Elon Musk is a highly polarizing figure. Whether you love, hate, admire or criticize him, everyone seems to have a passionate opinion. Musk is most widely known as a serial entrepreneur and the brain behind Tesla, Space X, Hyperloop One, and Solar City – making headlines last year for a brand new Tesla model launching, a successful landing of Space X’s reusable rocket back in earth, and his grand plan for interplanetary and Earth travel.
Of late, however, he has also been generating a spate of social media attention. From bizarre Tweets to a podcast interview turned meme, Elon has been all over the news this past year, with many jumping to quick judgements.
Born in South Africa to a model and electromechanical engineer, Elon Musk was driven from an early age by a desire to solve problems and make a name for himself, and was always, as cliche as it might sound, years ahead of his time. He set his sights on e-banking back in ‘99, on space travel in ‘02, electric cars in ‘03, green energy in ‘04, and is now looking to rapid travel as the next problem in dire need of solving.
His vision has always been grand, with wealth never being an end-goal. His first company, X.com, which later merged with Paypal and sold to Ebay, left Musk with a newfound fortune, which he invested into his new startups (and Tesla, which he did not start himself).
Venture after venture, Elon Musk has consistently used his own capital and poured all of his resources, in one grand bet after another, pouring his heart into his next big goal and in pursuit of the next big
It’s not an exaggeration to say that Elon Musk, along with the companies and teams he has been able to build, have been a crucial driver of innovation and ultimately have driven the needle forward on critical issues as important as the viability of life on Earth.
Weird tweets aside, we owe Musk and the innovations coming out from his ventures a great deal of thanks, especially those of us striving for a low carbon future.
It is no small feat what Tesla Motors has been able to accomplish under Musk, surpassing car sales in the US over BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Acura, Infiniti, Jaguar Land Rover, and Lexus for the first time last year. For those working in the climate space it is clear that without a full move toward electric transportation, keeping carbon emissions below the thresholds outlined by the Paris agreement will be all but impossible.
Critics argue Tesla loses money with each car sold, and doubt it can ever reach profitability. And there might be some truth to that ––with losses of $290 million in 2014 and $888 million in 2015. Some have also stated that co-founder and CEO Elon Musk has often oversold and overpromised on deliverables for the company, at times missing states goals for launches.
But his achievements and those of his company are undeniable, and go way beyond investor reports or quarterly losses. Musk-run ventures are the reason we have freely available design patents for electric vehicles, and have pushed the previously stagnant aerospace industry. Most importantly, Elon has not only shown the ability to lead his companies, but has been able to sell consumers, and the world, on the promise of a different future.
There is much to look forward to from Musk. The Roadster, set to launch in 2020, will become the fastest car ever made with its 0 to 60 time of 1.9 seconds. Musk is also setting sights on other forms of transportation; in 2013, he released a concept for a new form of transportation called the “Hyperloop,” an invention that would foster commuting between major cities while severely cutting travel time. Ideally resistant to weather and powered by renewable energy, the Hyperloop would propel riders in pods through a network of low-pressure tubes at speeds reaching more than 700 mph. While noting that it could take up to a decade to be built, Musk has already set up a business to help with its development.
After developing five companies and counting, the real question is what Musk will achieve next and how he will continue to fulfill his visionary ideas. We believe deeply in Tesla’s mission to accelerate the transition towards a low carbon future, which is why we have proudly chosen Tesla as the car we raffle off in order to fundraise to further our own mission to pass carbon pricing legislation. We just wrapped up our third carbon pricing awareness raffle, giving away three brand new Teslas on New Year’s day. We’re excited to see what Elon comes up with next and feature his latest innovations in our future raffles. If you’d like to know when we launch our 2019 raffle and have a chance to buy tickets, enter here.