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Liam Denning

Hearing Without Listening to the Sound of Tesla

The electric-car maker sends conflicting signals that should raise doubts about its lofty stock price.

Tesla is trying to tell us something.

Tesla is trying to tell us something.

Photographer: Spencer Platt/Getty Images North America

Six months ago, Tesla Inc. was in the middle of its “funding secured” debacle, CEO Elon Musk was linking his lack of sleep to the company avoiding bankruptcy (in a tweet to Arianna Huffington, by the way), and the stock was trading just north of $300. Fast forward to today, and Tesla has just lost its general counsel after only two months on the job, Musk’s Twitter habit remains problematic, and the stock is trading just north of $300.

The dissonance is strong with this one. Whether Dane Butswinkas’s abrupt departure from the general counsel job had anything to do with Musk’s latest tweets about production targets or not, it should give some pause when you consider it was only in early December that the high-powered lawyer, a 30-year veteran at Williams & Connolly, was saying this: