Video: Bloomberg – “Tesla Not Much Greener Than a Modern Car”


Once again, we get some supposedly educated individual trying to convince us that electric vehicles just aren’t that green.  Will tales such as this ever die?

Tesla Model S - This One is Black...Not Green

Tesla Model S – This One is Black…Not Green

This time, electric vehicles in general aren’t the focus.  The Tesla Model S is.

Why pick on the Model S?  Well, it’s the electric that draw the most attention, so if you can find a way to shoot its greenness down, then you can topple the whole segment, right?

“In today’s “This Matters Now,” Bloomberg View columnist Matthew C. Klein talks with Tom Keene about just how green Tesla’s electric vehicles are compared to offerings from other car manufacturers.”

Klein says the Model S isn’t green, but we know better.  Unfortunately, viewpoints like Kleins seem to reach a mass audience with ease, while the proven research that disputes these erroneous claims never gets air time.

Categories: Tesla, Videos


Leave a Reply

63 Comments on "Video: Bloomberg – “Tesla Not Much Greener Than a Modern Car”"

newest oldest most voted

Before I watched the video, I assumed it was some DB in a bowtie… Well at least Matt Klein wasn’t wearing one.

I would like someone to do a story titled “Talking heads on TV are as truthful as they appear to be”.


Well, they are fighting a losing battle here… At this point some random talking head on Bloomberg or even a bigger media outlet, is no match to Elon Musk. Not by a long shot.

Besides, the Tesla appeal goes far beyond its net CO2 footprint. It is more alike Apple products at this point – and just like the bad press about terrible labor practices where Apple gets its stuff made in China, hardly hurt its bottom line, so will these lame attacks by newly-discovered “footprint experts” in the business news will not make a dent in the Model S.

Oh, and about that footprint… the attacks are of course misguided. Reminder:



It is my opinion that: as plug ins gain momentum in the market place, big oil will start to work in the back ground with this kind of propaganda.
However, this is an argument that it’s going to go on for a long time.
What’s green and what counts, it’s zero emission at the point of use, because that’s where it impacts people the most.

I drive Electric, You can too……..


Here we go again…


The corporate media is owned and operated by the 1%. To accumulate more money and power for themselves and their advertisers they will always use all their media sources to misinform the 99%. It’s so pervasive that we actually live in a matrix of altered (percieved) reality-TV, radio, newspaper, movies, magazines…everywhere. Most Americans have no idea of that fact and we all lose as a result.
The oil industry is the 1% of the 1%. They are also the ones that stand to lose the most as the world adapts to use of EVs. The misinformation will continue until we reach critical mass of accaptance. Same thing happened when hybrids were introduced except this time around it’s serious! 😉


It’s funny that now the oil companies are actually using hybrids against EV’s because EV’s are so much more potentially disruptive to their oil sales. I’ve never heard such positive reviews of hybrids from oil companies as I have the last 4 years.


Haha, you are absolutely right. When I was researching my EV blog series, I came across mainstream-media reports about the Prius.

As recently as 2006-2007, it was described there as some lame excuse for a car, that California celebrities buy in order to look green, and that is very slowly beginning to gain traction despite its huge limitations.

Now, suddenly, the Prius (and Honda Accord, apparently) are the new Gods of the auto world.


Uh, that’s just plain Looney. This isn’t about the “1%” vs the “99%”. Frankly, a lot of “1%ers” own teslas. It’s about entrenched interests vs disruptive upstarts. If you look at EVs through a political lens, you get a distorted picture. Read up on the history of the disk drive market to get a clearer picture of the market role of disruptive technologies..


Uh, the average 1%er makes over 30 mil a year. The CEO’s of the oil companys, pharma’s, banks, top financial institutions and the five corporations that own most all the media in america don’t drive Teslas or anything else for that matter- they are driven or flown to destinations. Collectively they own more than half of all the wealth in our country.
Much funding and support for the politics politics behind maintaining entrenched interests originates on their behalf. Common interests and priorities on up the food chain.


Well, that’s proof you that are completely out of touch. Top 1% household income level for 2012 was slightly more than $390K. You’re only off by a mere factor of 76. Also, the Model S is the best selling luxury car above $70K. I kind of doubt the “1%ers” are avoiding the MS because it’s an EV. More like they are buying it because it’s a great car that just happens to be electric.

