Elon Musk is changing the world, one invention at a time. His groundbreaking ideas and projects, ranging from space travel to saving the planet, make him one of the 21st century’s greatest minds.
The Tesla creator and founder is a key inspiration for our team, so much so that we actually have a “What Would Elon Do?” sign on the wall of our office! In this blog, we explore what makes the South African entrepreneur and engineer such an extraordinary individual.
Elon Musk Biography – A Short History
Born in Pretoria, South Africa, in 1971, Elon Musk is the son of a Canadian model and dietician (his mother) and a South African electromechanical engineer, pilot and sailor (his father).
Musk demonstrated his impressive capacity to learn as early as ten-years-old, when he mastered how to code and program computers. His knack for entrepreneurial gifts were also present from a young age, with Musk creating and selling his own video game, Blastar, to a magazine for $500 when he was 12.
Despite these outstanding achievements, Musk’s childhood was not easy. He was often singled out and bullied by other children; a common occurrence that escalated so badly that a group of his peers once threw him down the stairs and beat him unconscious.
“Kids gave Elon a very hard time,” his brother, Kimbal, told Business Insider. “If you’re getting bullied, you still have to go to school. He hated it so much.” Justine Musk, Elon’s first wife, also described him as a “really lonely kid”.
However, this did nothing to discourage the now-billionaire from taking the leap to further his education by moving to Canada and attending Queen’s University, defying his father’s insistence that he stay in Pretoria. Three years later, he left to study (and later graduate in) business and physics at the University of Pennsylvania.
Following his graduation, he joined Stanford University but bravely dropped out after just two days to launch his first company, Zip2 Corporation, alongside his brother. Zip2 arrived just at the start of the internet boom with the purpose of aiding businesses to get online.
Musk later sold his share in Zip2, using the millions raised to co-found a new company, X.com, in 1999 – which later merged and became PayPal.
Despite disagreements with other board members and being ousted as CEO in 2000, as the largest shareholder, he gained millions of dollars when eBay acquired PayPal in a $1.5 billion agreement, thus kick-starting the Musk revolution we are so familiar with today.
Elon Musk’s net worth now stands at a whopping $23 billion. But what has he been up to since the days of Zip2 and X.com? Explore some of our favourite Elon Musk inventions and projects to find out!
Our Top 5 Elon Musk Projects
Founded in 2002 with the mission to reignite public interest in space exploration while massively reducing costs, “SpaceX designs, manufactures and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft”.
Much like many of Elon Musk’s companies, SpaceX is revolutionising the industry in which it operates. Its ultimate goal is to enable people to live on planets other than Earth, and its incredible achievements so far include:
- Being the only private company capable of returning a spacecraft from low Earth orbit.
- Becoming the first company to deliver cargo to and from the International Space Station using a commercial spacecraft.
- The first ever reflight of an orbital class rocket.
- Blasting Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster into orbit towards Mars.
Elon Musk and SpaceX’s 6,000 employees are currently perfecting the reusable Falcon Heavy, the world’s most powerful operational rocket capable of carrying almost 64 metric tons into space. This comes after its successful test flight in February 2018.
“You want to wake up in the morning and think the future is going to be great,” the SpaceX website states. “That’s what being a spacefaring civilisation is all about. It’s about believing in the future and thinking that the future will be better than the past.”
Want to learn how we too are creating a future that’s better, as well as more sustainable, than the past? Check out our own myenergi mission!
- The Boring Company
Up until Elon Musk’s headline-enthusing appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, it could be argued that The Boring Company was known more for its name or whacky products (noteably “Not A Flamethrower”) than the great work it was doing.
The name actually derives from its main function: to bore tunnels, and as revealed by Elon Musk on Twitter, was created in 2016 as a result of being bored in traffic.
This particular venture builds tunnels and infrastructures to reduce congestion in busy cities. So far, it has construction contracts in Chicago, Los Angeles and California.
The Boring Company’s mission statement reads: “To solve the problem of soul-destroying traffic, roads must go 3D, which means either flying cars or tunnels. Unlike flying cars, tunnels are weatherproof, out of sight and won’t fall on your head.”
Some have deemed Hyperloop Musk’s most ambitious invention yet, which is a huge statement when you consider he operates in space travel and building 30-layer deep tunnels! Hyperloop is a proposed mode of transport Elon Musk believes will enable travel between Los Angeles and San Francisco – a 380-plus mile trip – in just 35 minutes.
How does he expect to achieve this? By designing a rail system in a tube, capable of travelling 800 miles per hour with reduced drag. At the moment, Hyperloop remains very much in the planning phase, although first unveilings have taken place.
As manufacturers of green, energy-saving products, SolarCity is an Elon Musk project we hold very close to our hearts. It has never been clearer that Elon shares our vision of – and our mission to help create – a more sustainable future than with SolarCity.
A subsidiary of Tesla, SolarCity is the second-largest provider of solar panels in the US. From its durable glass to its invisible solar cells, it is driving the huge push towards self-consuming energy, much like we are doing here at myenergi.
You didn’t think we’d celebrate the very best of Elon Musk without mentioning Tesla, did you?
Alongside original Tesla founders Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning, Elon Musk has had a hugely positive impact on the auto industry. He has been accelerating towards a more sustainable future by offering exciting, attractive new additions to what was once the small, unvaried and largely undeveloped Electric and Hybrid Vehicle market.
Tesla Motors began with the Roadster and has continued with the Model X, Model S and soon-to-arrive Model 3. Each model has increased the pressure on competitors to develop their own electric and hybrid vehicles, shining more light on the growing potential of petrol and diesel alternatives.
Tesla has well and truly shifted the narrative when it comes to cleaner energy on the roads, producing vehicles capable of travelling up to 315 miles on a single charge and achieving 0-60 mph in just 2.9 seconds.
Continuing the Drive Towards A Sustainable Future
Elon Musk has not just changed the game, he has created a new one entirely, opening the world up to new ways of thinking in terms of sustainability, efficiency and a greener future.
We cannot wait to see what the future holds for the cleaner energy industry, and are very proud to be one of the driving forces behind saving our planet. We are always inspired and motivated to continue innovating and offer the very best energy (and money) saving products for your home.