Entries with tag tesla .

The way of the future. The way of the future. The way of the future. The way of the future.

Elon Musk at James Martin Lecture, Sheldonian Theatre, OxfordLike a modern day Howard Hughes, South African born Elon Musk is happy to take on incumbent interests in two industries and think he can win. Having made his fortune from PayPal - defeating the banking industry online - he is now operating along with Boeing as the sole US cargo provider to the Space Station with his project X space programme, and has a brand new Tesla electric vehicle on the market.

Speaking last night at a James Martin School event 'The Future of Energy' and Transport' at the Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford, he was introduced by Professor Ian Goldin - who provided the link as both went to the same high school in Pretoria. Also there were University Vice-Chancellors, the Astronomer Royal Martin Rees and Richard Dawkins. 

Surrounded by Oxford spendour and eminence the discussion looked to the stars more than the practical issues of transport. Perhap it wasn't the occasion for Elon to play the part of the car saleman, but the debate did seem to dream a little too far into the future for me. 

In running two companies his workload is distilled down to the least appealing bits, he said, but he must have quite a lot fun with all those toys to play with...


Elon Musk (born 28 June 1971) is a South Africa-born American entrepreneur and inventor best known for founding SpaceX, and co-founding Tesla Motors and PayPal(initially known as While at those companies, he oversaw the construction of the Tesla Roadster, a private rocket and spaceship successor to the Space Shuttle known as Falcon 9/Dragon, and the world's largest Internet payment system, PayPal. He is currently the CEO and Chief Designer of SpaceX, CEO and Product Architect of Tesla Motors and Chairman of SolarCity.

Bearing his personal number plates the only Tesal Model S currently in Europe was the celebrity draw on Broad Street, while inside the famous theatre, mostly to an audience of startstruck physics post-grads it looked like, the interest was his dreams of colonising Mars and rocket powered dreams.

Referring to his physics background, Elon said his approach to difficult issues is, when metaphorical answers don't suggest the answers - eg what have others tried - to go back to first pricinples - ie what are the essential elements. An example of this being reducing weight in his launch vehicles.

Before entering a market he will also "determine if success is one of the possibilities".

Upon graduating, his choice was a job in Wall Street or to carry on researching "super-capacitors" (where he thought a likely outcome after 6 years could well be failure). Instead he chose Silicon Valley; which led to starting PayPal - that's was in turn sold to Ebay. Today, it's the bit of Ebay that makes money.

His current Falcon rocket, is due to be superceeded by the Falcon Heavy to have 60% of the thrust of the Saturn V - of the Apollo project from the age of exploration to which Elon wishes to return. The design after that would be a fully re-usable rocket.

While only briefly talking about the Tesla project, Elon said he started with a sports car design since in selling at low volume any design would be at least $70,000. 

He hopes to sell future models at half the initial price.

As, in his words, Lithium Ion battery technology performance is improving at 8-9% per year he predicted that in future that all ground transport will be electric powered.

He even plans for an electric, supersonic, VTOL jet - which would require a battery energy density of 500kW/kg.

It's the way of the future.


If only Sci-fi fans had known that Robert Llewellyn, aka Kryten, was outside trying not to set off the car alarm of Elon's Tesla.

It was nice to meet Robert, as well as Faye Sunderland of the Greencar Website. Unfortunately, I think Nicky Gordon-Bloomfield's Nissan Leaf couldn't quite get her to Oxford.


Here's a quick video of Elon's Tesla pulling away....


Photo set of Elon Musk at the James Martin School event 'The Future of Energy' and Transport' at the Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford

The Future of Energy and Transport - talk by Elon Musk for Oxford Martin School

Elon Musk, the Founder of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, and Chairman of SolarCity, is to give a talk on his experiences at the forefront of technology and innovation The Sheldonian Theatre, Broad Street, Oxford, this Wednesday evening.

Titled 'The Future of Energy and Transport' he'll  talk about about technological transformations of the future and how these can help address the world's critical challenges.

Elon Musk is the CEO and Product Architect of Tesla Motors and the CEO/CTO of Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX).

At SpaceX, Elon is the chief designer, overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft for missions to Earth orbit and ultimately to other planets. SpaceX is the first commercial company to have successfully recovered a spacecraft from Earth orbit (in 2010) and to have docked with the International Space Station (in 2012).

In addition, Elon is the non-executive chairman and principal shareholder of SolarCity, the leading provider of solar power systems in the United States.

Prior to SpaceX, Elon co-founded PayPal, the world’s leading Internet payment system, and served as the company’s Chairman and CEO. 

Elon has a physics degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a business degree from Wharton.

Two electric vehicle related podcasts to subscribe to...

Here's a couple of transport related podcasts that I've recently subscribed to, both available in iTunes and other channels, that might be of general interest...


Fully Charged

Fully Charged, sponsored by British Gas, is a weekly video podcast from the creator of 'Carpool,' Robert Llewellyn - better known for playing Kryten in the science fiction comedy Red Dwarf. The show "takes a look at the realities of using electric vehicles, looking behind the myths, seeking the truth about electric cars".

In the 11 July episode Robert checks out two car sharing schemes in Berlin, Germany 

Drive Now, allows smartphone users to spontaneously hire its fleet of BMWs, incluidng Minis, from €0.29 per minute.

Car2go  offers the same rate per minute for spontaneous hire, or €12.90 per hour or €39.00 a day. 

Talking to Robert, Andreas Leo, Corp Communications Manager for Car2go, said the company operates in 11 cities, has 100,000 customers with a fleet of 1000 Smart fortwo mhd two seater car cars, as they are “the perfect urban mobility vehicle; easy to drive and park - and are efficient and fun to drive.”

“The first 30km are included. A fee charge per kilometre after that applies, but this is an urban concept; 97% of Car2go journeys are within the 20km range.”

Car2go plan to incorporate electric vehicles into their fleet next year and more the year after, and to launch in the UK market, in Birmingham, in the third quarter of 2012.

After trying these car share schemes Robert concluded “Maybe we don’t need to own cars, maybe we could just use them - with all the car clubs, the modern technology and Apps - you can find the nearest car, drive it and leave it. It’s brilliant. It’s much more energy efficient when you think that at any one moment 90% of cars not being used, which is kind of waste resource.”


Transport Evolved

Transport Evolved is a weekly show which focuses on the world of electric vehicles, hybrids and alternative fuels. This show is sponsored by and

Hosted by auto journalist Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield and a "weekly panel from the world of green fuels, we chat about the week’s news, from new vehicle announcements to real-world tests, insurance and consumer advice".

The latest show is Episode 112 for 27 July on “As Old As The Car You Drive” features Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield, Michael Thwaite and Mark Chatterley discussing news in the world of electric cars, including a test-drive of the 2012 Model S Sedan from Tesla, Nissan's response to battery life concerns, and the oldest Chevy Volt driver.

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