Elon Musk is a genius who can be overly optimistic. These were just a couple of the things that Panasonic CEO Kazuhiro Tsuga recently said about Musk.
Tsuga described Musk as a genius who defies common sense. “I believe only geniuses can hold onto big visions and a genius I know is Elon Musk,” he said at an event for young entrepreneurs.
Tsuga spoke of Elon’s excessive optimism and noted that he can ignore what is inconvenient and run directly towards his vision. “Compared to that vision, most things don’t really matter. I can never imitate him,” he said, while agreeing that it is probably safe that everyone not do so.
Tesla & Panasonic’s Partnership
The partnership between Panasonic and Tesla has been in place for over a decade. It was Tsuga who made the $1.6 billion bet on the Nevada factory — something many would consider a bold, visionary move. Tesla broke ground on the Sparks Gigafactory in 2014 and is the largest producer of batteries when it comes to kWh compared to all carmakers combined. Just last month, Tesla and Panasonic renewed their partnership for three more years.
In 2014, when Panasonic and Tesla invested into the Sparks Gigafactory, it was estimated to cost a total of $5 billion. Panasonic led the battery cell production part of the manufacturing and, by 2018, the Gigafactory was producing 3.5 million “2170” cells daily.
While Panasonic announced earlier this year that it was quitting the solar cell manufacturing business in North America and leaving Tesla’s Gigafactory 2 building, it seemed as if Tesla and Panasonic might have been on the outs — especially since Tesla reportedly started developing its own batteries. However, with the renewal of this partnership and Tsuga’s personal opinion on Elon Musk, it’s clear that both companies are still partners and are committed to helping the world transition to cleaner and more sustainable energy.
Thinking Like Elon Musk
Elon Musk is well known for his approach to topics such as AI, sustainable energy, and space. These three industries are completely separate, yet linked together beautifully through his work. Driven by the desire to make the world a better place, it’s clear to see that working 8 hours a day and then going to club later that night isn’t how you’re going to change the world.
There are way easier places to work, but nobody ever changed the world on 40 hours a week
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 26, 2018
The general idea is that if you really want to change something, you need to put all of your focus into it. This is true with anything, whether it’s learning a new field (gemology) or reshaping the auto industry.
When Tsuga made the comment that it may not be safe for everyone to follow their vision like Elon does, I thought about the directness of Elon’s approach, especially through Twitter. Unlike many, Elon Musk doesn’t use pretty words to describe a problem — he tells it like it is and sometimes this can seem harsh to those who aren’t fully ready to receive any type of criticism.
If you look at Elon’s Twitter feed, and then look at the success of Tesla, you can clearly see that Elon Musk isn’t just the driving force behind Tesla and the success of his other companies, you can see some of his thought processes there. Look at how Tesla overcame its challenges in 2018 and compare that with situations in your own life. Sometimes, the craziest ideas are the ones that work. And sometimes, the ideas that don’t make any type of sense are the ones that are written about years later as a revolutionary idea.
Just 10 years ago, most people didn’t think EVs would become popular. They were this silly little joke that only the rich could play with because they have nothing better to do — I mean that was a general idea that many had even a few years ago, and this thought still permeates society today. I pointed out to my neighbors that the Amazon Prime delivery vehicle was an EV and they were in awe. I see the eSprinter vans everywhere (Port Allen is an Amazon hub).
Every time Tesla or Elon Musk are mentioned in the news, this pushes the idea of EVs into the minds of those listening — even if they are just partially listening. Tesla has been synonymous with high-end, high-tech cars since it started selling the Roadster, and it is the company many people think of when they think of EVs. I’ve had a few conversations with random people while shopping or going out, and many may not know who Elon Musk is, but they know about Tesla.
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