Having tried to conquer earth with Tesla Motors and the stars with SpaceX, CEO Elon Musk now appears interested in the void in between — commercial aviation.
He says there is “an interesting opportunity” to make a radical change in aviation with an electrically powered vertical takeoff and landing supersonic aircraft. As much as he admires aerospace companies like Boeing and Airbus — he lauds the Boeing 747 as his favorite while dissing the new 787 — Musk questions whether the otherwise staid industry is passing up the opportunity for “radical” change.
His comments came on CNBC where host Andrew Ross Sorkin asked him whether he was interesting in commercial aviation, having apparently given a lot of thought to it. That’s when Musk raised the electric VTOL idea.
Just about anyone else would be dismissed as a dreamer or a crank when surfacing such a notion, but Musk is closely watched because he has already delivered on what many might have seen as the impossible. His space company is rocketing satellites into the cosmos and servicing the International Space Station. Tesla Motors expects to sell 20,000 electric sedans this year, putting it up against giants of the luxury car world like Mercedes-Benz and BMW.
Musk says he thinks that eventually, just about all transportation will be electrically powered except for rockets. He says he think planes will be among the last to get the technology, which has largely been limited to the ground largely because of the weight and limited capabilities of batteries. He recently also advanced the idea of what he called the “hyperloop,” a train that travels through a tube between cities at blazing speed.
Also in the interview, Musk said concerns about safety in the three reported fires on Tesla Model S sedans are overblown. He repeated his defense of the car’s safety.
Courtesy of USA Today