Tesla CEO Elon Musk: Half Of New Cars Will Be Electric In 15-20 Years

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2012 Tesla Model S Signature

2012 Tesla Model S Signature

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Last time Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk made a bet, with journalist Dan Neil about several aspects of the Model S, he won it.

That same confidence and ambition has now led him to make another--that by the late 2020s, more than half of all new vehicles being manufactured will be electric.

If you're raising an eyebrow right now, you aren't alone. Elon's ambitious prediction hugely eclipses that of market analysts, who do predict a rise in the number of EVs by 2020, but not to the extent where they account for more than half the market.

Beyond that, predictions are less clear--so Musk might be on to something.

Speaking on Friday, as he was handing over the keys to the first Model S buyers, Musk said: "In 20 years more than half of new cars manufactured will be fully electric... I feel actually quite safe in that bet. That's a bet I will put money on."

According to Reuters, Musk said, "It's probably going to be in the 12- to 15-year time frame."

Even Nissan, makers of the Leaf electric car and partners to EV-focused Renault, predicts a lower number of electric cars by 2020. Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn says that by the end of this decade, ten percent of all new vehicles will be electric--still higher than analysits predict.

Analysts will no doubt be watching Tesla closely over the next few years, to see if the company can deliver on Musk's claim that it will deliver over 20,000 Model S vehicles next year.

One set of keys to be handed over on Friday was for Tim Draper, venture capitalist and business partner of Tesla Model S owner number one, Steve Jurvetson.

"It's the smoothest car I have ever driven," Draper said.

Smooth perhaps, but not as smooth-talking as Elon Musk. Will he win his bet? It seems unlikely, but we're not counting against it either...

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