Lifetime of Achievement: Elon Musk

Elon Musk
Elon Musk is the man behind the world’s biggest EV company Tesla; an influential force in overall automotive electrification and decarbonisation

When speaking to anyone about electric vehicles (EVs), the name Elon Musk is rarely unsaid. The charismatic CEO of Tesla is a controversial figure — currently valued at US$242bn he is also the wealthiest person in the world.

Tesla — the world’s biggest EV company

Tesla is the most dominant company in the EV market, with around 20% market share of BEVs sold in 2023 globally. In his role as Co-Founder and CEO of the EV giant, Musk leads all product design, engineering and global manufacturing of the company’s vehicle range, battery products and solar energy solutions.

Musk founded Tesla in 2003 in a bid to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy. The company’s first wheels hit the ground in 2008 in the form of the Roadster, an electric sports car. The Model S sedan and Model X SUV followed, before the Model 3 launch offered 405 miles per charge, with the ‘Plaid’ version achieving acceleration from 0 to 60 mph in 2.3 seconds—an incredible increase compared to the average model’s 3.1 seconds.

The Cybertruck, one of the automotive industry’s most intriguing releases, is the brainchild of Musk. Launched in 2019, Tesla confounded the world of EVs with its newly developed exterior materials, its expressive shape, its impressive technology promises and unclear timeline. 

The company is also active in the energy storage space, offering home battery, commercial battery and utility-scale power options. In 2016, Tesla acquired SolarCity, the leading provider of solar power systems in the United States, which made the EV company the world’s first vertically-integrated sustainable energy company. In 2017, Tesla released its energy generation product, Solar Roof.

Musk’s contribution outside of the EV industry

Alongside his work in EVs, Musk is a pioneer in the wider technology spaces, working across many well known names including OpenAI, X (previously twitter), and PayPal. 

SpaceX was founded in 2002 by Musk — who remains CEO — to revolutionise space technology, developing rockets and spacecraft for missions to Earth orbit and ultimately to other planets. The company has made many headlines and broken many records, including in 2008 when the SpaceX Falcon 1 became the first privately developed liquid fuel rocket to reach orbit, and again in 2017 when SpaceX re-flew both a Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft.

In 2020, SpaceX became the first private company to send humans to the International Space Station (ISS) and into orbit, and in April 2023, the SpaceX Starship orbital test flight became the tallest, most powerful rocket to ever launch.

The global impact of extraordinary technology

“I think it is possible for ordinary people to choose to be extraordinary,” as Musk famously said in 2008. In the 15 years since, he has revolutionised electric transport, broken world records in space travel, become the wealthiest person in the world, and made more headlines in a week than most tech CEOs make in their careers. 

Regardless of what you think of Musk’s demeanour, there is no denying that the entrepreneur is making an impact on the present — and the future — of the technologies that shape not only the EV sector, but the entire technology space. 

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