WSJ. Magazine, a glossy supplement to the Wall Street Journal, recently held its inaugural Innovator of the Year Awards, designed to honor “the most creative, disruptive, and influential individuals in the world today.” The winner in the technology division? None other than Elon Musk, CEO and co-founder of Tesla Motors.
Tesla, of course, is Musk’s most visible venture. The ground breaking, high-end electric car manufacturer seems poised at the bleeding edge of what could be the coming electric car tidal wave. Tesla’s first model, the Roadster, raised eyebrows as much for its price (around a cool $100,000) as it did for its stylishly, muscular good looks and its no-hold-barred on-road performance (the sports car can hit 125 MPH, goes from zero to 60 MPH in an eye-watering 3.7 seconds and can run almost 250 miles on a charge.)
Tesla’s second model, the Model S, is a more sedate luxury sedan. The Model S begins at around $50,000 (after a federal tax rebate) and features touches like an innovative panoramic roof, touchscreen controls, wi-fi and mobile connectivity, Bluetooth and four (yes four!) USB ports.
Of course Musk, the 40-year-old, native South African, is known for a few other ventures besides his innovative electric car company. Ever hear of PayPal? Musk was cofounder. Zip2? Also Musk. In December of 2010, his company, SpaceX, built and launched the Dragon, which successfully orbited Earth. Musk now has more than 30 contracts for space launches, including agreements worth around $1.6 billion from NASA.
And then there’s SolarCity, where he serves as chairman. SolarCity provides solar energy system design, installs large-scale solar systems, builds charging stations for electric vehicles and leases solar systems to homeowners. Oh, and in his spare time (Musk is reported to work 100 hours per week) he sits on the board of directors of Halcyon Molecular, whose mission is to cure diseases, extend lifespan and enhance the quality of life.
In a profile, Musk told WSJ, “Tesla and SolarCity are about trying to solve the world’s most important terrestrial problems which is sustainable energy, and SpaceX is solving the problem of the millennium, which is making life multiplanetary.”