It's marketing, and yes, GM does it too.John could have made his point without talking about the Volt, calling it a PHEV, or equating it to a PiP. Yet both he and Peder made these references repeatedly, even inventing the notion that since the Volt has such a short AER it causes "Range Anxiety".
These guys are not stupid, why do they have to belittle other plugins, including the Model S, in order to promote the i3 or justify why they got one (or two)? An inferiority complex, some sort of regret, arrogance, or something else?
When the Volt was brand new, GM mentioned the Prius quite often.
New models need to be defined. Usually by being compared to the best in class. You should be pleased, not upset.
Although because there are relatively few electrics some pretty wild comparisons are made.