Well, yes the minimum to be in that category is $390k. The average from there up to 99.9% is just over $700k. My number is for Americans in the top 1% of the top 1% at $30 mil/year. My appologies for the incorrect statement. My point is that those at the very highest levels live in a world much different than the rest of us including those in the lower to mid 1%. They are the ones running the largests of corporations and with much power and influence on both the media and politicians. You are correct that those wise soles making a few hundred G’s a year are buying Tesla’s. A few of them have bought and mothballed the roadster and the model S. I recall a great article that came out just this month on how the weathly were showing a strong preference for the Tesla S over the typical luxury vehicles out there. The mosttamazing part about that fact, the top safety rating and now top customer satisfaction rating is it’s only Tesla’s FIRST ground up car!! When, in just two short years, Americans see the USA Today headline stating that there is a fast charging network… Read more »

Hmm. Funny how you qualify annual income of the top 1% and conveniently ignore net worth when claiming someone else is out of touch.


Ha Ha, If you sit on $100M of gold, it doesn’t do you any good. But, If people have large assets, they make sure the assets are performing and that shows up as income. Note, the whole “1%” thing has always been defined by income, not assets in the first place. Look it up. So, yes, I am in touch.

My point was simply that the “1%” are buying the Model S. And as CSS agrees, it’s becoming the one of the most desirable autos out there, regardless of financial situation.


CSS, as has been pointed out, you are really out of touch. Relying on the hatred of successful people to fire up the base is a really weak platform. Don’t envy the 1%, or even the top 1% of the 1% as you put it in your lame attempt to cover up the fact that you don’t know what you are talking about. Don’t envy them, emulate what got them to that position. Work hard and smart, and for now, in America you can have a pretty good chance of succeeding.
I recommend working in North Dakota, it is where the real money is right now. Pack your long johns, though. LOL!


Demonizing the rich/successful may be a weak platform, but such class-warfare games have been a successful tactic throughout history. Demonizing Romney’s wealth helped get President Obama elected the second time.

” If you say earlier in the year, “I’m gonna give a tax cut to the top 1%”, and in a debate you say, “I don’t know anything about giving tax cuts to rich folks”, you need to get a thermometer, take your temperature, because you’ve probably got Romnesia.” – Obama, 2012

Bill Howland
Well, what he said at the end of the interview was much more correct than the start, namely, if we keep going on the current trajectory, American Manufacturing Jobs (where real wealth is created) aren’t coming back. He’s wrong on 2 big points, In My Opinion, so all the bed wetters please don’t attack me. Lithium Ion batteries are not too difficult to do some recycling activities on. ‘Carbon’ is to Carbon Dioxiode as ‘Oxygen’ is to water. Anyways CO2 is a building block of life. The most important “Greenhouse Gas” is water, by far. CO2 is a VERY minor player, and the current thinking in vogue does not change this. 929,000 square miles of ICE have been added in the Arctic in the past year alone, closing off the Northwest passage, to the disappointment of many. This is strictly periodic since Amundsen crossed the open passage 110 years ago. So in the future, there will be less ice at a future time and the passage will open up again, as it apparently has cyclically many times, irrespective of what cars we drive. The main concern should be all the dead wales, sealions, anchovies, dolphins appearing in Monterey Bay (the… Read more »

Water vapor is definitely more greenhouse intensive than CO2. However, water in the air can have the opposite effect if it is in the form of clouds. The earth has this self-balancing eco-system where water maintains the equilibrium.

I have always maintained that CO2 is a naturally-occurring gas and should never have been classified as a ‘pollutant’. Trees don’t think so. It is all the other crap like oxides of nitrogen that are the pollutants. However, I let the greenies THINK this way because reduction of CO2 leads to reduction of all other pollutants.

Oh, btw, where did that ozone layer hole go that we caused by using hairspray? Lol.

The design of the earth is beyond the design comprehensive of most men.


I assume you are hinting at “intelligent design” here?

Haha. Well, if you don’t “believe” in evolution, then surely you don’t have what it takes to understand the greenhouse-gas thing either.


And what would that be? Blind faith in the imagination of other (fallible) human beings?


