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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 @06:07PM (#41913147)
    If somebody compared me to that slimebag Rockefeller, I'd shoot them.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @06:17PM (#41913293)

      Ditto for Jobs

    • by Mitreya (579078) <mitreya&gmail,com> on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @06:18PM (#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 AHuxley (892839)
        The more you read about the classic US families- "influence on the world"/success is very personal - and the cash follows in to pet projects, people, ideas, private and tax free foundations that span generations.
        From "Competition is a sin!" to nets catching workers as they drop .... personal qualities are all you have.
      • Influence (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        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 bigredradio (631970) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @06:19PM (#41913315) Homepage Journal

      I guess if I had to pick the comparisons (Jobs Rockefeller, Hughes, or Stark)... I pick Stark.

      Hughes wouldn't be that bad if the guy didn't have that "saving my pee" habit.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @06:27PM (#41913405)

        I guess if I had to pick the comparisons (Jobs Rockefeller, Hughes, or Stark)... I pick Stark.

        So the first word used to describe your legacy would be "fictional", then?

        • It's sad how people confuse fantasy with reality, isn't it?

          I get tired of hearing people drool over how great guys like Jobs and Musk are supposed to be. The ones who make the world go around are the entrepreneurs who run the small businesses that comprise the bulk of the economy.

          • by amicusNYCL (1538833) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @09:51PM (#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.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Nerdfest (867930)

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

              • by Glock27 (446276)

                There is more than one side to the "iOS walled garden"...Android has had far more security issues than iOS. There are things I don't like about Apple's policies, but they do seem to be slowly getting better.

                As to "proprietary connectors"...really? Apple has driven adoption of many of its connectors (some built in collaboration with others) - USB, DisplayPort, Thunderbolt for instance. I wouldn't be surprised to see Lightning become a standard.

              • by tnk1 (899206)

                There is nothing wrong with an iOS Walled Garden, as long as there are other options out there which provide the ability to break out of the garden.

                Let's be honest, if the garden is well guarded, has a lot of apps, and is easy to use, it is plenty good enough for you if all you want to do is use your smartphone and use a few apps. That sort of concept is what pushes smartphones forward because you don't have to deal with any jagged edges while your general public becomes accustomed to your device and what

          • by greg1104 (461138) <gsmith@gregsmith.com> on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @10:10PM (#41915225) Homepage

            Small businesses no longer make up the majority of the economy [businessweek.com]. In boom times, they do very well. But during periods when expansion capital is hard to come by and sales are weak, they are much less competitive against larger companies who have significant cash/resources to fall back on. We've been in such a bad growth situation for small businesses for several years now, and there's no sign of it improving in the near future either.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      If someone compared me to that dick Jobs, I'd punch them in the face. And then in the nads.

    • by fm6 (162816) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @06:37PM (#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.

    • by westlake (615356) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @07:58PM (#41914317)

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

      The farmer bought the Standard product with the reasonable expectation that the oil lamp in his parlor would not explode when his wife when his wife put a match to the wick --- a very real possibility in the early wildcat days of the petroleum industry.

      He bought the Standard product because it was sold unadulterated in honest weights and measures.

      He bought the Standard product because it was cheap.

      The retail price of kerosene down 50% in less then ten years .

      When the Standard Oil trust was broken, customers remained loyal to the Standard's regional operating companies, each one very big, very strong and technically sophisticated competitors in their own right.

      • You're close. Standard Oil had a peak market share of over 80%. When it was broken up, it's market share was only 25%. This is because new entrants came into the market with very clever ways to save money and thus took their market share. There is no such thing as a monopoly, other than the ones that the government creates.
      • by gman003 (1693318)

        And Mussolini made the trains run on time. Doing a few good things doesn't mean he didn't do a whole lot more bad ones.

  • by Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @06:10PM (#41913187)

    I guess that's why Jobs came up with ipods.

  • Next Steve jobs? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by davydagger (2566757) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @06:13PM (#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"
    • don't for get the $200 oil change at there dealers.

      And they will use DRM lock downs and sue the jiffy lubes that have a workaround.

      • by fm6 (162816)

        Plus, he'll need to screw over all the people who worked with him, so that only he gets rich.

        • by greg1104 (461138)

          Speaking of screws, the one holding the car together will of course be non-standard and tamper resistant, so that if you get any work done at a non-official repair location you'll lose your warranty. You'll have to take them to the Tesla Virtuoso Station instead.

