Bill Gates revealed in a February 14 interview with YouTube tech star Marques Brownlee (MKBHD) that he had recently bought a Porsche Taycan, the first electric offering by the luxury sports carmaker, and liked it very much.
“It is very, very cool. That’s my first electric car, and I’m enjoying it a lot,” the Microsoft co-founder told Brownlee.
But when the news spread to the Tesla universe, many die-hard fans felt offended, including its CEO, Elon Musk.
“I wonder why Bill Gates decided to go with the Taycan instead of a Tesla,” Tesletter, an unofficial Tesla news account run by fans, tweeted on Monday.
“I’m disappointed because a lot of people are going to watch the interview, and they are going to trust Bill’s word for it and not even consider EVs,” the news handle added in a follow-up tweet, referring to Gates’ comment that electric cars, as a whole, still face a major bottleneck in providing ranges long enough for long-distance travel when compared to gasoline cars. “Why? Because Bill Gates is a really smart guy.”
That tweet could have been forgotten quickly when Tesletter’s 8,600 followers scrolled past it in their Twitter feeds without a second thought. But that last part characterizing Gates as “a very smart guy” struck a nerve with Musk. “My conversations with Gates have been underwhelming [to be honest],” the Tesla CEO commented under the tweet.
Gates brought up his recent Porsche purchase as part of a broader discussion about electric vehicles and their role in pushing the world into an era of renewable energy. While acknowledging Tesla’s leadership in the EV space, Gates pointed out that it’s not the only company making electric cars and that they all face the same challenge. “All the car companies, including some new ones, are moving super fast to make electric cars,” he said. “The biggest concern is whether consumers will overcome their range anxiety.”
Musk and Gates have met in person at least once, including at an artificial intelligence event in China in 2015.