The electric car revolution

Why the world (and the electric car) need people like Elon Musk

Susana Fernández Cifuentes

Visionary. This is what all entrepreneurs want to be from a very young age. The problem is that the visionaries who actually have made history can fit into a taxi (or cabify). Not all of them have had the same fortune. And not all have been recognised.

Tell that to Nikola Tesla, who was removed from that taxi by visionaries more knowledgeable in economic matters than him (like Thomas Edison, inventor/patenter of the first light bulb, among other things). As a sort of poetic justice, Elon Musk, is a great fan of Tesla, and it may be Musk who winds up being kicked out of that club of visionaries if he continues to behave like that—like a fifteen year-old entrepreneur.

Elon Musk (founder of Tesla Motors after having triumphed with Paypal) doesn't have clients, he has believers. Any criticism of his persona on social media receives thousands of messages to the contrary to maintain intact his aura of a leader. Despite having been forced to leave the presidency of Tesla and pay a multi-million dollar fine for announcing on Twitter his intention to go public with the company, and bizarre personal and family life (the entire repository is online), Elon has done more for the electric car than (almost) anyone.

"I think Musk's main function, regardless of how he or Tesla Motors winds up, has been fulfilled. Before his appearance, the electric car market was a whim, something that nobody believed in, and only some models were periodically released, ugly as the devil, to entertain the staff (...). I think that even if he fails or falls victim to his contradictions, even if Tesla Motors is absorbed by a large company and reduced to a mere line of luxury cars, the fruit of Musk’s labour is here to stay, and it’s a game-changer". That’s according to Miguel A. Delgado, journalist, writer, spokesperson and curator of exhibits dedicated to Nikola Tesla at the Fundación Telefónica España.

“Even if Tesla Motors is absorbed by a large company and reduced to a mere line of luxury cars, the fruit of Musk’s labour is here to stay, and it’s a game-changer”

– Miguel A. Delgado, journalist and writer.

The homage to the great Nikola Tesla (odd like he himself, that history has depicted him as the good and ingenuous one versus an evil Edison...), at least the popular version of the story, is not coincidental. The Croatian genius had loads of knowledge and ideas...but he lacked the rational and economic side to make them into profitable products. That was the very speciality of Thomas Edison.

Promoting the electric car and Elon Musk

Elon seems to fall more on the side of the first type of genius, those who change the world. Electrically, in this case. "The world wouldn't advance without these people. Humans’ natural tendency is to settle where it is comfortable, where it is known. It is necessary for someone to go further beyond and open a new path. The pompous statements from so many heroes of science proclaiming that the apex of research has been reached are left behind. Currently, each new discovery opens countless possibilities to explore, almost exponentially. In the case of game-changing visions, this is multiplied", affirms Delgado.

The electric car needed Elon Musk in order to give it the momentum it currently has. With his "amazing" electric car, they went from being seen as something primitive, even uncomfortable, to being perceived as something "aspirational". In fact, it was preferred that the electric car was not called a car, because it was "something else".

“Currently, each new discovery opens countless possibilities to explore, almost exponentially. In the case of game-changing visions, this is multiplied”

– Miguel A. Delgado, journalist and writer.

Musk dared to take on race cars. They say that the excessive robotization of the Tesla Motors factory was one of the causes of the many delays in deliveries that the Model 3 have suffered. Elon set hundreds of robots to make his cars at a very considerable speed, but the still incipient technology in some of these tasks that the robots did "went crazy" (yes, it may not be very technical language, but it is perfectly understood). In processes like painting, they began to smear each other like a Hindu festival of colours, the famous “Holi” festivals that welcome in spring. Poetic... Progress is not linear. It is only linear on paper.

Serrat said so in his song: I like everything about you/ but not you. /Not you. The lyrics to Serrat’s song serve for many people we know. That is what many people (now) think about the founder of Tesla and practically rock star, Elon Musk. He has made many headlines in recent years, if he didn't exist, the press would have to invent him.

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