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Elon Musk Will Usher In the Era of Electric Cars

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the fine-but-can-we-at-least-do-it-on-mars dept.

Businesses 336

pigrabbitbear writes "There's a reason why Elon Musk is being called the next Steve Jobs. Like Jobs, he's a visionary, a super successful serial entrepreneur, having made his initial fortune with a company he sold to Compaq before starting Paypal. Like Jobs, he saved his beloved baby Tesla Motors from the brink of oblivion. Like Jobs, [he has] a knack for paradigm-shifting industry disruption. Which means he's also demanding. 'Like Jobs, Elon does not tolerate C or D players,' SpaceX board member and early Tesla investor Steve Jurvetson told BusinessWeek. But while Jobs was slinging multi-colored music players and touchable smartphones, Musk is building rocket ships and electric-powered supercars. It's why his friends describe him as not just Steve Jobs but also John D. Rockefeller and Howard Hughes all wrapped in one. His friend Jon Favreau used Musk as the real-life inspiration for the big screen version of Tony Stark. Elon Musk is a badass."

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336 comments

If somebody compared me... (4, Insightful)

Type44Q (1233630) | about a year and a half ago | (#41913147)

If somebody compared me to that slimebag Rockefeller, I'd shoot them.

Re:If somebody compared me... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41913293)

Ditto for Jobs

Re:If somebody compared me... (3, Insightful)

Mitreya (579078) | about a year and a half ago | (#41913297)

If somebody compared me to that slimebag Rockefeller, I'd shoot them.

You do realize that the comparison refers to things like "influence on the world"/success and not on personal qualities?
From what I understand, Steve Jobs was also not the nicest person you ever met - but that's not really relevant, unless Elon Musk's personality is being compared.

Re:If somebody compared me... (2)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year and a half ago | (#41913397)

The more you read about the classic US families- "influence on the world"/success is very personal - and the cash follows in to pet projects, people, ideas, private and tax free foundations that span generations.
From "Competition is a sin!" to nets catching workers as they drop .... personal qualities are all you have.

Re:If somebody compared me... (4, Funny)

bigredradio (631970) | about a year and a half ago | (#41913315)

I guess if I had to pick the comparisons (Jobs Rockefeller, Hughes, or Stark)... I pick Stark.

Hughes wouldn't be that bad if the guy didn't have that "saving my pee" habit.

Re:If somebody compared me... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41913405)

I guess if I had to pick the comparisons (Jobs Rockefeller, Hughes, or Stark)... I pick Stark.

So the first word used to describe your legacy would be "fictional", then?

Re:If somebody compared me... (2)

aurispector (530273) | about a year and a half ago | (#41914177)

It's sad how people confuse fantasy with reality, isn't it?

I get tired of hearing people drool over how great guys like Jobs and Musk are supposed to be. The ones who make the world go around are the entrepreneurs who run the small businesses that comprise the bulk of the economy.

Cars are old hat, and the wrong solution. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41913389)

Look, the whole concept of cars is very OLD HAT, regardless of whether they're powered by gas or whether they're powered by electricity. Furthermore, they're the wrong solution to the real problem.

The real solution is to build a proper high-speed rail network throughout North America. We aren't talking about mere 300 km/h trains like are commonly found in Europe. We need to be talking about trains going just under the speed of sound. 1200 km/h trains, if you will. A solid network connecting the major cities of America would render many cars useless.

Then it is possible to address the next problems: suburban sprawl. Cities should be highly centralized, and built upwards. It is absolutely stupid to build suburbs. Those who want to live in a rural area should be doing so because they farm. Those who aren't farming should be living in dense cities, where public transit can be effectively used. Once that is achieved, cars will not be necessary for the vast majority of people.

If Mr. Musk were thinking big, NEW HAT things like this, then he'd truly be a visionary. But all we get is him thinking OLD HAT ideas about cars and rockets. We need NEW HAT ideas, not OLD HAT ideas.

