Photo: Europa Press
Tesla electric vehicles with autonomous driving systems are accelerants to sustainable energy, which is a fundamental value of the company. By betting on the development of electric vehicles with autonomous driving systems, Tesla ideally seized the chance to develop its startup into a company that will transform the automotive and energy sphere of the world.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk was recently interviewed by Tesla Owners Silicon Valley/YouTube at the stunning new factory, Giga Texas. Sitting in an office with a glass wall overlooking the workshops, they had a heart-to-heart talk. The head of the company talked about everything from what motivated him to create companies to questions about the universe. In the second part of the interview, among other things, Elon talked about the fundamental importance of what exactly Tesla does.
What qualitatively distinguishes Elon from many other CEOs is that he treats his companies like children, so he never spares anything for their development, neither money nor personal time. “The companies were like children to me, so I gave the companies all the money that I had, and then I would have had no money at all if Tesla and SpaceX had not survived. I would have owed a lot of money and been personally bankrupt if Tesla and SpaceX had not survived,” he said in an interview. Elon gave his best years to the development of his companies, completely sacrificing his personal time, and spending days and nights in production during Tesla's darkest times.
Of course, it is not Tesla that invented electric cars, but it was Tesla that made them go mainstream. This is due to Elon being a person who knows how to ask the right questions, which eventually led to Tesla cars being among the most desirable in the market, and a tiny start-up turned into a profitable company with a market capitalization that exceeds the combined market capitalization of the following seven automakers.
So what is Tesla's fundamental value? “Tesla’s fundamental value is to serve as an accelerant to sustainable energy,” said Elon. Without the company, today's world would be very different. We would continue to buy millions of gasoline cars a year, polluting the environment with exhaust gases, and sustainable energy sources would not be so attractive, as we would have nowhere to store energy. Certainly, the world was moving in the right direction, but moving at a snail's pace. It was Tesla that became the real accelerant to sustainable energy.
In addition to electromobility, Tesla cars have another important component due to which it has become successful—autonomy. “But I’d say in the absence of there being a fundamental technology discontinuity in the form of electrification and autonomy — both of them together — I think a new car company cannot succeed,” said Elon.
“You have to win on autonomy, you have to win on electrification, and you have to make a product so compelling that it is worth paying the premium relative to the incumbent competitors. This is a very big deal.”
Usually, the most important technologies appear when someone tries to solve the most difficult problems that have caused tragic stories. In the case of Tesla Autopilot, this also happened. Elon said that he was inspired to create the technology by a tragic story that cost a person's life.
“The thing that actually got me to get a move on with Autopilot — this anecdote illustrates several things by the way — I think this might have been 2014 or something like that. A Model S owner in the Bay Area fell asleep while driving his Model S and ran over a cyclist and killed the cyclist. Now, if there had been even basic lane following, that cyclist would still be alive.
“I was like, ‘man, if anything illustrates the importance of Autopilot, it’s this case here where that innocent cyclist would still be alive if that guy who had fallen asleep had had Autopilot or any kind of lane following — even basic following. The car would not have veered off the road and killed the cyclist.’
“I was like, ‘We’ve got to get a move on here. This is a real safety issue.' That’s part of what really encouraged me to, like, ‘We need to go make this happen as quickly as possible.’”
Of course, Tesla is a company that has an exceptional impact on the world. This is due to the fact that the manufacturer works in many different areas. Tesla is focused on creating a complete energy and transportation ecosystem from solar generation and energy storage to electric vehicles with autonomous driving that produces zero tailpipe emissions.
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