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The lowest-priced EV in the US is somehow also one of the best. Now in its sixth year, the Bolt EV is also seasoned, having worked through a battery fiasco/recall and significant lapses by GM’s decision-makers while receiving modest but significant updates.

With a clean bill of health, the Bolt is now an huge outlier in bang-for-buck. But the 2023 Bolt is also quick, fun to drive, useful, and often more so than cars twice its price. In fact, I think we should be looking to the diminutive Bolt as the future of transportation.

2022 EV landscape

2022 was an interesting year for EVs. The leader in the space, Tesla, still commands over 60% of the market share in the US and many developed countries. But as traditional automakers ramp up their EV output, that dominance will recede. The Austin-based company hasn’t really done too much in the way of upgrading its cars this year, however. Instead it focused on production, opening new plants in Austin and Berlin and ramping up its Shanghai plant while achieving record breaking quarters, one after another.

There were a ton of new vehicles we loved, however, including E-GMP platform vehicles from the greater Hyundai including the quick charging and beautifully equipped IONIQ 5, Kia EV6 and the Genesis GV60. The IONIQ 6 is coming along as are future vehicles (Ev9, etc) on this platform. If this award was for platforms, the E-GMP would probably take it.

There’s also the hot-selling Ford Mustang Mach-E and F-150, the beautiful Cadillac Lyriq, VW’s improved ID.4 that is now made in Chattanooga with Plug and Charge and V2G coming. But there’s one thing that sticks out about all of these EV CUVs: The sticker price starts at around $50,000.

On the more mundane side, Hyundai/Kia offer the Kona/Niro for around $40,000 and the aging 40kW CHAdeMO-equipped Nissan LEAF comes in at $29,000, but to get over 200 miles of range, you have to add close to $10,000.

The chip shortage, supply chain issues and just overall supply and demand issues for EVs let almost every EV maker jack up their prices in 2022. Some as much as $20,000 or more.

Then there’s the mighty Chevy Bolt EV which actually saw a $6000 decrease in price this year to an outlier price starting at $25,600. That price is changing the game and allowing more people get a full, non-compliance EV. The longer EUV is only $1600 more and offers some of the best Autonomy options on the road. But low price is only part of the equation. (We’re not the only ones seeing this)

Recent Electrek Vehicles of the Year winners:

My history with the Bolt and background

I leased a 2017 Chevy Bolt EV from 2017 to 2020. During the pandemic, I decided not to buy out my lease partially because I wasn’t driving but also GMC raw dogged me on buyout price, offering more than a new Bolt. Turns out the joke’s on them because soon after I surrendered my beloved Bolt, the vehicles started catching on fire.

I’ve also reviewed just about every other EV out there, including everything from Minis to Mercedes and everything in-between. I’ve also owned every Tesla outside of the Roadster (and Semi, I guess) and currently own a Model Y and 3.

I often compare all of these cars to my previous and future Bolts in my head and often they come up short.

After the Bolt price drop and my mom’s Prius started faltering, I decided to buy my mom a Bolt EV. I liked that car so much, I again bought myself one. It was delivered yesterday, and it is now my daily driver. I expect to sell my 2018 Tesla Model 3 RWD long range for more than the $28,000 I paid for my Bolt EV. My family will still use the Model Y for long trips, and we’ll reassess if and when our Rivian R1S ever arrives (likely the Bolt will eventually go to the teenager).

Bolt EV vs. Bolt EUV

The EV and EUV are incredibly similar, starting with the exact same battery pack, charging system, motor, and electronics. But, the EUV is 6.3 inches longer, translating to three more inches of rear legroom and a few inches each in the rear compartment and front. The rear legroom in the EV vs. EUV goes from “passable” to “oddly more than enough.” The EUV, having been introduced last year, also has some additional options including the sunroof and SuperCruise, which works incredibly well. As a 6-footer, I have no problem sitting in the back of either vehicle unless there is a fifth person in the middle of the rear seat. Then, you are counting down the seconds until the trip ends.