Re:Cars are old hat, and the wrong solution. (1)

infidel_heathen (2652993) | about a year and a half ago | (#41913879)

Having just visited Japan and ridden on its awe-inspiring Shinkansen lines, I wish I had the mod points now to mod the parent up.

Re:Cars are old hat, and the wrong solution. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41913885)

I'm not sure if you're unaware of his Hyper Loop project, or just trolling.

Re:If somebody compared me... (3, Informative)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year and a half ago | (#41913437)

If someone compared me to that dick Jobs, I'd punch them in the face. And then in the nads.

Re:If somebody compared me... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41914217)

Thankfully you've accomplished nothing so that won't be an issue.

Re:If somebody compared me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41913475)

+1

Also, John Favreu's Tony Stark is actually modeled from Elon.

http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2011/08/robert-downey-jr-modeled-his-portrayal-of-tony-stark-after-elon-musk-one-of-the-founders-of-zip2-paypal-tesla-motors-and-spacex/

Re:If somebody compared me... (3, Insightful)

fm6 (162816) | about a year and a half ago | (#41913511)

If somebody compared me to an egomaniacal, ethics-free, self-righteous jerk whose only real talent was as a pitchman, I'd be really offended. "Visionary" my ass.

Re:If somebody compared me... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41914027)

If somebody compared me to that slimebag Rockefeller, I'd shoot them.

I know, what a horrible guy. Especially the way he donated over half a billion dollars (about 8 billion in today's money) to different colleges, universities, and medical institutions. I forget, how much his own personal wealth did Steve Jobs donate toward philanthropic efforts? Not 8 billion, that's for sure...

Re:If somebody compared me... (2)

Alex Belits (437) | about a year and a half ago | (#41914137)

Can we, please, stop praising rich slimebags for their habit of throwing money into the crowd?

Re:If somebody compared me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41914225)

If somebody compared me to that slimebag Rockefeller, I'd run them down with me Tesla Roaster before shooting their bloody remains into space lashed to the nose cone of a Falcon.

There, Mr. Musk. Fixed it for ya! No need to thank me. Just let me have the first ride when you make a rocket everyone can afford.

and Elon Musk publicist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41913229)

clearly has editing privileges at slashdot.

Next Steve jobs? (5, Insightful)

davydagger (2566757) | about a year and a half ago | (#41913237)

So he's going to design really crappy electric cars for 10 years which will sell well with artists who are big on brand loyality and tollerate being abused.

Next he's going to download various open source hardware car parts off the internet, put some faux wood and faux leather interior, and sell it to suave hipsters who he can ply on their on white/yuppie guilt to sell trendy fads and make them feel better about themselves, and then ignore any and all complaints for the next 10 years, esentiallly selling what should have been a $10k smart car for $20k.

He'll then dictate what speakers, intake and exhaust you put on it, sue chevy for patent infringements on the volt, and get his crowd of loyal followers to cover up his mistakes.

Then we'll start talking about how much of an innovater he was, but the people who did most of the real innovation will die quiet deaths, unnoticed by the technology he made popular.

Or mabey we should stop using the term "The Next Steve Jobs" out of the context of meaning "the next George Pullman"

don't for get the $200 oil change at there dealer (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year and a half ago | (#41913339)

don't for get the $200 oil change at there dealers.

And they will use DRM lock downs and sue the jiffy lubes that have a workaround.

Re:don't for get the $200 oil change at there deal (1)

fm6 (162816) | about a year and a half ago | (#41913529)

Plus, he'll need to screw over all the people who worked with him, so that only he gets rich.

Re:don't for get the $200 oil change at there deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41913611)

Three immediately-visible grammatical errors; 'forget' is one word, 'there' should be 'their' and beginning a sentence with 'And' is considered sloppy in most cases.
C-
On this site that's nearly trolling!

