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Elon's Game of Three Card Monte

• By Eric Peters Eric Peters Autos

Elon is in the news again – but not for the right reason.

The SEC is angry with him over his Tweets – which ought to anger Tesla shareholders even more (not because of the SEC's investigating Elon but because of the effect of Elon's Tweets on the value of their stock).

But why isn't anyone – including Uncle – angry with Elon over his extremely misleading – arguably fraudulent – advertising?

Not about the real-world range of his electric cars – and the effect of very cold (and very hot) weather on how far they'll go – though these are also things you won't read about in Tesla product literature. Which things would get any other automaker in at least warm water with various agencies of Uncle. Who – to make the point – went after Hyundai when it was felt there was evidence some of those cars didn't deliver quite the mileage advertised. The difference in MPGs was trivial – the inquisition wasn't.

And of course, there is VW.

But that inquisition was for misleading Uncle – something he never tolerates and always punishes mercilessly.

Back to Elon.

And his misleading advertising.

He touts the price of the Model 3 as much less than it actually is – $26,950 vs. $35,000 by discounting what you'll supposedly save on gas. Which you may, but it doesn't change what you'll pay Elon.

Which is still $35,000.

No other car manufacturer does this – nor would they get away with it.

Toyota does not advertise the price of its Prius hybrid less what they think you'll save on gas by purchasing it. They do tell you its city/highway mileage – and so does Uncle, who also calculates the annual cost to fuel the thing, based on averages – and in comparison to other cars.

You will find this information on the window sticker of every new car.

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