Elon Musk is the chairman, CEO and product architect of Tesla Motors, where he oversees product development and design, including the creation of the sexy all-electric Tesla Roadster and Model S sedan. A true visionary, he is also CEO and CTO of Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), which develops rockets and spacecraft for missions to Earth orbit and beyond. And as if that weren’t enough to win any competition for the most interesting man in Los Angeles, Musk is also a leading force in providing solar power to the US through his role as chairman of SolarCity.
IRENA MEDAVOY: Can you tell me about the addition of the new four-door sedan to your already in-demand Tesla sports car?
ELON MUSK: The Model S is designed to compete in aesthetics with Aston Martin and Maserati, in engineering and functionality with Audi and BMW and yet still be better for the environment than the best hybrids, since they are 100 percent electric. The Model S will also have a breakthrough user interface with a 17-inch touch-screen computer that functions much like a giant iPhone.
IM: What makes your models stand out in the automobile industry?
EM: Our cars are the only ones that don’t sacrifice beauty and performance in order to be pro-environment.
IM: I have seen your amazing rockets, which are beyond impressive. When is your next launch?
EM: Our next launch is the maiden flight of the Falcon 9/Dragon, which is our large rocket. If this were an aircraft, it would be comparable to the Boeing 787 or Airbus A380. In fact, Falcon 9 has four times the maximum thrust of a Boeing 747. The Falcon 9/Dragon will replace NASA’s space shuttle after it’s retired next year.
IM: How did you get into the electric-car field?
EM: My interest in electric cars goes back 20 years to when I was studying physics in college. I have always thought electric cars are the right solution for sustainable transport. That is why I have also helped to create SolarCity, which is now the largest provider of solar power to homes and businesses in the United States.
Elon Musk’s LA Faves
OUTDOOR ACTIVITY: Kite-surfing
BAR: The Champagne Bar at Hotel Bel-Air
DATE SPOT: BOA Steakhouse, of which I am part owner
FROM ABOVE: Elon Musk; Tesla Roadster.
PHOTOGRAPH BY TYLER SHIELDS (MUSK)
Fashion shoot: December 2013 issue of Los Angeles Confidential magazine.