Elon Musk and Tesla, Once Championed by the Koch Brothers, Now a Target

The drowning-in-riches duo will spend millions to thwart electric vehicles.

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The Koch brothers, in tandem with top oil interests, are doing their darndest to pull the plug on Teslas. Elon Musk is not pleased, and reacted with an inaudible — but very public — “sigh.”

The Huffington Post reports that the Koch brothers, owners of the second-largest privately-owned corporation in the world and generally renowned as purveyors of evil, along with James Mahoney — Koch “confidante” — organized a meeting with fellow diabolical tycoons called “Changing the Energy Narrative.” (This is akin to what you do when your significant other has the upper hand but you’re being stubborn: you “change the narrative.”) Together, they’re forming a group that “hopes to spend about $10 million dollars per year” to both bolster the oil transportation game and attack electric vehicle incentives and subsidies, HuffPo reports.

Just how well Tesla is doing is striking: Musk reported during the company’s quarterly earnings report that “Tesla is approximately doubling cumulative sales every year. I’m not sure if this has happened in the car industry for maybe a century,” Musk said. Not to mention that, last year, the Model S outsold each of its major large luxury vehicle competitors.

Shortly before that report, Musk announced the price tag on the Tesla Model 3: $35,000 before tax incentives; about $25,000 after tax incentives. At that lower price, the Model 3 becomes the first mass-market Tesla.

Given those incentives, and paired with the fact that Tesla is booming, the Koch brothers et al. have reason to be wary of the future. So, the duo is doing what’s only natural: Going after those tax incentives.

While behind (relatively) closed doors the Koch brothers are reportedly doing their best to undermine Musk, and other electric vehicle manufacturers, in public they’re displaying some unexpected and inexplicable support. Last year, the group Americans for Prosperity — the Koch brothers’ main political advocacy outlet — was one of the various signatories on a public letter that offered support to Tesla.

Musk may have been privy to these early talks: Back on February 13, he retweeted Bill McKibben’s tweet linking to a Rolling Stone story about a similar Koch move:

What’re we left to do aside from, well, sigh?

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