Re:don't for get the $200 oil change at there deal (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41913745)

Electric cars don't use oil because there are no moving parts - it's all software from steering, transmission, to throttle response (aka gas pedal). Only thing left are the breaks. Once they get that plus the autonomous driving programs from GM, Google, et al. then we will have our individualize buses. The only good thing about this is I can finally drive my WAR WAGON (http://www.cadillac.com/cts-v-luxury-wagon.html) on the left (fast) lane in peace while all of you are stuck in your autonomous right lanes sexting from your latest iPhones ;-P

Re:don't for get the $200 oil change at there deal (3, Funny)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about a year and a half ago | (#41913823)

Electric cars don't use oil because there are no moving parts

... and the gearboxes are lubricated with unicorn tears, while the hydraulic systems use dragon's blood because of the higher boiling point.

Re:don't for get the $200 oil change at there deal (4, Informative)

norpy (1277318) | about a year and a half ago | (#41913973)

Hydraulic and transmission oil is changed far less frequently than engine oil.

Also all-electric cars don't have the same complex tranmissions since electric engines don't have the same narrow power band

Re:don't for get the $200 oil change at there deal (2)

amorsen (7485) | about a year and a half ago | (#41914055)

... and the gearboxes are lubricated with unicorn tears, while the hydraulic systems use dragon's blood because of the higher boiling point.

Pure electric cars don't need gearboxes. Hydraulic brakes likely won't go away soon, but electric power steering is rather popular.

Re:don't for get the $200 oil change at there deal (1)

flibbajobber (949499) | about a year and a half ago | (#41914273)

Pure electric cars don't need gearboxes.

They don't need multi-speed gear boxes, but may still need a single-speed transmission to change the ratio of motor output RPM to desired axle RPM, and/or offset the shaft axes for mounting/layout reasons. They also still need differentials.

Re:don't for get the $200 oil change at there deal (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41914143)

If you were in a real car forum, they would've chewed your comments out until it was crying with unicorn tears. The usual answer is "Do some fscking search first!". Good thing you are in /.

I've Googled for you so here's a couple of answers for you:

1) http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Do_electric_cars_need_oil_changes
Only hybrids need oil changes. Electric cars don't need any oil changes because they don't use oil. The internal combustion engine is replaced by a electronic motor.

2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tesla_Roadster#Service
Electric vehicles require much less service and maintenance than internal combustion engine vehicles. They do not require routine oil changes.

Re:don't for get the $200 oil change at there deal (1)

mspohr (589790) | about a year and a half ago | (#41913859)

Electric cars don't have oil to change.

Re:don't for get the $200 oil change at there deal (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about a year and a half ago | (#41914013)

Electric cars don't have oil to change.

If you want to get really, really technical, there's going to be oil in the transmission gearbox, even if it's a single speed. $200 for changing that oil wouldn't be too bad, because it'd be like 500k mile maintenance.

Re:Next Steve jobs? (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about a year and a half ago | (#41913673)

You forgot about the walled garden "these cars will only run on approved Tesla roads or your warranty is void" bit. Of course, Tesla roads will go anywhere that anyone who is anyone would want to go, so it's not really an issue. That, and the hackers who keep finding places they can force an exit and run the car off along the large hobbyist road network.

Maybe we need a car analogy?

Re:Next Steve jobs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41913789)

Wow! No shortage of bitter, mean spirited, vitriolic bile here!

Re:Next Steve jobs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41914083)

The next Steve Jobs just came out of my ass. No one pulled it out from there. I flushed it.

Sponsored by (3)

taucross (1330311) | about a year and a half ago | (#41913257)

This Slashdot story sponsored by Kusm Nole Enterprises (TM)

Re:Sponsored by (0)

bzipitidoo (647217) | about a year and a half ago | (#41914123)

Really. What struck me about the headline was the loud hero worship of the almighty super special individual. No one, no matter how special, can change facts of nature. This hero worship also shows another huge hole in American thinking. We have a terrible tendency to pick out one "key" person for lionizing, when it actually took a large team to accomplish some feat. In the case of a business leader, there's some justification for that. But still, it's praising Jobs while ignoring that Woz ever existed. Actors would be nothing without good writers and directors. Niel Armstrong would never have set foot on the moon if a massive organization hadn't stood behind him.

