Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak: ‘I don’t believe anything Elon Musk or Tesla says’

Steve Wozniak speaking at eMerge in Miami on June 12, 2017.
David A. Grogan | CNBC

Billionaire tech entrepreneur Elon Musk has a lot of fans. But he's lost the trust of one famous former admirer: Steve Wozniak.

Apple co-founder Wozniak, affectionately referred to as "the Woz," told an audience at the Nordic Business Forum in Sweden on January 24 he has stopped believing what Musk or Tesla promises.

"Now, I don't believe anything Elon Musk or Tesla says," Wozniak says.

That doesn't mean he doesn't love his Tesla, though.

"But I still love the car, it's still beautiful," Wozniak added.

Wozniak cited several promises Tesla has made that he believes have not been kept.

"They came out with some sensors that Elon Musk said would [allow the car to] drive itself across the country to where you were by the end of 2016 ... Oh, I had to have that!" he says.

"[T]hen they discovered those sensors would never drive across the country, so they got rid of their sensor company. They put in new sensors — instead of one camera, eight cameras — and that one will drive itself across the country by 2017. I believed that stuff," says Wozniak.

Indeed, in October of 2016, Musk announced a significant upgrade to the hardware for self-driving capability.

In addition, Wozniak criticized the quality of the autopilot feature, saying it was incapable of responding to inconsistencies in the road and that the car still requires significant attention on the part of the driver.

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"Man you have got to be ready — it makes mistakes, it loses track of the lane lines. You have to be on your toes all the time," says Wozniak. "All Tesla did is say, 'It is beta so we are not responsible. It doesn't necessarily work, so you have to be in control.'

"Well you that is kinda a cheap way out of it."

Tesla had not responded to CNBC Make It by the time this story was published, but in 2016, when Tesla announced the upgraded autopilot technology, Musk said calling the system "autopilot" even though it requires some monitoring is fair because, "It does not represent self-driving anymore than autopilot in an aircraft makes it self-flying."

"I will tell you, that car does so little," says Wozniak. "Everything I read told me every other car manufacturer in the world — the Audi's the BMW and all — were actually ahead of Tesla for self driving cars." Instead, other car companies are ahead of Tesla when it comes to self-driving, according to Wozniak.

In December, Musk asked Tesla drivers for feedback, and in the course of the exchange, he said the second version of autopilot is "going through exhaustive testing" and apologized for the delay.

Sorry for the delay. We have the most advanced AI neural net of any consumer product by far, so it's going through exhaustive testing. The results are blowing me away though and I think you will have a similar experience.

The eventual update, when it comes, may be too little too late for Musk to win back The Woz. Wozniak says he already prefers the Chevy Bolt with one exception: Long drives. Tesla has more battery charging stations, he says, making such journeys in the Chevy Bolt challenging.

"We always drive the Chevy Bolt EV instead of the Tesla every day," says Wozniak, "except for long road trips."

See also:

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak: There's 'way too much hype' around Elon Musk's Tesla

Elon Musk promises new features and upgrades are coming to Tesla

Tesla superfan with stage 4 cancer gets surprise visit from Elon Musk

Billionaire Elon Musk responds to unhappy Tesla customer

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