So, this last week, Elon Musk and his team at Tesla unveiled the first Model 3. Now, what stands out about the Model 3 of course is, this is the world’s first semi-autonomous vehicle that is mass market. It’s also maybe more importantly, an electric vehicle. This is really set to stir things up. So, is Elon Musk the next Steve Jobs? Or is he going to be a whole lot more? Of course, he has big ambitions in terms of changing the world’s reliance on fossil fuels and even ambitions to go to Mars.
So, who is this Elon Musk?
Well, born in 1971, moved to North America in 1989 and it wasn’t too long before he founder X.com that became PayPal, and ultimately solved for 1.5 billion dollars.
He’s got a history of doing fairly well. Since then, of course, he’s launched a number of other businesses and they’ve generally been incredibly successful.
So, let’s look at each of those. What are these companies?
SpaceX, a ground-breaking company, working out how to recycle rockets and they’ve been quite successful in doing so, recovering these used rockets that in the past, every space launched has needed new equipment other than the few exceptions such as the space shuttle. Well, SpaceX has changed that.
They’ve also got some ambitious plans going to the moon in 2018 with a flyby and then future plans for going to Mars.
What else? Well, there’s Neurolink which is a company that’s working on a brain-computer interface. Hooking up brains to technology and well, hopefully, this isn’t something that goes too far down the matrix track but very interesting all at the same to see what’s coming there.
And then there’s Solar City. Solar City has moved in and is now part of Tesla, a company that’s been very successful in building solar cells and of course, hooking these up to Tesla batteries in recent times.
So, Elon Musk is someone who is really going places, ground-breaking things in the past, and no doubt in his future. And then, of course, there’s the boring company.
No, I’m not talking about a company that’s dull and boring. I’m talking about a company that is drilling underneath cities. So, they’ve already started in Los Angeles to try to make a quicker route to the airport.
The next thing for the boring company is a hyperloop. A high-speed transportation system between New York and Washington DC.
So, their risks on getting on-board with Elon Musk’s visions? Well, sometimes he certainly sets deadlines that seem a little lofty and he doesn’t always manage to have his teams deliver on those deadlines.
But in general, he seems to be getting there and innovating, delivering some incredible technology, some really incredible results that are quite different from what others in the market are doing.
I think you can have a fair degree of confidence in many of the things that Elon is talking about. And certainly, when it comes to the new Tesla Model 3, I think there’s a lot to like here.
What are the standout things about Tesla’s Model 3? Well, for me, it’s that, it is a semi-autonomous vehicle that is going to be updated overtime to become fully autonomous for those that ordered that option.
Comes in it is starting price of US 35,000 dollars and it’s really been mentioned that there are some 500,000 initial orders or people who have puts deposits down now. Some, 60,000 of those cancelled those orders and it is going to take some time to deliver these initial vehicles.
There are people that, for instance, say, in countries like UK, Australasia, India, and so on where their right-hand drive vehicles aren’t going to be shipping until at least 2019.
So, a little bit of a delay there and a delay for other people ‘coz it’s going to take some time to ramp up the manufacturing, of course, the Model 3 isn’t an all-electric vehicle, 220, or 350-kilometer range on the base models are pretty capable.
Overall, I think this is an exciting vehicle. I think it’s going to spur on a change. This move away from traditional combustion engine vehicles to the more environmentally-friendly electric vehicles.
Certainly, more environmentally-friendly in some markets such as New Zealand, where most source of the electricity is generated from renewable means today.
The other thing that stands out for me is that all of Tesla’s vehicles get continuous software updates, so most car manufacturers will make a car and sell it and they’ll come up with some new software, some new changes, most of those innovations go into the next models. You have to sell, get rid of your older model to take advantage.
Tesla will take advantage of a different approach and they’re continuing to do software updates for older vehicles. So, very positive.
So, I think Elon Musk, look, he’s doing some great things for us and for the planet, very exciting things ahead. But let’s watch the space and let’s see just how well he does.
Thanks for joining me, I’m Paul Spain. You can follow my future updates at paulspain.com/updates.