The biggest difference in the two models is the profile appearance with the EUV representing the extremely popular CUV trend and the Bolt looking more like a tall “hot hatch,” or as Chevy used to call it a, “Micro-Crossover.”

Strangely, however, the shorter Bolt EV has more cargo space than the EUV. Is there some sort of wormhole in there? I’m told the shape of the rear end of the EV more than makes up for those extra length inches in the EUV. I don’t see it, but I’ll trust Chevy. My take is the EV is remarkably roomy inside for its footprint.

Bolt EUV cargo volume

  • 16.3 cubic feet behind the second row
  • 56.9 cubic feet with the second row folded down

Bolt EV cargo volume

  • 16.6 cubic feet behind the second row
  • 57.0 cubic feet with the second row folded down

The EV, because of its smaller size and weight, gets slightly more range (247 to 259 miles), and therefore adds slightly more efficiency and charge miles/minute. 60-0 braking is also slightly shorter for the Bolt EV. Maybe most importantly the EV hits 0-60 in 6.4 seconds which feels a lot faster than the .3 seconds slower EUV. Something to consider with EVs vs. ICE cars: You can absolutely gun it at every green light and not be ostracized like you would in a down/gear shifting, loud, jerky internal combustion engine vehicle.

So the EV is faster, smaller, more efficient, better at braking, and yet has more cargo space than the EUV?

We’re awarding both cars our car of the year, but if I had to drill it down to the EV vs. the EUV, I’d go with the smaller EV.

Bonus charging offered by Chevy

On top of the Bolt’s low price, Chevy also offers up to $1000 through Qmerit for Level 2 charger home installation, or $500 in EVGO credit. As I discussed in my post about getting my mom a Bolt, my Qmerit experience was awful; but after a ton of complaining, I did get a Nema 14-50 outlet.

Chevy also offers a free charging cable with the Bolt EV and EUV, though upgrading the EV to level 2 is a $295 option. With Volkswagen and Tesla removing the free charging cables from their cars, Chevy’s offer here is fantastic and gets drivers off on the right foot.

Time to think holistically – not just about EV vs. ICE

After driving a HummerEV and Ford F-150 Lightning, I started to wonder if we’re better off electrifying these behemoths of the road or just getting rid of them altogether. In a time where battery supply is the bottleneck to electrification, the HummerEV is carrying 4 EVs or 10 PHEVs worth of batteries on its 9000lb. body. It also takes three efficient cars worth of electricity to go the same mile in a huge truck. That’s not to even bring up the dangers of being way up in the air and driving these huge heavy trucks at highway speeds. Not only is bicycle and pedestrian visibility limited, but they absolutely destroy anything they crash into including school busses. Sure, some small percentage of pickup drivers actually do work in them, but we somehow got by with Ford Maverick-sized trucks 20 years ago, and we should probably strive to go back to that.

Comparatively, the Bolt is refreshingly small, meaning parking is easy and there’s a ton of extra space in your garage. Yet, with its height and low floor entry points, it is super easy to get into not just for aged and accessibility folks. The low side windows and sloping hood make it easy to see kids and bikers in front of and around the car. The Bolt got a 5-star-safety-rating from NHTSA, and though it might not fare well against a Hummer, it will keep occupants as safe as possible.

It also has tons of room and even more when you fold the seats down (see above).

Wireless CarPlay and Android Auto is a gamechanger

As a Tesla driver, I’m always pleasantly surprised when I get into a CarPlay or Android Auto-based vehicle. I just don’t see anyone beating Apple and Google in the UX space, and it has become quite standard in the car space. Responding to texts is way easier, and the voice recognition is an order of magnitude better. Apps that I want are there and updated in a timely manner.

I was taken aback recently when I reviewed the Genesis GV60. This luxury car with all of the bells and whistles still required you to plug in your phone to use CarPlay. This review might have pushed me over the edge. CarPlay is great, but wouldn’t it be cool if my phone could just be in my pocket?