As to the facts of nature, I see several ways the electric car could play out. If batteries cannot be greatly improved, then the future might not be electric cars. Where is the flying car that was hoped to be just around the corner in the 1940s? 70 years later, it's still years away. What was not appreciated was how hard flying is. Now with driverless cars on the horizon, we will be able to extend that to control of flying machines, and may at last see the flying car.

If not batteries, we may instead come up with cheap way to produce biodiesel. Then the electric car may then never move beyond the experimental. We may also stay with the hybrid. Diesel electric locomotives have existed and worked excellently for decades. There are other directions to explore. Really, our road design while real simple and basic, is terribly primitive. Maglev is much talked about, but there are many other ideas. What if we came up with walkers along the lines of the Star Wars AT-AT, but scaled down for personal transportation? With decent computer control, it could be possible. What kind of road would be best for them, maybe something like the generously spaced apart round stones used for footpaths? Could they jump small streams, so that we wouldn't have to have so many bridges which are the highest maintenance items of our roads?

I'm from Portland, and... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41913269)

I liked Elon Musk before it was cool. Just thought you should know.

Re:I'm from Portland, and... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41913439)

Elon who? Sorry, I don't keep up with the mainstream.

Celebrity CEOs (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41913273)

So he's just another celebrity businessman who treats his employees like shit while taking the credit for designs he didn't come up with himself? You'll be comparing him to Thomas Edison next.

Re:Celebrity CEOs (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41913367)

I think he's also too big to fail, and if the company goes bankrupt he'll say the money just disappeared and he doesn't know where it is. That's how we swing in this administration. Four more years.

Re:Celebrity CEOs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41913501)

Citation needed, asshole.

Re:Celebrity CEOs (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41913829)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Eberhard

Musk basically ripped the company out from under him.

Re:Celebrity CEOs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41914091)

"So he's just another celebrity businessman who treats his employees like shit while taking the credit for designs he didn't come up with himself? You'll be comparing him to Thomas Edison next."
- Anonymous Coward

Re:Celebrity CEOs (1)

NetNinja (469346) | about a year and a half ago | (#41913733)

Uh you have a choice. Don't work there. seems like a fairly obvious solution to the issue. Start your own company and see if it survives on hopes and dreams, a kinder, gentler company.

Presumably he'll also cure cancer, (3, Interesting)

neminem (561346) | about a year and a half ago | (#41913303)

send us to Mars, usher in a new era of world peace, and while he's at it, make us all sandwiches?

How did this make it to the front page? It's not even a slashvertizement for a product; that might occasionally be useful. It's a slashvertizement for a person, that doesn't even have any useful information in it beyond "this person is awesome". It doesn't even make the slightest effort to argue the statement given in the title: I'd love to see an "era of electric cars" get ushered in.

He's going to patent lots of obvious stuff (5, Funny)

linatux (63153) | about a year and a half ago | (#41913305)

then sue the crap out of everyone who produces something with wheels?

Re:He's going to patent lots of obvious stuff (4, Funny)

scottrocket (1065416) | about a year and a half ago | (#41913395)

then sue the crap out of everyone who produces something with wheels?

Only rounded wheels-be fair.

Re:He's going to patent lots of obvious stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41913593)

Including rectangular wheels with rounded corners.

Re:He's going to patent lots of obvious stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41913641)

@lunatix: I see what you did there.
Unfortunately, if it's obvious, it probably won't get patented, but if it still does get patented, then it won't be defensible.
In summary: your comment is irrelevant and reveals a deep-seated jealousy of innovators who put their hearts and soles into their work.

Re:He's going to patent lots of obvious stuff (1)

linatux (63153) | about a year and a half ago | (#41913791)

Not to mention their souls. Yeah - it was a cheap shot at a dead guy. Honestly, I'm impressed by innovation - I just feel that if more time was spent innovating & less spent trying to cripple the competition, the world would be a much better place.

