Published on September 7th, 2018 | by Zachary Shahan0
Elon Musk On Joe Rogan: “Love is the answer.”
September 7th, 2018 by Zachary Shahan
A Tesla Is Not Really A Car, It’s Actually A Thing To Maximize Enjoyment
After talking about artificial intelligence, samurai swords, old cars, and other tidbits with Joe Rogan tonight, Tesla CEO, Chairman, & Chief Humor Officer Elon Musk got to talking about Tesla. My favorite statement from the interview was where Elon emphasized that Tesla vehicles aren’t really cars — “a Tesla is a thing to maximize enjoyment.” It reminded me of a story I wrote a few days after Christmas, “Tesla’s New Christmas Easter Egg → More Than A Gimmick.” I have to recommend reading that piece.
Related to that, Elon noted again that the next-gen Tesla Roadster will have rocket thrusters using compressed air that could make it fly a bit — but not really. He briefly noted some of the non-fun factors explaining why we just won’t have actual flying cars.
He also explained why floating vehicles transported by magnetic fields don’t make sense — basically warning a few times that magnetic roads would cause a ton of problems, would “not be wise.” But we won’t go there in this article. What’s the point? What he did indicate was that if you want to fly from place to place in a small vehicle, just use a helicopter.
That said, he did mention a design he had in mind for an electric vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) supersonic jet. The key bottleneck is still the energy density of battery packs, something he and Tesla CEO JB Straubel have mentioned in the past. He was clear that he has too much on his plate for a project like that right now, though.
He also was clearly excited about using tunnels to move people around more efficiently, noting that tunnels could go 100 levels deep and are basically 3D whereas roads are 2D. It’s funny how much he lights up when he talks about tunnels and The Boring Company.
One other fun topic that Elon wouldn’t admit but seemed to admit with his eyes and smiles is that Tesla was working on a smart air conditioning product that could connect to your car and turn on when you’re approaching home. That would be convenient and fun, but it could also save a ton of money.
Elon Musk also mentioned on “The Joe Rogan Experience” tonight that Tesla’s on the verge of turning on Autopilot functionality that will basically allow a Tesla car to drive itself — go from Point A to Point B with essentially no human input. This was supposed to be demonstrated on a coast-to-coast trip by the end of 2017, but “production hell” clearly delayed a few things, and getting the Autopilot tech to a stage genuinely ready for such a trip might have run into some hurdles as well.
Elon also noted one key anecdote that pushed him to bring Autopilot to market quickly in the first place. An early Tesla driver apparently fell asleep in his car and killed a bicyclist. Elon realized that if they had Autopilot in the vehicle, that could have been prevented. That’s the first time I’ve seen it mentioned that there was a specific incident (death) that pushed Elon to push his team to implement its Autopilot software suite so quickly, a matter that was quite controversial for a while (if it isn’t still controversial).
Getting to a practical matter, Elon also noted that the Model S, Model X, and Model 3 have the lowest probability of injury of any cars ever tested. (For more on this critical topic, see our report The EV Safety Advantage.)
Over the course of the entire interview, though, two things stood out as major concerns to Elon Musk. One was AI, but it seemed the bigger one was catastrophic climate change, which Elon came back to a few times and was very serious about. And that brings us back to what is probably the core reason behind Tesla’s existence, behind Tesla’s obsession with ramping up production quickly, and behind Elon being so emotionally invested in Tesla’s success. It seems this is commonly lost on many progressives who also count climate change as their #1 concern, ironically. However, on the other hand, many of Tesla’s most hardcore fans and supporters sport such dramatic brand loyalty specifically because they (we) see Tesla as being one essential building block to stopping runaway global warming.
If you want to watch or listen to the full chat, it’s here:
The best line of the interview, though, is a timeless message: Love is the answer.
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