      • by mspohr (589790)

        Electric cars don't have oil to change.

        • by Firethorn (177587)

          Electric cars don't have oil to change.

          If you want to get really, really technical, there's going to be oil in the transmission gearbox, even if it's a single speed. $200 for changing that oil wouldn't be too bad, because it'd be like 500k mile maintenance.

    • by guruevi (827432)

      Who says that's not what he's going to do? After all Steve started out as a hacker, hippie giving/selling blue boxes (to make FREE phone calls) into using free and open source software to make and launch his set of companies.

      Sound familiar?

  • by taucross (1330311) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @06:14PM (#41913257)
    This Slashdot story sponsored by Kusm Nole Enterprises (TM)
  • Celebrity CEOs (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @06:16PM (#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 neminem (561346) <neminem AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @06:18PM (#41913303) Homepage

    send us to Mars, usher in a new era of world peace, and while he's at it, make us all sandwiches?

    How did this make it to the front page? It's not even a slashvertizement for a product; that might occasionally be useful. It's a slashvertizement for a person, that doesn't even have any useful information in it beyond "this person is awesome". It doesn't even make the slightest effort to argue the statement given in the title: I'd love to see an "era of electric cars" get ushered in.

  • by linatux (63153) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @06:19PM (#41913305)

    then sue the crap out of everyone who produces something with wheels?

  • Seriously?? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by lkcl (517947) <lkcl@lkcl.net> on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @06:29PM (#41913429) Homepage

    where's that slashdot article that came up a couple of days ago, about velomobiles being 80x more efficient than electric cars? 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? what that velomobiles article didn't also cover is that it's highly unlikely that the world has enough lithium and neodymium to go round to supply all those vehicles.

    i've *done* the analysis and the designs (http://lkcl.net/ev) and if EVs are to be the success that people really really WANT them to be, then they have to be ultra-efficient (350kg) ultra-streamlined (Cd 0.15) parallel diesel hybrids with a 5kW (7HP) diesel motor and a 10kW (13HP) electric motor running off of a CVT (quadbike) gearbox.

    perhaps this is some sort of spiritual test of my patience when people make these kinds of statements "elon musk will be the next steve jobs for recommending that the world's population use more of our planet's natural resources than its humans can actually get hold of", or am i missing something here?

    • by Twinbee (767046)
      I thought electric cars made gears obsolete, so reintroducing them would appear to be a step backwards, as one 'gear' supplies maximum torque surely?

      A hybrid is an okay compromise for now, but let's face it, gas guzzlers are ancient tech with too many parts to go wrong. Once the infrastructure is in place, everything will be electric. It's a bit like the comparison with SSD/HD hybrids and pure SSD drives. A compromise is okay for now, but we'll reach the future quicker by going for pure SSD.

      As for you
      • Well, if a CVT makes my electric car sound more like an old fashioned electric fan, and less like a dentist's drill, while I drive down the highway, I might give up a little efficiency.
    • Re:Seriously?? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by amicusNYCL (1538833) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @07:05PM (#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 GrahamCox (741991)
      i've *done* the analysis and the designs (http://lkcl.net/ev) and if EVs are to be the success that people really really WANT them to be, then they have to be ultra-efficient (350kg) ultra-streamlined (Cd 0.15) parallel diesel hybrids

      You mean a SERIES hybrid. Parallel hybrids (e.g. Prius) are a dead-end, overcomplicated and unnecessary.

      I largely agree with the discussion on the site you link. A personal 1-seater vehicle weighing under 500kg all-up with the sorts of power discussed there (15kW) is a ve
  • by Megahard (1053072) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @06:44PM (#41913571)
    The African Elon is an endangered species. Poachers are killing it for its valuable musk, used to power these electric vehicles.
  • in the shape of a Bronco that can do 500mk on a charge on 35" tires and can go off reading.

  • At least not in this sense: he stuck with things, not founding things to sell 'em to investors and move on. The first tech company Jobs founded was Apple, and that's the company he died leading.

    • by afgam28 (48611)

      Yes, exactly! Elon Musk seems like a really great guy and all, but he does have a tendency to move on to new things before finishing up with the previous thing. The same can't be said of Steve Jobs.