Electric cars... yawn (0)

overbaud (964858) | about a year and a half ago | (#41913329)

Call me when electric cars are making the same power and torque as an 8/71 or 16/71 big block then I'll get excited. Electric super cars? Pfft.

Re:Electric cars... yawn (4, Insightful)

rjstanford (69735) | about a year and a half ago | (#41913425)

Ever seen a modern locomotive? Scaling power in an electric car is far, far easier than scaling it in a fossil-fuel equiv. vehicle.

Re:Electric cars... yawn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41914189)

Considering that, um, it's a Diesel engine running a generator that runs the electric motor.... Um....

Re:Electric cars... yawn (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about a year and a half ago | (#41913581)

You're joking, right? Gasoline-driven engines don't produce anywhere near the torque or power that an electric motor is capable of, depending on the type of electric motor being used.

Gasoline/diesel didn't win out because they're more powerful than electric, they won out because you can fill a gas tank in minutes, and go hundreds of miles on it.

Re:Electric cars... yawn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41913941)

That, and the fact that when you floor a gas/diesel engine (especially with a highly tuned 4 banger, 6, V8, or higher)...you hear the primal roar of your engine coming out from the exhaust. You feel connected to the car. Then you have the ----- quietness ----- of a speeding electric supercar. Which pulls harder on your driving heart?

Re:Electric cars... yawn (1)

Twinbee (767046) | about a year and a half ago | (#41914153)

Sound can be synthesized if you really must. Efficiency, cost, acceleration and lack of noise can't.

Re:Electric cars... yawn (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41914221)

Sorry, the electric motor produces no power whatsoever... Once you include the weight of the batteries, then you compare the effective power/weight ratio to a ICE. Get back to me.

Slashvertisement? (0)

Chaonici (1913646) | about a year and a half ago | (#41913401)

I've never heard of this guy until now, and the post is written like it's meant to glorify him as the third coming of Jesus -- implying, of course, that Steve Jobs was the second coming.

I wonder who got paid for this submission.

Re:Slashvertisement? (2)

davydagger (2566757) | about a year and a half ago | (#41913579)

slashdot has gotten pretty bad recently. need more metamods and more real geeks on the firehouse. Less FUD, Less brownshirts, and less corporate sponsored ego trips.

Re:Slashvertisement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41913599)

He's the CEO of both SpaceX and Tesla Motors (2 companies that appear from time to time on slashdot due to their geeky nature), He also the person who started Paypal and sold it to eBay (the evil!).

In any case, SpaceX is a major achievement, a space craft "done right" from cost considerations to the general design. Hopefully, they will get a space craft that is human-rated soon. Really, SpaceX has shown great achievements so far and hopefully will continue to do so.

Tesla Motors is pushing the technology curve with electric cars. While nothing revolutionary, definitely on the technological forefront. They help make the push for electric cars something average consumers can somewhat see on the horizon (still too expensive for the average family but not completely out of reach especially for the upper-middle class).

And we all know the evil Paypal. While i don't know much about it's time before the eBay buyout, it's legacy will be here for quite a while. Well, at least the money gained was eventually used to fund SpaceX....

Re:Slashvertisement? (5, Informative)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about a year and a half ago | (#41913625)

You've seriously never heard of Elon Musk? What rock have you been living under?

He's the financier behind Tesla Motors, which has been talked about many times over the years on Slashdot. He also fincanced SpaceX, which got a lot of press during the X Prize coverage. He also founded PayPal, and got a lot of press through that. There've been documentaries about him, and about his companies, some of which are available on Netflix if you're so inclined (Revenge of the Electric Car has a *lot* of interview time with Musk, if you'd like to get an idea of what kind of person he really is). http://www.revengeoftheelectriccar.com/ [revengeoft...riccar.com]

Come to it, having seen that movie, and his interviews in the movie, he doesn't come off as anywhere near the kind of jackass that Jobs was.

