After listening to Elon Musk’s TED talk I couldn’t help but think how important it is that society looks at sustainability and how we can incorporate it into our every day lives. With Musk taking sustainability to heart he has been able to successfully develop companies whose future is limited much further than just the sky. Since selling PayPal to Ebay Musk has been able to redirect his attention into sustainability focused companies such as: Tesla an electric car company, Solar City a solar power company, and Space X a space exploration company.
As Musk talked through both his Tesla and Solar City projects it made me question not what the benefit of the companies were but whether wide spread use of the products would ever be attainable. To my surprise the more I thought about the feasibility of the companies the more sustainable and potential for wide spread use became. Thus far the largest concern with electric cars has been the driving range because if they can’t be driven long distances without a charge the car becomes a toy opposed to a mode of transport. However with Musk’s claim that the car should average 250 mile range on one charge eliminates this concern, as I cannot recall the last time I drove that far without stopping, maybe I just have a weak bladder. The next issue is the cost, many people would perhaps like to drive an electric car, but not everyone can afford a $70,000 car. Tesla however claims to be actively attempting to roll out a cheaper alternative.
Solar City on the other hand is already something that is widely accessible for the general public. By de-monopolizing the utility industry and having the option to rent solar panels the average person is able to help contribute to a more sustainable future while being more empowered than ever before.
What I thought to be the most interesting aspect of the TED talk was the discussion of Space X starting at 12:40. This goes beyond living in a sustainable world but to using sustainability as way to advance rocket technology in order for us to one day become a “space fairing civilization”. I think it will be a long time till everyday people use rockets as a mode of transport but it fits into Musk’s vision of sustainability due to his belief that rockets are one of the few things that will continue to need fuel.
Regardless of how you feel about whether electric cars, solar panels, and developing rocket technology is the future of a sustainable world Elon Musk is an extremely successful entrepreneur. As the moderator points out (18:50) Musk’s successes has been largely driven by his ability to package design, technology, and business together and be so confident that he is willing to put it all the line.