      PayPal was great but they really need to expand more outside of eBay. And also gain the trust of their users. You know you're doing it wrong when people say that you're less trustworthy than the banks!

      Telsa and SpaceX are awesome companies, but both have serious hurdles ahead. His achievements to date don't warra

  • You forgot: (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DerekLyons (302214)

    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.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Tesla depends heavily on government guarantees, not money. Much in the same way that the vast majority of Americans depended on government guarantees when they purchased their first home.

      As for SpaceX, do you seriously think Apple would exist today if it weren't for all the public schools which purchased their equipment?

      Admittedly, any business which makes it without some kind of public subsidy deserves accolades. But we don't live in some Ayn Rand, private, capitalist dystopia/utopia. The "public sector" i

    • Re:You forgot: (Score:5, Informative)

      by pavon (30274) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @09:26PM (#41914967)

      I won't speak for Tesla, but SpaceX does not depend on government money. The Falcon 1 was created entirely with private funding, which includes capital investments to build their entire vertically integrated production facilities (they don't contract anything), some launch facilities, and design, construction, and multiple test flights of an entirely new design of rocket. The Falcon 9 was mostly NASA funding, but it built heavily on the Falcon 1 design, and was thus less expensive to design and test than the Falcon 1 (even without including the huge facilities investments mentioned before). Furthermore, SpaceX already had financing to develop Falcon 9 when they won the NASA contract. The contract allowed them to divert that money into the Dragon Capsule instead, the majority of which is thus privately funded.

      So without government funding, they would be about where they are with Falcon 1/9, but just getting started with Dragon. Government money sped them up a bit, but they aren't even close to being dependent on that funding.

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

    by meta-monkey (321000) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @06:55PM (#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.

    • And not just another platform for mining your personal data to better push ads at you (google, Facebook),

      Don't be so quick with that.

      All Tesla cars come with cellular connectivity [teslamotors.com] and they definitely phone home. [engadget.com] i think that it would be naive to believe that Tesla is not looking to monetize as much of your driving information they can their hands on. I'd love to see proof otherwise, but I doubt it is out there given the way of the world nowadays.

    • by pnot (96038)

      I think the reactions are mainly against the OTT fawning tone of the article and summary, spilling over into attacks on the man himself. I mean, I've nothing against Musk, but when I read

      paradigm-shifting industry disruption... not just Steve Jobs but also John D. Rockefeller and Howard Hughes all wrapped in one... genius generalist with “huge steel balls”...

      my gut reaction is oh FUCK OFF. However, I direct that at the writer rather than Musk. Musk could be a Jobs-level asshat for all I know or care -- I'm never likely to meet him -- but I heartily approve of what he's doing.

      (aside to the writer: "all wrapped in one"? Wrapped in one what, cretin? Tarpaulin? XXL muumuu? Soft tac

  • by Konster (252488) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @07:18PM (#41913883)

    The tax payers saved Tesla from the brink of oblivion, not Musk. Nearly half a billion dollars, at that.

    Not to mention, the number of cars that Tesla has to sell in order to become profitable is a tall order for any company, not just one selling expensive boutique electrics to a very small niche.

  • by humanrev (2606607) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @07:21PM (#41913915)

    Unlike Jobs, Elon Musk seems like a nice guy. With any luck he can show how to be a pioneering leader in the technology sphere without having to be a dick at the same time.

  • Like Jobs, he saved his beloved baby Tesla Motors from the brink of oblivion.

    And unlike Steve Jobs, he first put it there himself, and only "saved" it by pissing in his investors' and customers' pockets and telling them it was raining.

    ...Which might be forgivable, if he had put himself as far out on a limb as he put them. He didn't; through the process of milking his investors (big and small), he managed to hold on to almost every penny of his personal multi-billion-dollar fortune. And frankly, even THAT could have been forgivable, had he not also leveraged the Department of Energy

  • What's impressive about Musk is that he's good at running manufacturing. Space-X designs and builds rockets and spacecraft in their own plants with their own employees. Same for Tesla. That's what impressed Automobile Magazine. The Tesla roadster was, in their opinion, just a Lotus Elise with an electric power plant. But the Tesla sedan is an all-new design and a well-executed one.

    Apple is a design house and a marketing operation. The manufacturing is done by low-wage workers at Hon Hai Precision Indust

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