Re:Slashvertisement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41913877)

Except for how he pushed Eberhard out of the company...

http://blogs.reuters.com/small-business/2009/06/22/tesla-founders-feud-a-cautionary-tale/

Re:Slashvertisement? (2)

Twinbee (767046) | about a year and a half ago | (#41913893)

Wow, a comment with a score above 2 which isn't a joke or a dig at Steve Jobs.

Re:Slashvertisement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41913771)

Since Steve Jobs came many times (all iPad, iPod, iBook etc versions) per his fans, I am not sure howmanyeth coming would be that of Elon.

oh stop it (0)

geekoid (135745) | about a year and a half ago | (#41913403)

Space X is not "paradigm-shifting industry disruption. "
Not by any stretch of the imagination. It's certainly awesome and cool, but lets not get carried away.

Re:oh stop it (3, Interesting)

khallow (566160) | about a year and a half ago | (#41913855)

If they can turn a profit on selling Falcon 9 launches anywhere near the price points they claim to be able to achieve, then it will change the universe.

Seriously?? (3, Interesting)

lkcl (517947) | about a year and a half ago | (#41913429)

where's that slashdot article that came up a couple of days ago, about velomobiles being 80x more efficient than electric cars? didn't it have some quite obvious maths that showed that if all cars in the USA were converted to electric, it would require 7,000 GWh of electricity just to charge them every day? what that velomobiles article didn't also cover is that it's highly unlikely that the world has enough lithium and neodymium to go round to supply all those vehicles.

i've *done* the analysis and the designs (http://lkcl.net/ev) and if EVs are to be the success that people really really WANT them to be, then they have to be ultra-efficient (350kg) ultra-streamlined (Cd 0.15) parallel diesel hybrids with a 5kW (7HP) diesel motor and a 10kW (13HP) electric motor running off of a CVT (quadbike) gearbox.

perhaps this is some sort of spiritual test of my patience when people make these kinds of statements "elon musk will be the next steve jobs for recommending that the world's population use more of our planet's natural resources than its humans can actually get hold of", or am i missing something here?

Re:Seriously?? (1)

Twinbee (767046) | about a year and a half ago | (#41913609)

I thought electric cars made gears obsolete, so reintroducing them would appear to be a step backwards, as one 'gear' supplies maximum torque surely?

A hybrid is an okay compromise for now, but let's face it, gas guzzlers are ancient tech with too many parts to go wrong. Once the infrastructure is in place, everything will be electric. It's a bit like the comparison with SSD/HD hybrids and pure SSD drives. A compromise is okay for now, but we'll reach the future quicker by going for pure SSD.

As for your other points, I'm not sure how being lighter will make too much difference, since electricity is already at least twice as cheap as gas. Ultra-streamlined? I think the 0-60 in 4 seconds is good enough for anyone ;)

Re:Seriously?? (1)

snspdaarf (1314399) | about a year and a half ago | (#41913775)

Well, if a CVT makes my electric car sound more like an old fashioned electric fan, and less like a dentist's drill, while I drive down the highway, I might give up a little efficiency.

Re:Seriously?? (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about a year and a half ago | (#41913715)

perhaps this is some sort of spiritual test of my patience when people make these kinds of statements "elon musk will be the next steve jobs for recommending that the world's population use more of our planet's natural resources than its humans can actually get hold of", or am i missing something here?

All you're missing is the tunnel vision.

Re:Seriously?? (4, Insightful)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about a year and a half ago | (#41913779)

didn't it have some quite obvious maths that showed that if all cars in the USA were converted to electric, it would require 7,000 GWh of electricity just to charge them every day?

I don't think anyone is suggesting that we immediately replace all gas-powered cars with electric cars overnight using our existing infrastructure and power grid. It's going to take a long time, and our energy sector is going to come with it. More solar energy is absorbed by the earth every hour than humans use in a year. It's completely feasible to have an all-solar energy grid that powers everything we need it to and then some, it will just take a lot of time and significant investment to get anywhere near that point. It's just the case right now that we have an infrastructure built on supporting gas-powered vehicles. That is what needs to change. It's also safe to say that we haven't found every source of natural resources [ceramics.org] that this planet has to offer, and we haven't even begun to look outside of our planet for additional resources. Not to mention manufacturing our own from available materials.

