Elon Musk talks electric supersonic airplane ambitions

Nov 12, 2013
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Elon Musk talks electric supersonic airplane ambitions

Elon Musk of Tesla and SpaceX fame is known for his ideas and ambitions and the successes that have largely resulted from both. Blending the two companies' focus into another idea, Musk spoke last year of an electric supersonic aircraft that could take off and land vertically, something that is no small goal. Fast forward a year, and Musk has talked about this again, this time at the DealBook's Opportunities for Tomorrow conference.

The talk covered a variety of topics spanning from the recent Model S fires to business in general, and eventually touched on the topic of the aircraft industry. Musk went into detail about his views of certain airliners, and when asked if he wants to make airplanes, too, Musk mused over the question for a little while before going into talk about his electric supersonic aircraft ambitions, saying that they present an "interesting opportunity."

He was then asked how it might look for such an aircraft to come about and how far away such a reality is, to which he responded: "It could come from a startup. If I were to have another company in the future, which it would not be any time soon, I think that would be a thing to do, to do an electric aircraft. Supersonic and vertical takeoff landing actually work well with electric."

Not surprisingly, the question of flying cars were then posed, with The Jetsons being used as an example. Are flying cars something he has in mind, Musk was asked. His response was fairly pragmatic and neutral: "I kind of like the idea of flying cars on one hand, but it might not be what people want ... if you have a huge number of cars and you have mechanical issues, you might be wondering if a car is going to land on your head."

At the end of the day, an electric supersonic jet isn't in our near future, and Musk doesn't have any plans on digging into the project any time soon. Still, the idea is something he hasn't passed on, and we could see it come to fruition at some point.

SOURCE: New York Times


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