The organizer of an annual charity raffle to win a Tesla says he's struggling to sell tickets this year because of Elon Musk's antics

  • Climate XChange has run a Tesla raffle since 2015 and this year’s prize is a $165,000 Model X.
  • The last three years sold out, but in 2023 ticket sales are slow, the raffle’s organizer told Insider.
  • Some previous entrants have said they no longer want to win a Tesla thanks to Elon Musk.

One of the first ever Tesla raffles had to find an alternative prize because so many past entrants were too upset with Elon Musk to buy another ticket this year, its organizer told Insider.

Since 2015, the Boston-based nonprofit Climate XChange has offered the chance to win a luxury electric-vehicle for a $250 ticket.

Proceeds help the organization campaign for climate-related policies in all 50 states, although the raffle director, Peter Kirby, told Insider: “We tend to sell more tickets to people who are Tesla enthusiasts who happen to support the climate.”

Even though the last three raffles sold out, organizers noticed sales were well behind the usual pace this time around. That’s despite the top prize, a Tesla Model X Plaid and all associated taxes, being worth $250,000 — a 10% higher value than 2022’s raffle. 

Kirby said that last year Climate XChange sold-out all 5,000 tickets, but at the time Insider spoke to Kirby in mid-January, this year’s raffle had only sold 1,742 tickets. That’s just over a third of its fixed-capacity, with the draw coming up on February 24. 

Climate XChange altered its advertising strategy soon after the initial launch last September, but still found a lack of interest.

“We were in October, and then getting into November, and then we started getting some feedback from people,” says Kirby. The emails and text messages made it clear that previous entrants weren’t interested in winning a Tesla because of Musk.

One person cited the way Musk laid-off Twitter staff as well as his political opinions, adding: “I am so anti-Elon at this point.” And another email called Musk a “fascist,” insisting: “You’ve got to find another e-car to give away.” 

But it wasn’t all politics either, with one person writing to Kirby: “Unfortunately Mr. Musk has done some real damage to the Tesla brand and the quality of the cars.”

With Tesla stock falling 62% over the last year, some Tesla investors said they can’t afford the $250 ticket price either. One of them had bought tickets as a Christmas present last time, and texted Kirby in December: “Unless TSLA pops up this week, I will not be able to afford to do it again this year. But maybe, if things turn around in January, I can reconsider.”

Kirby says he had several such conversations after calling previous ticket-buyers to encourage them to re-enter.

A business-strategy consultant for 20 years, and an IBM executive for 10 years, he told Insider: “I never dealt with such a situation where one individual’s statements and actions could have such an impact on an independent organization.”

As a result, the nonprofit spoke with its attorneys and added a Rivian as an alternative prize. Kirby says that’s helped sell a few more tickets – one new entrant said “you couldn’t pay me to own a Tesla now” – but they’re still far away from their goal. “It’s critical to us that even if we don’t sell out, that we at least come a lot closer than we’re on track to do right now,” he adds.

Kirby still owns two Teslas himself, a Model Y and a Model X, and the latter is coming towards the end of its extended warranty. He has put down a deposit for a Rivian as a replacement, he told Insider.

And above Musk’s political statements, Kirby says: “I’m more upset that he’s just acting like a child online. He’s supposed to be running these companies. And instead, he’s wasting his time on this sort of Twitter vanity-project, as opposed to continuing to drive Tesla.”

Tesla didn’t reply to Insider’s request for comment.