Tesla may not be a direct competitor of Hennessey, Koenigsegg, Rimac or GMA, yet there are some similarities. They all started small (not too long ago) and have heard often enough that they were not going to make it. The question we put to the big bosses of these brands is: Elon Musk, what do you think of the man? Is it good or bad for the auto industry?
Christian von Koenigsegg
The man is in many ways out of this world. What he managed to achieve… If you wrote it down as a novel, no one would believe it. If there’s been anyone who’s proven that you can do anything, and several things at the same time, it’s Elon, right?
Sure, he’s quite a character, but what he’s done with the auto industry – he’s turned it upside down. A few years ago, really not that long ago, everyone said that the electric car was never going to be. Now it’s the only thing, and without Elon and Tesla it never would have happened. I think it’s good for the planet and for the car industry. And it’s also kind of cool that we could go to Mars one day.
I’ve met him a few times, we had a meeting a few years ago about a potential collaboration and the guy is extremely driven… He’s probably the most driven person I’ve ever met and that’s saying something because I can go off and occasionally being rigid.
The bravest thing for me was that in those days there were no start-ups that envisioned large-scale car production, and then also being a start-up with a completely new powertrain. I mean, you have to admire that.
I’ve also met Elon a few times and without him we wouldn’t be here. I followed him from the very beginning, when Tesla shares were at $20 for a long time. He gets a lot of criticism, says he’s just an investor and other people do the real thing, but the one thing about Tesla that’s really different from everything else is Elon: the way he runs things, the visionary in its character, and then the performance.
He really has a big plan for this planet, an even bigger plan to make everything multiplanetary, but he can also hammer down petty-seeming details like few others do. Five or six years ago Tesla was laughed at – the gaps between body panels were huge, the cars were no good…
The cracks are still huge.
Yeah, but now everyone’s in hot pursuit. He’s human, he makes mistakes. He may have announced things that didn’t happen, or that came too late, and he may have been premature when it came to self-driving cars, but he has accomplished many things and completely changed the automotive world.
The more that goes wrong, the bigger it gets. I admire his courage and am proud that he is now a fellow Texan – he lives just down the road from Austin. Whether it’s Tesla, SpaceX, or now Twitter, I love that he’s a libertarian free-speech type. Sure, he’s a human being, he’s wrong sometimes, like all of us sometimes. And if he fails, it’s in plain sight.
But just be aware of the value, the jobs and the technology he has created. As an entrepreneur I have a huge admiration for this guy. He’s the king of doubling down, going twice as hard when things get risky. You literally have to put him in a hole in the ground to stop him if he has something on his mind.
And he’s worth billions and billions, hundreds of billions. And so it is admirable that, while he could do anything he wants, he still devotes his life to pushing the world forward, working day and night for it.
TG: I think this is a great time to introduce our special guest: Elon Musk! Not yet, sorry. He had to wash his hair today and couldn’t be there.