And that’s the experience with the Bolt. You get in the car turn it on and go. It connects to the phone in your pocket (or you can put it on the wireless charging pad or even plug into the USBA/USBC plugs like a caveman). You’ve got your favorite apps, music and are ready to go. It Just Works™.

Downsides to the Bolt

Every vehicles has some downsides, but I’d argue that the Bolt has relatively few. Let me try to explain these away…

54kW DC fast charging limit. This one is particularly painful because it was called out six years ago. GM decided, again and again, not to upgrade it citing cost and complexity concerns. Even just getting it over 100kW would have been a big psychological boost, and the thing can re-gen at 70kW, so it is pretty obviously capable of updating.

That said, most folks don’t go over 260 miles on all but a few days of the year, and if so, there are a ton of CCS charging options now. Even better, with Plug and Charge/Autocharge+ from EVGO it is super easy – you just plug in to charge (after a quick setup). One thing to consider is that with the Bolt’s efficiency, it charges much faster on a miles-per-minute basis. For instance, it will get just as many miles as a Ford F-150 Lightning charging at over 100kW.

I’ve easily road tripped in a Bolt before and realistically, that means I have to stay an extra 15-30 minutes per charging session and heck, people have driven their Bolts from Ohio to Alaska. At peak charging rate of 54kW, you’ll get 100 miles of range in a half hour of charging. Relax!

The overriding point is that if you don’t do a lot of road tripping and have a home charger where you’ll wake up every morning with 260 miles of range, the DC charging speed limit isn’t a dealbreaker.

FWD vs. AWD Putting front wheel drive into an EV isn’t as straight forward a decision as an ICE vehicle with the weight of the motor over the front wheels. EVs have equal weight between the tires and will see diminishing returns.

With the Bolt’s instant torque and low resistance wheels, I chirp out a lot more than I mean to, especially on rainy or icy roads and on gravel. This can be mitigated somewhat by changing out for worse range, grippier tires. I was told once by a Bolt engineer that they were fixing that but they never did.

The flip side is that the front wheel drive allows for a lot more regeneration of power than a RWD would. The Bolt offers some of the best and most complete one wheel driving available, especially with the always-on regen button and steering wheel paddle to add up to 70kW of braking.

I still would have loved to see an AWD option on the Bolt even if it was just putting a light sub-100hp motor on the back wheels for snow and a little more pickup. Chevy is offering this kind of small motor option to get the Equinox to AWD.

Chevy is perhaps seeing the light here offering the upcoming Ultium Blazer SS in not only FWD and AWD options but, in a first, offering RWD version as well. It can do this because adding motors to EVs is an order of magnitude easier than ICE vehicles. Just not easy enough to add to the Bolt apparently.

Size and shape. I happen to love the look of the Bolt EV but I think I’m in the minority, certainly of Electrek writers. Most people see the EUV as the better looking variant, but I just see it as another CUV in a sea of CUVs on American roads. I, for one, appreciate the uniqueness of the Bolt EV’s form factor. It’s a HOT HATCH! I wonder if GM could have made something look more like the Mini or GTi.

The interior quality is what I would call middle of the road. Seats are comfy and an upgrade from earlier Bolts, but nothing about this car says luxury; it is designed well, but not over the top. Chevy inexplicably changed the shifter in the Bolt to push/pull buttons which I’m still getting used to.

Both Bolts are quite narrow, and the driver ends up being pretty close to the passenger – sharing that small armrest can sometimes feel like a movie theater or a flight. And that back row middle seat? Small people only.

Bolt Fires. A problem was identified with LG’s manufacturing process in Bolt Batteries in 2020 that very rarely caused fires in previous years battery packs. A sting of Bolt fires and GMs refusal to comment got a ton of negative publicity. The cause of the fires was discovered and fixed. Then GM, mostly funded by LG laboriously replaced all previous battery packs. The packs manufactured now are fixed and should function properly. GM did the right thing here.