In short, not only is it possible, but Elon Musk is right for doing his part to help push people in that direction. His direction isn't the only feasible one though, so feel free to compete with him.

Yeah except (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41913473)

PayPal is a shady corporation that definitely falls on the "evil" side of internet companies. Sadly, that precludes my ever being a fan of his, regardless of his other accomplishments.

Re:Yeah except (2)

MrEricSir (398214) | about a year and a half ago | (#41913531)

In that case you'll be happy to know that Musk didn't really start PayPal. He started another company called X.com that eventually took over PayPal.

But Musk being Musk, he likes to take credit for things he didn't actually do.

Re:Yeah except (1)

davydagger (2566757) | about a year and a half ago | (#41913627)

next steve jobs indeed.

the greatest crime of our generation is our history books are written by mercenaries who will write down whomever will pay for the privledge of deeming themselves worthy, and the real heros and inovators to be left in the dustbin of history.

I only hope that sites like archive.org will save the mass reactions that people have, so when history is whitewashed, 200 years later people will learn the controversy of these figures, and perhaps have enough information to prompt them to ask questions which will eventually dig and find the truth.

Oh sure... (0)

Mashiki (184564) | about a year and a half ago | (#41913491)

Is he also ushering in an era of more nuclear power plants to ensure that there's power availability too? Or will people be paying 16c/KWH or higher once these things start banging away on the grid.

Re:Oh sure... (2)

robot256 (1635039) | about a year and a half ago | (#41914193)

39% of electric vehicles have solar panels on their home [solarchargeddriving.com], so they generate their own power (at least on average). And it would take an extraordinarily sudden leap in EV use for off-peak EV charging to be more load than daytime peak usage--both are expected to climb over time, and more capacity is needed regardless of EV adoption. They will just make the load more constant, which is *better* from the power company's perspective.

Ashholometer said NO. (1)

epSos-de (2741969) | about a year and a half ago | (#41913537)

Elon Musk is not as much an ashhole as Steve Jobs was. One has to be ashholish to be the next Steve Jobs. Elon Musk is a geek who seems to speak positively and less arrogant than the usual bosses. I bet he is demanding, but in a polite way.

badass? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41913559)

I completely agree: "bad" and an "ass".

I don't think you have to act like a complete jerk toward intelligent and accomplished people to get good results. Jobs and Musk just set a terrible example for everyone else in a leadership position and are probably jointly responsible for more human misery than most people, living or dead. What was/is the real cost of that iPod/iPhone/iPad? What will the cost to the environment be of Musk's electric supercars and rocket ships? And what tiny fraction of humanity will really benefit from them?

Can someone please find us an accomplished leader somewhere who doesn't act like a complete asshole towards those working for him?

Save the Elons (2)

Megahard (1053072) | about a year and a half ago | (#41913571)

The African Elon is an endangered species. Poachers are killing it for its valuable musk, used to power these electric vehicles.

If you want to worship him so much.. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41913597)

If you want to worship him so much why don't you start a church and do it there rather then posting this crap to slashdot?

Ain't it funny? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41913603)

Ain't it funny where money and chutzpah will take you?

Jobs wasn't a serial entrepreneur (1)

Trepidity (597) | about a year and a half ago | (#41913663)

At least not in this sense: he stuck with things, not founding things to sell 'em to investors and move on. The first tech company Jobs founded was Apple, and that's the company he died leading.

Does anyone know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41913671)

Why his sedan, albeit much larger, can get so many more miles than the Volt (despite also being heavier by nature)?

I had the opportunity to buy a Volt, but when I started geeking out on the specs, I just couldn't bring myself to get something with such inferior batteries -- not just because it didn't sit well but I also didn't want to vote with my money toward those 35mile/charge things...

