By Maria Papagiannopoulou,
Tesla was founded in 2003 by a group of engineers who wanted to prove that people did not need to compromise to drive electric -that electric vehicles can be better, quicker and more fun to drive than gasoline cars. Today, Tesla builds not only all-electric vehicles but also infinitely scalable clean energy generation and storage products. Tesla believes the faster the world stops relying on fossil fuels and moves towards a zero-emission future, the better.
Tesla is taking a proactive approach to safety, requiring production employees to participate in a multi-day training program before ever setting foot on the factory floor. From there, Tesla continues to provide on-the-job training and track performance daily so that improvements can be made quickly. The result is that Tesla’s safety rate continues to improve while production ramps.
To create an entire sustainable energy ecosystem, Tesla also manufactures a unique set of energy solutions, Powerwall, Powerpack and Solar Roof, enabling homeowners, businesses, and utilities to manage renewable energy generation, storage, and consumption. Funding for the company was obtained from a variety of sources, most notably PayPal cofounder Elon Musk, who contributed more than $30 million to the new venture and served as chairman of the company, beginning in 2004.
Who is Elon Musk?
Musk was born on June 28, 1971, in Pretoria, South Africa. As a child, Musk was so lost in his daydreams about inventions that his parents and doctors ordered a test to check his hearing. At about the time of his parents’ divorce, when he was 10, Musk developed an interest in computers. He taught himself how to program, and when he was 12 he sold his first software: a game he created called Blastar. In grade school, Musk was short, introverted and bookish. He was bullied until he was 15 and went through a growth spurt and learned how to defend himself with karate and wrestling. As the co-founder and CEO of Tesla, Elon leads all product design, engineering and global manufacturing of the company’s electric vehicles, battery products and solar energy products.
Inventions and Innovations
In August 2013, Musk 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. Musk noted that the Hyperloop could take from 7 to 10 years to be built and ready for use.
Al and Neuralink
Musk has pursued an interest in artificial intelligence, becoming co-chair of the non-profit Open Al.
In 2017, it was also reported that Musk was backing a venture called Neuralink, which intends to create devices to be implanted in the human brain and help people merge with software. He expanded on the company’s progress during a July 2019 discussion, revealing that its devices will consist of a microscopic chip that connects via Bluetooth to a smartphone.
In late November 2017, after Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel asked for proposals to build and operate a high-speed rail line that would transport passengers from O’Hare Airport to downtown Chicago in 20 minutes or less, Musk tweeted that he was all-in on the competition with The Boring Company. He said that the concept of the Chicago loop would be different from his Hyperloop, its relatively short route not requiring the need for drawing a vacuum to eliminate air friction.
In summer 2018 Musk announced he would cover the estimated $1 billion needed to dig the 17-mile tunnel from the airport to downtown Chicago. However, in late 2019 he tweeted that TBC would focus on completing the commercial tunnel in Las Vegas before turning to other projects, suggesting that plans for Chicago would remain in limbo for the immediate future.
Musk also reportedly found a market for The Boring Company’s flamethrowers. After announcing they were going on sale for $500 apiece in late January 2018, he claimed to have sold 10,000 of them within a day.
To sum up, Musk’s early interest in reading philosophy, science fiction, and fantasy novels is reflected in his sense of idealism and concern with human progress. He aims to work in the areas he has identified as crucial to our future, specifically the Internet, the transition to renewable energy sources, and space colonization. With his work with PayPal, Tesla Motors, SolarCity, and SpaceX, he has defied critics and made advances in all three of these frontiers.
Wikipaidia, Elon Musk. Available here.
Encyclopedia of World Biography, Elon Musk Biography. Available here.