Brian, is that question to me, or to Loboc?

MTN Ranger

The ozone hole is still there:


Loboc- I followed you and for sure you work for the Kock brothers, or you are Tea Party manager or Fox “Journalist” or just an Idiot.
You know what oil is NATURAL it does exist on Earth let’s throw it to the rivers and sea, they are both natural liquids. The ozone hole is closing but again you are not a smart, educated person we can talk to.
Really go away we don’t need your comments.

Brian Henderson

“earth has this self-balancing eco-system where water maintains the equilibrium.”

This is true in the short term, but as the climate warms, the atmosphere can exponentially hold more water vapor. The result is more dramatic shifts as equilibrium try’s to balance (bigger storms).

Also, with more water vapor in the air (vs. ice, lakes & oceans) the more that escapes to space over time. So long term with a warmer climate the earth will “self-balance” to a new equilibrium!

CH4 (methane) also has a higher greenhouse multiplier than CO2 (~8x). This doesn’t mean that CO2 effects are minimal, it just means we need to consider the total effect of all greenhouse gases. It’s kind-of like burn food … doesn’t matter how it was burn, just that its impossible to un-burn. Better to watch and learn, than to wait and be sorry.



And it so happens, that burning fossil fuel – whether coal, petroleum and gas – as well as cutting down massive amounts of forests, serves to increase atmospheric CO2 levels.

Yes, on a per-molecule basis, CH4 infrared absorption (the Earth emits the biggest chunk of its “black-body radiation” as infrared) is much larger than CO2’s.

But there are ****way**** more CO2 molecules being added to the atmosphere by modern human civilization. We have now reached CO2 levels unknown not just in human history, but in the past couple of million years.

Also, an individual CO2 molecule “lives” in the atmosphere, on the average, for far longer than a CH4 molecule.

That is the problem. And yes, it is fairly simple once you concentrate on the science and not on the politics, name-calling and wishful thinking.

Ocean Railroader

How can a Tesla kick out more pollution if it’s charged up using a free solar power supercharger something which Captain Planet would dream about.


They try to use that stupid study regarding Li-ion battery production.. which was shown to be flawed.


Yeah, the numbers still being sloshed around in certain analyses, based on sloppy back-of-the-envelope math dating a good 4-5 years back, come down to the conclusion that the 60 KWh Model S battery production requires more GHG than a Prius and a half. Just the battery. And the 85 KWh, naturally, >2 Prii. It’s essentially impossible to dig out of a GHG hole that deep.

Only problem is… several more recent, careful and comprehensive studies, including one from the EPA itself, found that the current GHG footprint of EV battery-pack production is about 4 times smaller than these numbers.

And once recycling enters the process (which it inevitably will) ,this figure will further cut by half. Checkmate.

Mark Hovis

+1 to your link Assaf. Recycling is in its infancy for batteries and PV solar, but it is indeed inevitable.

I like the direction SolarWorld is going with this

I find it also ironic that those who favor natural gas still want to use the same formulas when it comes to coal even when it is currently being displaced at a record pace.


Not just recycling but more so after market uses. If properly cared for it will be a long time before the cells will be diminished enough for recycling to be the best use. The bulk of those 85kWh packs will start to be turned at 65-75kWh in about 8-12 years. Go price a memory-less 70kWh battery. The aren’t cheap. To account for all the emissions from production to its first automotive use only is uniformed at best. Lazy, shoddy, and misleading journalism.


Or a Volt that burns 1/20 the gas of my last car.

My electricity source is NG and wind. Not Nuke and Coal.


Loboc- Sarah Palin forum is not here.

Jeff D

There was a study that methane which mainly comes from natural gas production is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Increased use of natural gas not only produces more methane but also reduces the amount of other energy sources that are less harmful. If this study is to be believed, the way most EVs are powered is much better for the environment than fuel cell vehicles that mainly rely on natural gas to get their hydrogen.


Natural gas does not “produce” methane, since natural gas *is* mostly methane.

When you burn methane, the products are C02 and H20.


Here’s the problem: huge batteries take lots of energy to make. Most of that energy, now, comes from coal and oil. Then in the U.S., most of the energy used to charge the battery is not renewable (e.g., coal, natural gas). So if you compare a Tesla S to a non-guzzling gas car, it doesn’t look so great. If you compare it to a similarly powerful gas powered car, it probably comes out looking better.


