Tesla founder Elon Musk said that he got into the electric car business after it became clear that no one else was going to build an electric car. In a keynote discussion at the D11 Conference, Musk admitted that getting into the electric car business is probably “one of the stupidest things you could do,” or it might even be crazy.
“For many years, almost all people regarded it as either stupid or insane or both,” Musk said. “The reason for me to do it is not because I saw a huge market opportunity. It was clear that we were not going to see electric cars from major car manufacturers.”
Musk, who is also founder of SpaceX and Solar City, said that the company was necessary because the industry would need to build a sustainable mode of transport. That said, he felt that he was mostly alone in his plans to create an electric car at scale that other people would actually want to buy.
“The industry was operating under two false premises,” Musk said. “One, that you could not create a compelling electric car. And two, that no one would buy it.”
Now, Tesla has electric vehicles on the road and is trying to bring the price of the cars down. He expects that in three to four years, he’ll be able to create a car that is around $30,000 to $40,000. That’ll come as a result of a reduced size, as well as optimization in the design process and reaching economies of scale.
But he wants more companies to get into electric cars, and to try to make it seem like more of a mainstream item for consumers. “Now that we’ve become profitable, we expect that other manufacturers will get into the electric car market,” Musk said.