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Elon Musk Will Usher In the Era of Electric Cars 336

Posted by Soulskill
from the fine-but-can-we-at-least-do-it-on-mars dept.
pigrabbitbear writes "There's a reason why Elon Musk is being called the next Steve Jobs. Like Jobs, he's a visionary, a super successful serial entrepreneur, having made his initial fortune with a company he sold to Compaq before starting Paypal. Like Jobs, he saved his beloved baby Tesla Motors from the brink of oblivion. Like Jobs, [he has] a knack for paradigm-shifting industry disruption. Which means he's also demanding. 'Like Jobs, Elon does not tolerate C or D players,' SpaceX board member and early Tesla investor Steve Jurvetson told BusinessWeek. But while Jobs was slinging multi-colored music players and touchable smartphones, Musk is building rocket ships and electric-powered supercars. It's why his friends describe him as not just Steve Jobs but also John D. Rockefeller and Howard Hughes all wrapped in one. His friend Jon Favreau used Musk as the real-life inspiration for the big screen version of Tony Stark. Elon Musk is a badass."
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Elon Musk Will Usher In the Era of Electric Cars

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  • by Type44Q (1233630) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @07:07PM (#41913147)
    If somebody compared me to that slimebag Rockefeller, I'd shoot them.
  • Next Steve jobs? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by davydagger (2566757) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @07:13PM (#41913237)
    So he's going to design really crappy electric cars for 10 years which will sell well with artists who are big on brand loyality and tollerate being abused.

    Next he's going to download various open source hardware car parts off the internet, put some faux wood and faux leather interior, and sell it to suave hipsters who he can ply on their on white/yuppie guilt to sell trendy fads and make them feel better about themselves, and then ignore any and all complaints for the next 10 years, esentiallly selling what should have been a $10k smart car for $20k.

    He'll then dictate what speakers, intake and exhaust you put on it, sue chevy for patent infringements on the volt, and get his crowd of loyal followers to cover up his mistakes.

    Then we'll start talking about how much of an innovater he was, but the people who did most of the real innovation will die quiet deaths, unnoticed by the technology he made popular.

    Or mabey we should stop using the term "The Next Steve Jobs" out of the context of meaning "the next George Pullman"
  • Celebrity CEOs (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @07:16PM (#41913273)

    So he's just another celebrity businessman who treats his employees like shit while taking the credit for designs he didn't come up with himself? You'll be comparing him to Thomas Edison next.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @07:17PM (#41913293)

    Ditto for Jobs

  • by Mitreya (579078) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <ayertim>> on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @07:18PM (#41913297)

    If somebody compared me to that slimebag Rockefeller, I'd shoot them.

    You do realize that the comparison refers to things like "influence on the world"/success and not on personal qualities?
    From what I understand, Steve Jobs was also not the nicest person you ever met - but that's not really relevant, unless Elon Musk's personality is being compared.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @07:26PM (#41913389)

    Look, the whole concept of cars is very OLD HAT, regardless of whether they're powered by gas or whether they're powered by electricity. Furthermore, they're the wrong solution to the real problem.

    The real solution is to build a proper high-speed rail network throughout North America. We aren't talking about mere 300 km/h trains like are commonly found in Europe. We need to be talking about trains going just under the speed of sound. 1200 km/h trains, if you will. A solid network connecting the major cities of America would render many cars useless.

    Then it is possible to address the next problems: suburban sprawl. Cities should be highly centralized, and built upwards. It is absolutely stupid to build suburbs. Those who want to live in a rural area should be doing so because they farm. Those who aren't farming should be living in dense cities, where public transit can be effectively used. Once that is achieved, cars will not be necessary for the vast majority of people.

    If Mr. Musk were thinking big, NEW HAT things like this, then he'd truly be a visionary. But all we get is him thinking OLD HAT ideas about cars and rockets. We need NEW HAT ideas, not OLD HAT ideas.

  • by rjstanford (69735) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @07:29PM (#41913425) Homepage Journal

    Ever seen a modern locomotive? Scaling power in an electric car is far, far easier than scaling it in a fossil-fuel equiv. vehicle.

  • by fm6 (162816) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @07:37PM (#41913511) Homepage Journal

    If somebody compared me to an egomaniacal, ethics-free, self-righteous jerk whose only real talent was as a pitchman, I'd be really offended. "Visionary" my ass.

  • You forgot: (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DerekLyons (302214) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (retawriaf)> on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @07:55PM (#41913681) Homepage

    They forgot one of the key things - both Tesla and SpaceX depend heavily on government money. He's got more in common with William Boeing than Steve Jobs.

  • Be ashamed, /.ers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by meta-monkey (321000) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @07:55PM (#41913685) Journal
    Reading through the comments on this story makes me sad. 90% of the posts are casting aspersions at Musk, or at the editors for publishing a positive story about a guy trying to build great things. Is he perfect? Of course not, but at least he's out there trying to do Great Things. And not just another platform for mining your personal data to better push ads at you (google, Facebook), but striving for actual advancements for humanity, like electric cars to maybe help save the planet, and then rocket ships to get off of it. Is every idea perfect or without drawbacks? Of course not. But good luck waiting for a perfect solution to replacing the internal combustion engine.

    I'm reminded of my favorite Teddy Roosevelt quote:

    "It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."

    Can your cynicism. If you don't like the way Musk is building electric cars or space ships, get off your couch and go build your own goddamn spaceship. Oh wait, that would require drive, vision, and effort, and making snide comments on the internet (like I'm doing) is much easier.

  • Re:Seriously?? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by amicusNYCL (1538833) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @08:05PM (#41913779)

    didn't it have some quite obvious maths that showed that if all cars in the USA were converted to electric, it would require 7,000 GWh of electricity just to charge them every day?

