Tesla and SpaceX: Elon Musk's industrial empire

June 22, 2016 – 01:37 pm
spacex-falcon-9.pngComparing the Tesla Model S to other cars is like comparing an iPhone to a desk phone. It is a technological marvel that scorches the pavement - zero to 60 in four seconds. Tesla is another revolutionary idea from the mind of Elon Musk - a 42-year-old Silicon Valley entrepreneur who built an industrial empire from the stuff of little boy dreams: fast cars and rocket ships. Musk is an idealist who told us he had to start his companies so that man could colonize Mars and save the Earth. His sister says it's like her brother traveled into the future and came back to tell us all about it. So what is the future like? Apparently it's fast and smoke-free. The Tesla Model S is powered by 7, 000 battery cells linked to an electric motor. No engine, no transmission, no tailpipe. As this company video shows, the dash is dominated by a computer that's constantly connected to the Internet. It has a fanatical following. There's a waiting list that Elon Musk is trying to shorten building 600 Model S's a week in this high-tech plant in Northern California.

Scott Pelley: I have heard a lot of people describe you.

Elon Musk: Okay, good, I mean, hopefully- on- on balance, hopefully, mostly good.

Scott Pelley: How do you describe yourself?

Elon Musk: I usually describe myself as an engineer that's basically what I've been doing since I was a kid. I'm interested in things that change the world or that affect the future and wondrous, new technology where you see it and you're like, "Wow, how did that even happen? How is that possible?"

How is it possible that Elon Musk could launch two impossible businesses - SpaceX, a builder of rocket ships and Tesla which could be the first successful car company startup in America in 90 years.

Scott Pelley: How did you figure you were going to start a car company and be successful at it?

Elon Musk: Well, I didn't really think Tesla would be successful. I thought we would most likely fail. But I thought that we at least could address the false perception that people have that an electric car had to be ugly and slow and boring like a golf cart.

Scott Pelley: But you say you didn't expect the company to be successful? Then why try?

Elon Musk: If something's important enough you should try. Even if you - the probable outcome is failure.

What's important to Musk is reducing greenhouse gases which he believes threaten the world. The Tesla will go about 250 miles on a charge. And Musk is building a network of charging stations where the driver pays nothing for a fill up. He hopes to make the stations largely solar powered one day.

Elon Musk: You can drive for free, forever, on pure sunlight. That's the, you know, message we're trying to convey. So even if, like, there's a zombie apocalypse and the grid breaks down, you'll still be able to charge your car.

Source: www.cbsnews.com

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