Tech Renaissance Man Elon Musk Talks Cars, Spaceships and Hyperloops at D11

April 11, 2016 – 07:22 am

Elon_musk1Elon Musk dreams big. It’s hard not to get taken along for the ride — whether it’s a soon-to-launch cross-country Supercharger network that allows Tesla drivers to cross from Los Angeles to New York, an in-the-works reusable rocket that will help pioneer the colonization of Mars, or a hypothetical replacement for high-speed rail called the Hyperloop.

He was the evening speaker at D11 on Wednesday, where he said a mainstream Tesla is three to four years out, shook off electric car naysayers, announced the new nationwide Supercharger network, explained why he’s so excited about Mars, shared his views on immigration and how they diverged from and tried to convince other smart folks to join him in doing big-picture stuff.

Here’s the liveblog:

Elon Musk is co-founder, CEO and product architect of Tesla Motors. He’s founder, CEO and CTO of SpaceX. Back in the day, he helped start PayPal. And in his spare time, he’s chairman of the just-IPOed residential solar company SolarCity. He’s kind of a techie superhero.

Tonight, Musk is the evening attraction at , in conversation with Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher about launching reusable rockets, persevering through years of electric car setbacks, Tesla’s recent turn as a stock market darling, the future of clean energy, pesky reporters who question his cars’ performance in the cold and all sorts of other things.

Walt: You’re involved in several cutting-edge things, let’s start with the electric car. Why are you in that business and do you think it can be profitable?

Musk: The reason for Tesla is not because I wanted to get a return on investment. Today we’ve got quite a high market cap, so it may seem obviously a good thing to have done, but for many years people regarded this as stupid or insane or both.

Starting a new Internet company would have been like falling off a log. But existing carmakers were not doing it themselves. General Motors recalled its EV1s, took them to a junkyard and crushed them while people held a candlelight vigil (as depicted in “Who Killed the Electric Car”). There’s a lesson: If people hold a candlelight vigil, maybe you shouldn’t cancel your product.


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