Dealers. I’ve had to deal with two Chevy dealers in the last two months getting Bolts for myself and my mom. The experience with hers was typical of my past experience, which means, not great. They tried to trick her into a maintenance package after we’d already paid for the car and didn’t handle the Qmerit mess very well either.

Mine here in New York wasn’t bad (Mt. Kisco Chevy). Mike D. was pretty realistic once I told him my expectations and that I knew exactly what I wanted. Bravo to him. He was well prepared and paperwork took about 15 minutes. As a former Bolt owner himself, he just let me go with a handshake. The one downside was I got a hard sale from a lying OnStar salesman on the phone who then abruptly hung up after I didn’t bite. Sheesh.

Vehicle to grid/load/etc.

It is 2023, and all EVs should build in a simple pure Sine Wave inverter that would allow the car to provide AC power to a campsite, worksite, or to the home during an electrical outage. The Ford F-150 highlighted this untapped demand with 10kW of output, and the E-GMP platform cars recently added a smaller 2kW capability.

Unfortunately, the Chevy Bolt has nothing of the sort (we saw some plugs in the upcoming Chevy Equinox and Silverado), but thankfully it is really easy to access the 12V subsystem that is fed by a 1.6kW DC-DC converter from the main 400V battery. That means it is easy to plug in an inverter and take over a kilowatt of power out of the Bolt…. for days.

DIY Solution. I’ve simply alligator-clipped a 1kW continuous/2kW peak inverter onto my Bolt’s 12V lead acid battery to run a refrigerator and internet connectivity in the past. However, I recommend formalizing this setup with something like the purpose-built and fused $180 EV Extend, which actually makes it a lot easier to hook up your inverter and get power out of your Bolt. Assuming a small house/cottage idles below 1kW and doesn’t go over 2kW, the Bolt can keep your house/cottage/campsite powered for over two days. If nothing else, it will keep your fridge and some lights and internet going for upwards of a week.

In the future, all EVs will have a 240V generator port connected to the main battery by a big 10kW inverter. For now, only the Ford F-150 Lightning has this. Tesla is strangely behind here considering they have Powerwalls, solar- and home-switching expertise. Let’s get there!

As we look into 2023

I think big themes of 2023 are going to be Tesla vs. the rest of the market. The Model Y is approaching a 1M cars-per-year run rate which would make it a favorite for 2023 vehicle of the year. That’s an order of magnitude more than the Bolt will sell next year and possibly all of GM, who seem fixated on beating Tesla’s numbers.

But also GM is launching 3 new EVs: Silverado in Spring, Blazer EV in Summer, and Equinox in Fall, so that lineup will be interesting.

There’s a ton more stuff coming as well. I’ve got my eyes on the Kia EV9 3rd row SUV, wondering if they’ll deliver before Rivian’s R1S gets off the ground.

But for now, let’s give the Chevy Bolt its glory. The economy is in some sort of recession/economic downturn and at $25,600, the Chevy Bolt is allowing a much broader swath of the population to get into an EV – and easily get into a great one at that.

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Avis has new T&Cs for renting its EVs, and they’re a little weird

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Avis has new T&Cs for renting its EVs, and they're a little weird

Tesla Model 3 Source: Tesla

Car rental giant Avis just sent an email out today to its customers to let that it has new rental terms and conditions for its fleet EVs. Some of the company’s EV rules are a bit of a head scratcher.

Here’s what the email said:

As we introduce Electric Vehicles to our fleet, our rental terms have been amended. To accommodate our expanding vehicle inventory, this amends the agreement signed by you with respect to the rental of a vehicle powered by an electric motor (an “EV”). Our updated terms can be found here.

Note that these were sent out by Avis Canada, but the rental terms and conditions are for both the United States and Canada.

I’ve pasted the seven-plus points terms included in the EV section below, and my comments are after each point, in bolded italics:

39. ELECTRIC VEHICLE (EV) TERMS. This EV Amendment amends the rental agreement signed by you with respect to the rental of a vehicle powered by an electric motor (an “EV”) from Avis Rent A Car System, LLC, Aviscar, Inc., or any Avis Rent A Car System, LLC, affiliate, or the independent Avis Rent A Car System, LLC, licensee identified on the rental agreement (collectively referred to herein as “Avis”).

