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Tesla's Elon Musk Has More New Business Ideas & A Lot To Say

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Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk at the wheel of a Tesla Roadster

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk at the wheel of a Tesla Roadster

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If you had a mediocre superpower, what would it be?

If you're Tesla CEO Elon Musk, "always beating the traffic" would be your power of choice, though given Elon's ideas past, present and future, some would argue that it's a long way off what he's actually capable of.

Musk sat down for a "fireside chat" with Pando Daily, and revealed some fascinating insight into both his worth with PayPal, Tesla and SpaceX, and also some of his plans for revolutionising the future.

Electric planes

You might already be aware of his desire to built an electric aircraft, a plan wryly alluded to in the film Iron Man 2, in which Musk cameos--but in the interview he spoke of his thoughts behind the idea, too.

It was inspired by the retirement of supersonic airliner Concorde, which Musk rues he never got to ride. He notes that it's possible to go faster and longer at high altitude, though there's a limit for combustion aircraft due to low levels of oxygen higher in the atmosphere.

No such issues for electric aircraft, which Elon describes as being potentially "super efficient and super fast". And, as Musk notes, "With SpaceX and Tesla I kind of have the ingredients..."

Hyperloop

At the moment, there are essentially four methods of transport--aircraft, boats, cars and trains. Musk wants a fifth, which he dubs "Hyperloop".

He doesn't reveal a great deal, but the concept seems similar to the citywide tube system in the cartoon Futurama, where people can be whisked great distances very quickly and easily. Musk says he'd aim for a journey time of less than thirty minutes between downtown L.A. and downtown San Francisco, with a lower cost than any current journey option--thanks to inexpensive and clean solar power.

Other ideas

He doesn't stop there--among his other hopes for the future are cold fusion and a pre-fabricated, raised lane down the center divider of freeways for mass transit, speeding up journey times.

Elon also touches on other subjects, such as hydrogen fuel cells ("People at Tesla call them fool cells") and his retirement, which he wants to do on Mars.

We'd certainly encourage you to watch the whole video (just over an hour of it), even if it's not really about the subject most familiar to GreenCarReports readers, Tesla Motors. What it is, is a fascinating insight into the mind of a real entrepreneur--and one with even bigger ideas on the horizon.

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Comments (20)
  1. Anthony, Are you a subsidiary of Tesla now? This is a company with a zero percent market share...who cares about them? I would think you would be embarrassed to write about toys for rich people when this is not about green. What is this the sixth or seventh story in the last week or so on them? You should be focused on biofuels or something that interests readers.
     
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  2. I find this story interesting. If this story is not interesting enough for you, there are plenty of other stories posted on this site. Feel free to browse around.
     
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  3. @James: Actually, we monitor our traffic quite closely here at Green Car Reports. Articles on Tesla consistently get better-than-average traffic and comment volume, which is an indicator that, in fact, our readers ARE interested in Tesla--quite interested indeed.

    On the other hand, articles on natural gas, ethanol, biodiesel, and biofuels run average to below-average traffic. So I'm afraid that since your analysis of what our GCR readers are interested in isn't based on data, it's inaccurate.
     
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  4. Elon Musk thinks big and achieves big and we need more people like him. Tesla Motors have inspired many to either manufacturer, do electric car conversions and/or consider/buy Electric Cars. Tesla Motors have also produced Electric Cars that are fast, powerful and practical with a realistic range. Tesla Motors also supply parts to some established car makers.
     
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  5. Very true, Bob Lutz has said on camera that after seeing what Tesla was doing that he thought GM needed to get into plug-in cars. If it wasn't for Tesla the Volt may not have entered the market as soon as it did.
     
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  6. There are more comments in this thread
  7. What was he smoking before the interview? Or was there something in the brownies?
     
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  8. LOL, sounds like you fellas got together and smoked some biofuel feed stocks, or something!
     
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  9. I was the first one to -1 James, I just thought it sounded like Elon was on something with these huge predictions and the retiring on Mars bit.
     
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  10. Elon is on dreaming big, thinking big, then taking massive action to achieve his dreams and turn them into reality. Something which we should do more of.
     
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  11. Yes I do agree, and Elon has so far made his predictions become reality. I just thought a few of the predictions are a little beyond our lifetimes. I'm not saying I'm right and Elon is wrong, if anything given Elon's track record he will proabley turn out to be correct and he will bring us the necessary innovations to do so.
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  12. @CDspeed:I have to admit Elon Musk looses me too when he starts about colonizing space, but you misjudge him with the brownies remark.

    I saw a guy who dares to dream big but at the same time doesn't take himself too seriously all the time, calling himself somewhat crazy, jokingly suggesting how him not being a co-founder actually seems a good thing for a company's chances of success, admitting that when he started SpaceX he thought the most probable outcome was failure.

    Don't confuse being capable of dreaming big with being unrealistic or even being crazy, it's not necessarily the same thing and you need people like that to change the status quo.
     
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  13. There was a plane that was powered by solar panels that flew around the world. But that plane couldn't carry any people and won't get you anywhere fast...

    As far as the "tube" concept, I saw that in the early 1990's popular mechanics. It is NOT much different than the vaccume tube system used by the banks and large warehouses for tranportating receipts and paperworks...
     
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  14. Here is an interesting article I read on a fast electric plane.
    http://green.autoblog.com/2012/07/20/chip-yates-sets-electric-airplane-speed-record-lives-to-tell-ta/
     
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  15. What I take away from this interview about Elon Musk's basic motivation:

    "I want to allocate my efforts in a way that I think will affect the future of humanity in a positive way"

    Which translates in the role for Tesla:

    "catalyst for the acceleration of sustainable transport"

    ..and indeed, if Tesla fails there is a fair chance that the BEV concept ends up on the back burner.

    It's that basic attitude that makes me wonder why so many people resent him so much and feel the need to bash him as a lying crook who lost touch with reality and whose endeavours can only end in failure. Guess that's part of that "glass chewing" he is willing to accept, but some people should give him more credit rather than just boo him from the sideline.
     
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  16. If you are a fan of early 20th century sci fi literature, Elon Musk reminds me of a fictional inventer by the name of "Tom Swift". I wonder if Elon is familiar with this literature. Check it out. Public domain now, available in "audiobook" form. As I'd like to continue my aircraft pilo training, I am hindered by the costs, primarily fuel related. Why hasn't there been more research in electric powered aircraft? As stated, no oxygen required....
     
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  17. @Don Check out http://www.enstroj.si/Electric-products/emrax-motors.html and scroll down for videos on Electric Air Plane in action.
     
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  18. not surprising that an LA residents thoughts seem to center on fixing grid lock
     
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  19. As an observer of all fields of current and future energy technologies, I'd say that the likelihood that cold fusion ever
    achieves commercialization (much less is competitive)is about the same as that of his 85kWh Model S traveling the posted limits on a Texas rural Interstate Highway and achieving a driving range of 220 miles.
     
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  20. Just normal fusion (not 'cold' fusion), I think.
     
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