See my comment above. Yes, batteries cost energy to make – but in no way is this energy comparable to the energy needed to make an entire car. There was some misguided (although probably good-faith) analysis that got such inflated estimates, which have since then been corrected by better research.

But of course there are vested interests happy to use the misguided numbers.


Your link should be required reading for posting on this site. Insideevs should add registration and basic reading comprehension questions to make sure it is understood.


Thanks Nate! I actually did post a summary on this site (beautifully edited and formatted by Jay Cole)

Jay Cole

…I could hardly even read the content because it was so beautifully edited. These guys here at InsideEVs should take it down a notch, (;


reference, please


How much energy is used to make a V8 engine, Radiator, water pump, Transmission on ICE? that is the study it has to be done. Now if we in US burn coal, oil for the most part the solution is to look for renewable energy, like Germany. Norway, Spain,etc. The transportation can be solve, EVs and NG Trucks.


How much energy does it take to drill, transport, refine, distill, transport, store, transport, and deliver gasoline? Then gas engines utilize less than 30% of the energy contained within. Don’t forget that part of the equation.


See my post above and the other posts. Those energy numbers for EV production vs ICE are not accurate to start. They did not use the current grid mix which is not relevant to Tesla production anyway. For the car part, you have to use CA grid mix. And after all that is corrected for, then emission “cost” of producing the battery assigned to the EV needs to be reduced by the aftermarket use of the 80% or so still very capable battery pack.


Typical shill for the oil companies.

Of course he doesn’t bother to mention Tesla’s batteries are recyclable, and or how many Tesla owners who also solar-power their MS, and how the Tesla is sponsoring a ‘better world’ via more awareness by building the greatest and coolest EV on Earth (which in-turn gives thousands of future would-be engineers an incentive and vision to continue the technology into the future).

Nor does he bother to mention the hundreds thousands of lives lost to oil-wars! Go figure.


At the wheels vs. at the plant:
Gas = ~20 lbs per gallon
Electricity Coal = 1.8 lbs per kwh
Electriciy Nat Gas = .9 lbs per kwh
Electricity nuclear, solar, wind = 0 lbs per kwh

This is an EV forum, and you guys desperately need a smack-down. Using any miles per kwh, or watt-hour you chose, among the generally 2.5-4 mile per kwh EVs, that are out there, go ahead and play with the mix percentages, or go to the EPA website and find out how idiotic it is to conclude EV CO2 is anywhere close to as intensive as gasoline.



I don’t think anyone is arguing that an EV is just as dirty as an ICE car, just that it is not spotless. In the overall scheme of things, it really does not matter what any single individual does. As long as my Honda (not the hybrid, unfortunately) is cheaper to own, and not illegal, I will continue to drive it guiltlessly.


Of course it matters.

As an EV driver (which we’ve been for the past 15 months) you constantly field questions about EVs. You serve as an ambassador, and help mainstream the EV user experience. So your impact is far beyond the single car you’ve gotten.

And when enough people get EVs… the entire outlook of the oil industry will change. Just like is happening to coal right now: it is quickly becoming non-economical to mine for it.

Similarly, with enough EVs on the road, the Tar Sands in Canada might become un-economical to tear down boreal forest for.

We’re not too far from that tipping point. In 2013 in the US, nearly 1.5% of new passenger cars (excluding trucks) have been plug-in vehicles. Get to 5%, or maybe even less – and money will start talking. Against oil. Norway is already around 5%, despite being an oil-exporting country itself.

btw, leasing a Nissan Leaf (or possibly even a 2013 Chevy Volt) is probably cheaper than keeping your Honda. See here:


+1 It matters, if you wish EVs success, to be able to comfortably back up just how the worst power for an EV still equates to roughly a 30mpg gas car. It still looks like too many around here, despite driving them, give into the fiction of the all-coal numbers that begin to make an arguement for ICE.

I’m not attacking folks who don’t believe in the proposed effects of carbon dioxide, though I might suggest ice ought to be measured L X W X H, not just L X W (sq. miles). 😉


and the Antarctic, and the reference timeframe, and….