Boilerplate text. All good. Next.

1) AMENDMENT TO RENTAL AGREEMENT: This EV Amendment simultaneously amends the terms of your rental from Avis with respect to the terms herein only.  All other terms of your rental remain in full force and effect. In the event of any conflict between the terms of this EV Amendment and your other rental terms, the terms of this EV Amendment shall govern.

More boilerplate. Nothing to see here.

2) ONE WAY RENTALS ARE NOT PERMITTED:  Due to unique infrastructure needs associated with EV’s, your EV must be returned to your rental location on the date/time specified in your rental terms.  If your EV is not returned to the renting location, all costs incurred in transporting your EV back to the renting location will be assessed to you.  In addition, you will be assessed a fee for Avis’ loss of use of the EV between the time that you should have returned the EV to the renting location and the time that it is returned to the renting location up to a maximum of thirty (30) days. The loss of use fee will be your daily rental rate.

“Unique infrastructure needs.” LOL.

At the end of January, a couple of us at Electrek received a PR announcement announcing that Avis was launching a “significant number of EV charging stations at the George Bush International Airport in Houston” with EverCharge. The EV charging stations will “only be used by the Avis and Budget fleets of EVs and PHEVs available for rent” at Houston airport.

I asked, “How many EVs does Avis have for rent across the US, and which makes and models?” And got the reply: “Avis is not commenting on the specifics of its fleet at this time.”

Bummer, because Hertz sure is commenting, and with Tom Brady to boot.

I asked the spokesperson how many EV charging stations Avis is installing at Houston airport, and they wouldn’t tell me – they only said that both DC and Level 2 are being put in.

I asked what the rollout plan is for other North American airports, and got the reply:

Following the launch at the Houston airport, Avis and EverCharge plan to extend the partnership to additional airport locations this year.

So, based on the above information, it would appear that the reason why a car rental customer has to return the EV to the original rental location – in this case, airports – is because Avis doesn’t have enough EV charging infrastructure yet.

I get that this is a growing pains issue, but simply, it isn’t very practical. Not everyone returns to the place where they rented a car.

Maybe Avis should have installed more EV charging infrastructure before it rolled out its unknown quantity of EVs.

One can currently rent a Tesla Model 3 from Avis in seven US states – all in the West. It’s kind of silly that one can’t drive between those locations without having to return to home base.

3) BATTERY CHARGING LEVELS AT VEHICLE CHECK OUT: Avis will rent the EV with at least a 70% charge on the battery.  The range of your EV will vary based on a number of factors including vehicle load, driver’s actions such as speed and acceleration, climate and terrain factors such as inclines.  Avis does not warrant or guarantee the range of an EV.

Why 70%? The ideal topped-up charge level is 80%. If Avis has EV chargers at its rental locations, then it should charge them to 80%.

And Avis ought to print up a helpful document, or give renters a QR code, so they can read about why and how vehicle load, speed, and acceleration affect charge. Let’s not say there are factors without explaining them.

4) BATTERY CHARGING LEVELS AT VEHICLE RETURN:   Your EV must be returned to Avis with a battery charge level of at least 70%.  If returned at less than 70% but more than 10% battery charge level, a charging fee of $35 will be assessed to you.  If returned with less than a 10% battery charge level, you will be assessed an additional low charge fee of $35 (a total of $70 charging fees if returned with a battery charge of less than 10%). The charging fee is based on the kilowatt hours, overhead, loss of use of the EV and administrative costs Avis incurs in charging the vehicle.  Note:  fees assessed in the United States refer to U.S. dollars and fees assessed in Canada refer to Canadian dollars.

A $35 car charging fee is a bit steep. Let’s say a driver returns the car with 50% charge – the amount of money to bring it to 70% would be around US $5 at the most.