I mean we're looking at a minimum 7x improvement in range without a 7x improvement in battery volumn and that all after considering the massive weight difference between those vehicles.

You forgot: (1, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year and a half ago | (#41913681)

They forgot one of the key things - both Tesla and SpaceX depend heavily on government money. He's got more in common with William Boeing than Steve Jobs.

Re:You forgot: (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41913957)

Tesla depends heavily on government guarantees, not money. Much in the same way that the vast majority of Americans depended on government guarantees when they purchased their first home.

As for SpaceX, do you seriously think Apple would exist today if it weren't for all the public schools which purchased their equipment?

Admittedly, any business which makes it without some kind of public subsidy deserves accolades. But we don't live in some Ayn Rand, private, capitalist dystopia/utopia. The "public sector" is large, and it's hard to make it without doing business with it in one way or another. If it were smaller, it may be easier to get funding from private investors (although, in absolute terms funding might be more difficult all around).

Be ashamed, /.ers (5, Insightful)

meta-monkey (321000) | about a year and a half ago | (#41913685)

Reading through the comments on this story makes me sad. 90% of the posts are casting aspersions at Musk, or at the editors for publishing a positive story about a guy trying to build great things. Is he perfect? Of course not, but at least he's out there trying to do Great Things. And not just another platform for mining your personal data to better push ads at you (google, Facebook), but striving for actual advancements for humanity, like electric cars to maybe help save the planet, and then rocket ships to get off of it. Is every idea perfect or without drawbacks? Of course not. But good luck waiting for a perfect solution to replacing the internal combustion engine.

I'm reminded of my favorite Teddy Roosevelt quote:

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."

Can your cynicism. If you don't like the way Musk is building electric cars or space ships, get off your couch and go build your own goddamn spaceship. Oh wait, that would require drive, vision, and effort, and making snide comments on the internet (like I'm doing) is much easier.

Re:Be ashamed, /.ers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41914029)

It's not who it's about, it's the way they wrote the summary. Pretty cheesy and over the top, they seem to be kissing someones ass.

Re:Be ashamed, /.ers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41914133)

Didn't Ted Roosevelt spend his entire presidency persecuting overachievers?

Crony "capitalist" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41913777)

Steve Jobs did not build Apple with hundreds of millions of tax dollars from Obama

Tesla is subsidized with taxpayer money... has yet to make a real profit

Space-X is subsidized with taxpayer money... has yet to make a real profit

Like him or not, Jobs had a fantastic focus... musk seems to choose politically-favored "businesses" and dabbles in them while taxpayer money is being dangled; I'm still waiting to see if he sticks with any of these businesses when there are no tax dollars available, THEN we can consider whether he is worthy of some Steve Jobs comparison...

Re:Crony "capitalist" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41913977)

Well, the Egyptian pyramids, the Roman architecture, the Manhattan Project and the Arc of Triumph were also state-sponsored affairs. Big things that deliver external benefits long after the angel investors are dead sometimes require a little bit of Roosevelt in every John Galt.

Hell, even little things like chips do. Even those Steve Jobs' Apples run on.

Not so much (2)

Konster (252488) | about a year and a half ago | (#41913883)

The tax payers saved Tesla from the brink of oblivion, not Musk. Nearly half a billion dollars, at that.

Not to mention, the number of cars that Tesla has to sell in order to become profitable is a tall order for any company, not just one selling expensive boutique electrics to a very small niche.

Hope he's not the next Steve Jobs (2)

humanrev (2606607) | about a year and a half ago | (#41913915)

Unlike Jobs, Elon Musk seems like a nice guy. With any luck he can show how to be a pioneering leader in the technology sphere without having to be a dick at the same time.

Hype (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41913999)

hype hype hype hype

Does Slashdot get paid for AWFUL pieces like this?

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41914079)

So now we're using Vice Magazine as a source? Sure, they do some risky stuff, but isn't that one step from citing Hustler for the once in a blue moon article that they are the only one to cover?

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