Apple CoFounder Steve Wozniak Pranks Internet With His New Tesla Model X

Apple CoFounder Steve ‘Woz’ Wozniak isn’t just the brains behind some of Apple’s earliest computers: he’s a renowned prankster.

But he’s also among the great and good of the tech world, often getting the kind of opportunities to try stuff that lesser beings like us aren’t allowed anywhere near.

So when Woz posted a photograph of him standing next to a Tesla Model X along with a caption which read “Our new Tesla!”, the Internet sat up and paid attention.

It was of course, all a joke. We’ll explain.

The seven-seat all-electric crossover SUV is built on the same platform as the popular Model S sedan, but comes with two — not one — electric motors for all-wheel drive capabilities, and of course, those famous falcon wing rear doors which give easy access to second and third-row seat passengers.

Woz, who purchased a Tesla Model S last year after originally ordering one, then cancelling his order for a Mercedes S550 and finally changing his mind back to Tesla, has been using the Foursquare social media app to check in at Tesla Supercharger stations across the U.S. ever since he took delivery of it in October last year. In most situations, his checkins are accompanied by a tweet, and sometimes a photograph too.

Given the fact that Woz tweeted when he picked up his new car last year, we’d forgive anyone who didn’t know Tesla’s production schedule for believing he’d called in a special favor and got his Model X ahead of its official launch.

But sadly, the Model X isn’t due to enter production until late 2014, and not even Tesla Motors [NASDAQ:TSLA] CEO Elon Musk has one yet. Moreover, Tesla isn’t in the habit of granting special favors to the good and great, which it treats just like any other customer.

Over the years, Woz has built up quite a portfolio of pranks, carried out on his own and also with the late Steve Jobs, his good friend and Apple CoFounder. Some of the pranks were lighthearted — like sending a fake repair bill for Woz’s Toyota Prius to Bill Gates. Others have bordered on the illegal — like the phone phreaking blue box that Woz and Jobs used to make long-distance prank phone calls for free.  Watch Woz reminisce about any of them, and there’s a mischevious glint in his eye.

No, Steve Wozniak hasn't got a Tesla Model X... yet...

No, Steve Wozniak hasn’t got a Tesla Model X… yet…

The vehicle in this photo is of course the mockup model currently on display at the Tesla Design Studio in Hawthorne LA, which is situated just behind the SpaceX Hawthorne headquarters and has its own attached Supercharger station.

Of course, Woz could have meant that he was standing next to the model of the next car he intended to buy — in which case this little tweet might not have been intended as a prank.  And since Woz’ garage currently includes a Hummer H1, perhaps he’s looking for a four-wheel drive car which doesn’t cost quite as much to fill up as the Humvee.

As for getting caught out? We didn’t: the model Woz is standing next to has cameras instead of wing mirrors — a feature Tesla wanted to bring to the production model but has so far failed to convince Federal safety authorities to allow. When the production Model X launches later this year, it will come with boring rear-view mirrors. At least for now…

It’s got us thinking however: what’s the best electric car prank you’ve seen someone play or perhaps was played on or by you? Leave your stories in the Comments below.


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