Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) CEO Elon Musk has transferred a wanderlust developed while travelling the world as a child of means to his passion for colonizing Mars. In the process, the explorer-turned-billionaire is building one of the world’s most significant green business empires in history.
“Mars is what drives him,” Louis Friedman, an astronautics engineer who has known Elon Musk for a decade, said in a recent interview of the man who is redefining industry norms. “From a psychological point of view, if you’re stuck on Earth, humankind has limits — and Elon Musk isn’t the kind of guy who likes to live with limits.”
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Elon Musk has good sense of humor, cop did not
Elon Musk, who made his fortune as a co-founder of PayPal, is not a fan of limits in terms of automotive speed as well. Recently he was pulled over by LA police for speeding, hugging the curves and riding the rails along the twisting and turning roads in the Hollywood hills along with actor Johnny Depp. “Elon had a good sense of humor about it,” quipped Depp in an interview after Elon Musk received a speeding ticket. “The cop did not. He needed a humor chip. But it was a good time, nonetheless.”
Tesla is an innovative brand with a call option on battery technology
In addition to pushing the limits of speed, Elon Musk is busy disrupting traditional business models from electric cars to solar panels and rocket ships for rent.
In the electronic car market, Musk has altered the core business model through dis-intermediation, by passing the traditional dealer distribution model for direct consumer sales. Musk has been quoted as saying the traditional automotive business model is based on the product breaking, as dealers and manufacturers generate higher profit margins on fixing the cars they build than selling them. But perhaps Musk’s most significant disruption in the field could come from the batteries that power the car. When investors buy Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA), they own what is becoming one of the pre-eminent brands for innovation, similar to what Apple Computer used to represent. With this as a brand definition, the sky is the limit. But perhaps most interesting is the “call option” investors own on the battery technology that powers their Tesla. If Musk’s magic hand is able to develop a battery technology that innovates the industry, this could have ramifications in almost every industry conceivable – creating a powerhouse without equal.
The ultimate integration could combine Tesla with rockets powered with solar power
Other green ventures may not be as exciting – or visible – but nonetheless show promise. Elon Musk’s SolarCity Corp (NASDAQ:SCTY) has the goal of placing solar panels on rooftops of homes worldwide. This is an industry where a technological breakthrough could shift the foundation of the world, if it were to occur. Who knows, one day Elon Musk might integrate solar panels into automobiles – assuming the technology is appropriately disruptive to accommodate such a radical notion. Who knows, Tesla might integrate rocket technology with innovative solar panels in the next innovation to rock the automotive world.
But the forty-two year old Elon Musk may have dreamed up his wildest adventure when it comes to SpaceX, the rocket and space exploration company he founded in 2002. His goal is to develop recyclable rockets and colonize Mars for human life. When potential future man-made disasters such as global warming or quantitatively driven financial crisis destroy the planet, Elon Musk will have the ultimate “bug-out” escape plan for those who can afford it.