Musk championed electric autos long before starting Tesla. But it’s his decision to turn his own clock backward that has baffled admirers and critics alike. 

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n what seemed like a badly-timed prank, only days before April first, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk shocked organizers and attendees at last weekend’s EcoCon13 conference when he announced his plan to roll-out the company’s first gas-powered car.

“We’re calling it ‘The Model G’,” Musk told a packed auditorium moments after he took the stage to deliver an address at the event’s kick-off dinner.

"With this new car, we have introduced a technology that will allow us to break down the barriers that have kept Tesla on the fringes. This car will address all the issues--range, affordability, performance--that have plagued our previous models."

tesla Nicola Tesla, for whom the electric car maker was named, was known to frequently pass gas.

Now in its fourth year, EcoCon has become the destination of the world’s leading environmental scientists and scholars, who typically use the three-day conference of workshops and panel discussions as a forum to discuss a wide range of pressing issues, including air pollution, climate change, and other hazards to the environment.  

A conspicuous entrepreneur known for founding PayPal, Musk championed electric autos long before starting Tesla. But it’s his decision to turn his own clock backward that has baffled admirers and critics alike.  

"We all suspected that Musk was an egotist and a bit of a con man,” said Larry Schub of Sustain/Ability Magazine.“But to try to sell us the same outdated technology that has been poisoning our planet and fuelling wars for a century and a half under a new name, that's low, even for him."

Musk seemed impervious to these criticisms, however, insisting that the new vehicle’s technology will remain ahead of the curve.

“The Model G will run on a combustible liquid found in certain strata of rock that is composed of hydrocarbons and other organic matter," he explained.

"You mean gas?” asked a reporter from the crowd. After only a brief, tense moment, Musk replied, “Yes, it’s gas.”

Full details of the car will be released at the Auto Shanghai Motor Show later this month, where it will compete for attention with the rumored pedal-powered high-performance vehicle from BMW.