Bill Howland

Technically of course you’re correct PJWOOD. But the earth is actually behaving the way it apparently always has. This has many people upset.

Apparently when Al Gore Screams “THE EARTH HAS A FEVER !!!”, the earth is at fault for not cooperating.

One thing that is new in my Lifetime is the Pacific Ocean is in trouble. People don’t seem to want to discuss this. Of course, you can’t discuss this too vociferously. Remember Karen Silkwood.


As an i-MiEV (2,600 lb.) and first generation Honda Insight (1,900 lb.) owner, a Tesla Model S isn’t green enough for me because of its very heavy weight (more than both of my cars combined!) and couple hundred watt power usage even when parked. I recognize that with the current battery technology, building a car with ~300 mile range requires a heavy battery pack. But most Model S trips between charging are probably within the range of all other much lighter EV’s that don’t consume power while parked other than the tiny amount needed for the clocks in their radios and their keyless entry system transceivers.

Most 4,600 pound Model S’s probably transport only their drivers most of the time which is a significant waste of energy compared with a much lighter EV. Of course, the same could be said for any huge, heavy luxury car. At least the Model S is an improvement over other cars in its class. But why does anyone really need to drive one of these monstrosities?

You have a point. OTOH, the Tesla Model S battery is designed to last far longer than the i-MIEV or Leaf batteries (we can see that in the Roadster batteries which are doing just fine getting close to 100k miles, despite being an older technology from the same maker). For the Leaf or (I presume) i-MIEV, you still cannot safely assume much more than 60k miles. When you factor that in, the footprint difference becomes smaller. But this is all small change. The big picture is the battle to derail Oil’s monopoly over transportation. In this, Tesla and the Model S in particular are leaders, b/c 1. They demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt, that BEVs are “real cars”, in fact better than anything that 100 years of ICE could offer. 2. They demonstrate an automaker business model that does not rely upon ICE vehicles at all. 3. They set up a clean-energy fast-charging infrastructure faster than everyone else combined – and that can potentially be used by other EVs in the future (if Tesla will want it, of course). 4. They set up a consumer “lust” for a BEV as something cool and superior to have. Since the lynch-pin for derailing… Read more »

who gives a shit!
Just quit sucking the juice from the sand lands!!!

Tesla will help in that. It’s not the fix all but it’s a big step foreward.


Send him a tweet… @M_C_Klein

So sad people can be so off base on what ‘good’ is.


Perhaps if Mr. Klein would be so kind as to calculate into the ICE side the annual energy use and consequent impacts on the planet from our vast industrial military complex that functions to protect the exploration, extraction, storage and shipping interests of overseas oil.


Sure, comparing the manufacturing cost of the Model S 85KWh against a 40MPG sub compact is probably true that model S uses more energy. But that is NOT the point. People who buy a $90K Tesla is NOT going to drive a subcompact. They are comparing it to a 18MPG luxury sedan…

Silly. I guess Yale only produces politicians these days….


bad ones


One thing certainly inefficient about the Models S is it’s significant Vampire Drain.

The Model S wastes a non-trivial amount of energy just sitting there, providing no forward motion.

In fact, the Model S wastes enough energy daily to power a LEAF on a commute to work for many people.

Unfortunately, despite promises of a fix from Musk, the problem continues to this day.


Ummm. Not anymore. You’ll have to find something else to h8 on against the S.


Why would anyone listen to some young punk with a degree in history about something dealing with science & engineering? He doesn’t know anything. This is just a chance for a young naive Libertarian to bash those liberal green cars.

Decoroso Europa

These all boil down to the saying “For those who believe, no explanation is necessary, for those who do not, no explanation is possible”. Let’s give the nascent technology for electric cars a chance because we can use renewables to power them. With its success, everybody will win!

Jesse Gurr

LOL at the guy saying fuel cell cars are not electric cars. They

Jesse Gurr

They usually use the same materials as an EV so how can they emit less carbon than a pure EV. Makes no sense.


That notion of clean diesel is like a nice Jack the ripper, it just doesn’t fit. Diesel is dirty at every level you look at, be it forced oil dependency, maintained fossil carbon emissions, cancer inducing particles, bees perturbation, stinky diesel smell. It is an entire line up of negative with zero positive, Just move on nothing to stop at.