaway-car scenario, but maybe that’s coming next. Followed by a press conference, of course.

You’ve heard of hypochondria, right? Well, the United States has a little problem with autochondria: a steadfast belief that your automobile is haunted. Sometimes it’s due to poisoning by headlines, as when you swear you just felt that “unintended acceleration” everyone’s talking about. Other times it’s simple fakery — a ploy to get a little ka-ching out of life.

Moths are attracted to your porch light because they’ve lost their way. The bright media spotlight tends to have the same effect on humans. Perhaps Tesla can use any excess Gigafactory capacity to build a very large bug zapper.

* Name one credible person who uses a self-applied moniker.

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