    I don't think anyone is suggesting that we immediately replace all gas-powered cars with electric cars overnight using our existing infrastructure and power grid. It's going to take a long time, and our energy sector is going to come with it. More solar energy is absorbed by the earth every hour than humans use in a year. It's completely feasible to have an all-solar energy grid that powers everything we need it to and then some, it will just take a lot of time and significant investment to get anywhere near that point. It's just the case right now that we have an infrastructure built on supporting gas-powered vehicles. That is what needs to change. It's also safe to say that we haven't found every source of natural resources [ceramics.org] that this planet has to offer, and we haven't even begun to look outside of our planet for additional resources. Not to mention manufacturing our own from available materials.

    In short, not only is it possible, but Elon Musk is right for doing his part to help push people in that direction. His direction isn't the only feasible one though, so feel free to compete with him.

  • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @09:31PM (#41914579) Journal

    Do they have to be compared to others?

    I mean, Elon Musk is Elon Musk, whatever Elon Musk does, or doesn't do, is his business - as long as it does not interfere with the life of others.

    Comparing Elon Musk to Jobs or Rockefeller or Hughes is just silly - and in fact, TFA is a totally meaningless article.

    I know Slashdot has fallen, but even I, a long time visitor, hadn't realized that Slashdot has fallen into such a deeeeep abyss that it had to carry useless article that does nothing but sing hosannas and heap praises to Mr. Elon Musk.
     

  • Influence (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @10:13PM (#41914897)

    things like "influence on the world"

    Has it occurred to you that some people may not want to have influenced the world in the way Jobs did - I for one, would not like to be the individual responsible for the age of closed platforms and walled gardens we seem to be heading to.

    Regardless, surely Henry Ford would be a better comparison, at least for the "influence on the world".

  • by amicusNYCL (1538833) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @10:51PM (#41915117)

    The ones who make the world go around are the entrepreneurs who run the small businesses that comprise the bulk of the economy.

    That's true, those people do make the world go around. But people like Jobs, Musk, Gates, etc are the people who make the world move forward.

  • by prisoner-of-enigma (535770) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @11:00PM (#41915187) Homepage

    The real solution is to build a proper high-speed rail network throughout North America. We aren't talking about mere 300 km/h trains like are commonly found in Europe. We need to be talking about trains going just under the speed of sound. 1200 km/h trains, if you will. A solid network connecting the major cities of America would render many cars useless.

    And this is a real solution to the wrong problem. Most cars aren't used to get from city to city; they're used to get from home to work. So you'd be constructing an ultra-expensive rail system to transport...well, practically nobody. We have something similar to that now. It's called Amtrak, and ridership is so pathetic it can only survive with hefty government subsidies fleeced from overburdened taxpayers. But I hear it makes a nice jobs program with great benefits.

    Then it is possible to address the next problems: suburban sprawl. Cities should be highly centralized, and built upwards. It is absolutely stupid to build suburbs. Those who want to live in a rural area should be doing so because they farm. Those who aren't farming should be living in dense cities, where public transit can be effectively used. Once that is achieved, cars will not be necessary for the vast majority of people.

    So, at a stroke, you simply think people shouldn't be allowed to live outside a city unless they are farming. Heaven forbid that they might just not want to live cheek-by-jowl with seething masses of humanity in studio apartments. What a pity we have these things called "liberty" and "choice" which allow us to live where we choose regardless of whether it meets your authoritarian approval or not. Wouldn't the world just be a much nicer place if people would just do as they're told instead of, you know, exercising free will and stuff?

  • by Nerdfest (867930) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @11:29PM (#41915321)

    With the iOS walled garden, proprietary connectors, etc, Jobs did at least as much to more the world backward.

  • by Dzimas (547818) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @02:24AM (#41915993)
    No. It looks like a wasteland of Walmart parking lots and awfully designed suburban tract housing. We should fix that.
  • by tehcyder (746570) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @10:09AM (#41917875) Journal

    The ones who make the world go around are the entrepreneurs who run the small businesses that comprise the bulk of the economy.

    That's true, those people do make the world go around. But people like Jobs, Musk, Gates, etc are the people who make the world move forward.

    Wow, you've certainly swallowed the capitalist kool aid good and proper.

    If Jobs was that much of a fucking genius he'd have single-handedly invented the iPhone and mobile internet in the 1960s wouldn't he? What's that? He had to depend on incremental progress in many fields by countless different people, organisations and companies? Oh no, that doesn't fit with the "solitary genius writing history" storyline that the rest of us abandoned in the Nineteenthy Century.

  • by tnk1 (899206) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @12:21PM (#41919365)

    Have no fear. History will moderate the story of Steve Jobs out. He was an interesting person who, in many ways, did promote the way our world works. Eventually, even the people who think he invented the wheel, will understand that he wasn't so much an inventor as a promoter and an integrator of other people's work.

    However, I think that if we underestimate the value of promoters and integrators, we miss the big picture of why some things become big, despite being flawed, and other things that are less flawed toil in obscurity. If you are an engineering type who believes that your device or app or whatever will change the world, you might be right about its potential, but you'd probably be wrong if you thought that the device could speak for itself. Every advance needs to overcome some sort of initial obstacle that can be described as simple inertia. Cars are faster than horses, but everyone had horses and the world was built around thousands of years of horse riding. If you think it was enough to simply build a car for it to be adopted, I'd say that you'd probably have waited much longer without a Henry Ford.

    People like Jobs and Edison deserve accolades, even if they didn't truly invent things. They just need to not receive more credit than they deserve, and I think that does moderate over time as historians go over the facts and present them.

"But this one goes to eleven." -- Nigel Tufnel

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