Can Elon Musk really change the world?
But Tesla is more than just shiny, environmentally-friendly cars. Musk is a consummate multi-skiller and Tesla has used what it’s learned about cars to develop battery storage for both commercial and domestic use, charging when electricity is cheap at night or the sun is shining and storing it up to be used when it’s needed. The latest add-on is elegantly designed solar roof tiles that look like slates and can cover rooftops without ruining the aesthetic. The resulting energy is then, of course, stored in Tesla batteries. The impact of this kind of development is not to be underestimated; as successive governments become greener and greener, the idea that every new house built should be equipped with this or similar technology, which marries sustainability with heritage and planning requirements, is not a great leap of the imagination.
SpaceX has been busy breaking boundaries since before that weekend though. In 2010, it became the first private company to send a payload into space, and then return. In 2015, they managed a planned landing and recovery of the rockets. Later this year they are due to send a manned flight to the International Space Station, and in 2018 they are going to send two ‘space tourists’ around the moon and back. But the key to SpaceX is its ability to design, build and launch rockets at a third of the cost of government agencies, such as NASA. This is huge, both in the relative democratisation of space, but also in the margins that are achievable.
Then there’s the Boring Company, launched in 2017, which is anything but. Musk is pouring money into tunnelling research and development to help speed up the digging process and reduce costs. His vision is to reduce street-level gridlock by creating hundreds of miles of multi-layered tunnels beneath a city and then transporting cars on electric skates, and a Hyperloop, of course, at super-high speeds (125 mph) from A to B.