An 80kwh Tesla battery x 20c/kwh (high estimate) = $16 assuming 0-100% charge.

But I guess this is like when you bring a gas car back empty without prior arrangements, and car rental companies charge you a really high fill-up fee. And if Avis has DC chargers, then they won’t have to wait long to charge up a car that has a battery charge level of less than 70%.

5) ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE:   Roadside assistance is available for your EV but fuel cannot be delivered to EV’s.   If you require roadside service because you depleted your EV’s batteries, your EV will be towed to your renting location and the towing expense will be assessed to you.   If you require another vehicle due to a breakdown, you may be provided a gasoline powered vehicle in which case, all fuel provisions of your rental terms shall apply with respect to your replacement vehicle.

“Fuel cannot be delivered to EVs” – heehee. Love it. It would be cool if Avis invested in some mobile EV charging trucks to make up for the fact that they don’t actually have enough EV charging infrastructure yet to service their EV fleets.

Why can’t the EV be towed to the nearest Tesla Supercharger or Electrify America or similar? Why does it have to go all the way back to the renting location? What if the driver is on a road trip? This one definitely qualifies as weird. This may scare some people off who wanted to try an EV for the first time.

6) SPECIAL EV EQUIPMENT:  All EV equipment including, but not limited to, charging equipment, keys, key cards, fobs and/or remote (“EV Equipment”) provided with your EV must be returned.  The full replacement cost of any EV Equipment not returned with your EV will be charged to you.  LDW, even if elected, does not cover EV Equipment.

Maybe this is a legal thing, but surely it would be common sense that keys, key cards, and fobs would have to be returned, much like any gas rental car? Perhaps Avis has experienced some customers throwing away key cards because they think they’re like hotel key cards? At any rate, I’d be pretty annoyed if I was an Avis employee and customers kept throwing away the key cards, so fair enough. Fobs is a bit of an overstretch. I guess they just had to mention them to cover backs.

7) UNIQUE TESLA TERMS:  If you rented a Tesla EV, you will be able to access Tesla Superchargers, subject to availability, to recharge Tesla vehicles provided, however: 1) any fees, charges and/or costs to access and utilize the Tesla Superchargers shall be your responsibility; 2) any Tesla “idle fees”, as defined and charged by Tesla, shall be your responsibility (see Tesla’s website for details https://www.tesla.com/support/supercharger-idle-fee); and 3) the provisions of “Battery Charging Levels at Vehicle Return” shall continue to apply to you.

These are fair terms, because they’re essentially Tesla terms 101.

TESLA VEHICLES MAY NOT BE WASHED AT AN AUTOMATIC CAR WASH. ANY DAMAGE CAUSED BY AN AUTOMATIC CAR WASH SHALL BE ASSESSED TO YOU PURSUANT TO THE “DAMAGE/LOSS TO THE CAR” PROVISIONS OF YOUR RENTAL TERMS AND WILL NOT BE COVERED BY LDW.

I love the bold capital letters for the CAR WASH RULES. One can take Teslas through car washes, but only in touchless car washes. Teslas have Car Wash Mode.

Maybe Avis decided that putting its Teslas into Car Wash Mode is too complicated for its customers and too much like hard work for its reps to explain how to use the feature to every EV renter? It’s never occurred to me to take a rental car to a car wash, but I’m not fastidious with my cars. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this car wash thing in the comments below.

Photo: Tesla


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Elon Musk found not guilty in the Tesla 420 take-private case

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Elon Musk found not guilty in the Tesla 420 take-private case

A jury has found Elon Musk not guilty in the case of his tweet about taking Tesla private at $420 a share.

5 years later, this single tweet is still haunting the Tesla CEO.

For those who don’t remember the situation, back in 2018, Musk briefly considered trying to bring Tesla private and disclosed that to investors through a simple tweet.

The Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) ruled that Musk exaggerated and misled shareholders when saying that the funding was “secured” in the tweet:

Musk went on a campaign against the SEC, calling them names and claiming that they were working for people shorting the electric automaker. But ultimately, Tesla and Musk ended up reaching a settlement with the SEC.

