Elon Musk Answers Qs About Tesla In 2010: Rate His Responses

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Elon Musk isn't a man who minces his words--few people in his position get to where they are by being shy and retiring.

That means the Paypal, Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] and SpaceX executive is always good for a soundbite, and there are quite a few in this Time interview from 2010.

Such a great deal has changed in the last three years, particularly at Tesla, so it's interesting seeing whether Elon's views from a few years back correlate with his companies' success today.

The questions, picked by Time readers around the world, cover a variety of topics, but Tesla is at the top of the bill.

Back in 2010 the company only sold the Tesla Roadster, but today it's very much another stage up from that--selling a car developed completely in-house, in impressive numbers, and having achieved the first profitable quarter in Tesla's history.

The interview leads in with a hard-hitter, asking Elon whether Tesla should accept government loans given his libertarian views--in other words, whether it's right using taxpayer money to fund a private company.

Musk answers in the affirmative, citing the current economic climate, but a few years down the line it's looking much better for Tesla than it has for companies that have failed and dragged taxpayer money down with them--Tesla expects to repay its loan in 2017, five years ahead of schedule.

The next question asks whether electric vehicles will really replace combustion-engined ones.

Again Musk is positive, suggesting that in 20 years, the majority of new cars manufactured will be electric.

Three years on we're no clearer to knowing how true that statement will be--it's unlikely, but difficult to say with any certainty--but things certainly look rosier for electric vehicles today than they did a few years ago. There are more on the market, for a start, and even more on the horizon.

Other questions quiz Musk's SpaceX project and his business accumen--but we want to hear what you think of his answers, given a few more years to reflect on them.

Leave your thoughts on the progress of Tesla and SpaceX below--and anything else you'd like to comment on.

[Hat tip: Brian Henderson]

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