Elon Musk interview: The man making the future happen

Nobody dreams as big as Elon Musk, the serial entrepreneur who has space in his sights

Tue, Jun 10, 2014, 11:18

In Tesla’s case, Republicans objected to the $465 million low-cost Federal loan it received from a fund introduced by president Obama to reanimate the US car industry after the financial crisis. Mitt Romney referred to Tesla as a “loser” company in the presidential election debates – “it was hurtful, he just didn’t know what he was talking about”, says Musk – and there is a noisy antipathy towards electric cars from those who question their price, practicality and true environmental benefit.

Difficult times will come again, and soon. Musk will have to put people on his rockets – “that will be a very nervous day” – and two new models for Tesla will increase its volumes tenfold. He also needs to design the fully reusable rockets he believes are needed to make a Mars commute financially viable.

And as if this wasn’t enough, he has plans for a supersonic, vertical take-off and landing electric jet, and for a supersonic underground transport system called the Hyperloop which he says could link LA and San Francisco in 30 minutes and would cost $6 billion to build. He won’t talk details, yet, and had planned to publish a paper on it after his Oxford speech, “but I just didn’t have a spare neuron. All existing neurons were redlined.”

If the Hyperloop sounds far-fetched, so did the idea of a private individual building, from scratch and to his own design, a rocket and spacecraft that would dock with the International Space Station, something only four governments have achieved. Don’t bet against any of Musk’s plans; not even the Mars shot.