As part of the settlement, Musk agreed to step down from the role of chairman of the board, and Tesla and Musk had to each pay $20 million in fines.

The CEO presumably didn’t want Tesla to have to pay for his issue with the SEC. While he couldn’t directly pay for Tesla’s part of the fine, he decided to buy $20 million worth of shares from Tesla. That way, he sort of indirectly ended up paying for Tesla’s fine – though he also ended up with ~71,000 additional Tesla shares in the process.

As we previously reported, Musk ended up actually making money from the settlement due to Tesla’s stock price surging.

Another part of the settlement was that Musk and Tesla had to agree for the former to have his tweets reviewed by the latter’s legal department if they are material to the company.

Musk has consistently denied any wrongdoings and claimed he settled with the SEC under pressure from Tesla investors.

Separately, Tesla investors have sued Musk personally over the tweet – claiming that they were defrauded of millions of dollars as Musk exaggerated the claim that funding was secured.

The case was ongoing for years, but it was finally heard by a jury in Northern California last week.

Today, the jury released its verdict – finding Musk not liable for the investor’s losses.

Musk commented on the verdict:

Thank goodness, the wisdom of the people has prevailed! I am deeply appreciative of the jury’s unanimous finding of innocence in the Tesla 420 take-private case.

That’s probably the end of this saga – though Musk is still fighting some of the aspects of his settlement with the SEC, primarily the need to review his tweets material to Tesla’s stock.

Electrek’s Take

That’s probably the right thing.

As we previously reported, all the evidence pointed to Musk being a bit too excited and jumping the gun with the tweet.

For him to be found liable, they would have to prove that he was intentionally planning to defraud investors and that’s a tall task.

He certainly should be more cautious about tweeting things like that when no deal has been signed, but I don’t think it’s fraud.

However, you’d hope that he would become more cautious about his tweeting after this entire saga, but we haven’t seen much evidence of that either.

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Jury find Musk, Tesla not liable in securities fraud trial following ‘funding secured’ tweets

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Jury finds Musk, Tesla not liable in securities fraud trial following 'funding secured' tweets

Tesla CEO Elon Musk and his security detail depart the company’s local office in Washington, January 27, 2023.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

Elon Musk and Tesla were found not liable by a jury in a San Francisco federal court on Friday in a class action securities fraud trial stemming from tweets Musk made in 2018.

The Tesla, SpaceX and Twitter CEO was sued by Tesla shareholders over a series of tweets he wrote in Aug. 2018 saying he had “funding secured” to take the automaker private for $420 per share, and that “investor support” for such a deal was “confirmed.” Trading in Tesla was halted after his tweets, and its share price remained volatile for weeks.

Jurors deliberated for less than two hours before reading their verdict. Plaintiffs’ attorneys told CNBC they were “disappointed with the verdict and considering next steps.”

“I am deeply appreciative of the jury’s unanimous finding,” Musk wrote on Twitter.

“He doesn’t think ahead of time in that rushed moment that this could be interpreted differently and what it means to him,” Musk’s attorney told the jury earlier on Friday. “In that moment he didn’t think, ‘how could my words be interpreted differently by you than it means to me.'”

“You have to assess this in context – he’s considering taking it private and the issue is will it actually take it forward,” Musk’s attorney said. “No fraud has ever been built on the back of a consideration.”

Musk’s lead counsel did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The shareholders in the certified class action lawsuit included a mix of stock and options buyers who allege that Musk’s tweets were reckless and false, and that relying on his statements to make decisions about when to buy or sell cost them significant amounts of money.

Musk later claimed that he had a verbal commitment from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, and thought funding would come through at his proposed price based on a handshake. However, the deal never materialized.

During the course of this trial, Musk also said he would have sold shares of SpaceX to finance a going private deal for Tesla, as well as taking funds from the Saudi Public Investment Fund.

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