Elon Reeve Musk was born on June 28 1971 in South Africa, Pretoria, Transvaal, South, he is the son of Maye (née Haldeman), a model from Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada and Errol Musk, a South African-born electromechanical engineer. He also has a younger brother, Kimbal born in 1972, and a younger sister, Tosca born in 1974. His paternal grandmother was British, and he also has Pennsylvania Dutch ancestry. After his parents divorced in 1980, Elon Musk lived mostly with his father in South Africa. He is a Canadian American Business Entrepreneur, he is an engineer, inventor and investor. He is the founder, CEO and CTO of SpaceX, and a co-founder, CEO and product architect of Tesla Motors; further companies include Solar City, co-chairman of Open AI, co-founder of Zip 2, and the co-founder of PayPal a payment system that is widely used around the globe. As of March 2016, his estimated net worth of US$13.5 billion, making him the 75th wealthiest person in the US.
Elon Musk claims that Solar City, Tesla Motors, and SpaceX revolve around his vision to change the world and humanity. His goals include reducing global warming through sustainable energy production and consumption, and reducing the “risk of human extinction” by “making life multi-planetary” by setting up a human colony on Mars.
He has envisioned a high-speed transportation system known as the Hyperloop, and has proposed a VTOL supersonic jet aircraft with electric fan propulsion, known as the Musk electric jet. (something like Nikola Tesla innovated).
At the age of 10, he developed an interest in computing with the Commodore VIC-20. He taught himself computer programming, at the age of 12 years he sold the code for a BASIC-based video game he created called Blastar to a magazine called PC and Office Technology for approximately US$500. This game is available online as a web version.
Musk was severely bullied throughout his childhood, and was once hospitalized when a group of boys threw him down a flight of stairs and then beat him until he blacked out.
Elon Musk was initially educated at private schools, attending the English speaking Waterkloof House Preparatory School. Elon Musk later graduated from Pretoria Boys High School and moved to Canada in June 1989, just before his 18th birthday, after attaining Canadian citizenship through his Canadian born mother.
At the age of 19, Musk was enrolled into Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, for undergraduate study. In 1992, after spending two years at Queen’s University, Elon Musk transferred to the University of Pennsylvania, where, at the age of 24, he received a Bachelor of Science degree in physics at Penn’s College of Arts and Sciences, and a Bachelor of Science degree in economics at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Elon Musk stayed on a year to finish his second bachelor’s degree. While at the University of Pennsylvania, Elon Musk and fellow Penn student Adeo Ressi rented a 10 bedroom community house, to use it as a nightclub. Elon Musk moved to California when he was 24 years of age to begin a PhD in applied physics at Stanford University, but left the program after two days to pursue his entrepreneurial ambitions in the Internet world, renewable energy and outer space. Going onto 2002, Elon Musk became a U.S. citizen.
Zip2 By Elon Musk
In 1995, Elon Musk and his brother Kimbal Musk, started a web software company with his father’s (Eroll Musk) support of $28,000 and called it Zip2. The company developed and marketed, Internet “city guide” for the newspaper publishing industry. Elon Musk attained contracts with The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune and persuaded the board of directors to abandon plans for a merger with CitySearch (Citysearch is an online city guide that provides information about businesses in the categories of dining, entertainment, retail, travel, and professional services in cities throughout the United States). While at Zip2, Elon Musk wanted to become CEO, but none of the board members would allow it. Compaq acquired Zip2 for a whopping $307 million in cash and $34 million in stock options in February 1999. Elon Musk received 7% which was about $22 million from the sale which was believed split with his brother Kimbal Musk or other Expenditures, he was already making name for himself.
X.com and PayPal
In March 1999, Elon Musk co-founded X.com, this is an online financial services and e-mail payment company, with $10 million from the sale of Zip2. A year later in 2000, the company merged with Confinity, which had a money transfer service called PayPal. The merged company focused on the PayPal service and was renamed PayPal in 2001. PayPal’s growth was mainly by viral marketing campaign where new customers were recruited when they received money through the service. Elon Musk was later expelled from his role as CEO due to disagreements with other company leadership, this was due to his desire to move PayPal’s Unix-based infrastructure to Microsoft Windows. In October 2002, PayPal was acquired by eBay for $1.5 billion in stock, of which Elon Musk received $165 million.
In 2001, Elon Musk thought of “Mars Oasis” a project to land a small experimental greenhouse on Mars, containing food crops growing on Martian Regolith (a layer of unconsolidated solid material covering the bedrock of a planet), in an attempt to regain public interest in space exploration. In the same year Elon Musk travelled to Moscow with Jim Cantrell (an aerospace supplies fixer), and Adeo Ressi (his best friend from college), to buy refurbished ICBM (Inter Continental Ballistics Missile which was known as Dnepr this was the name of the space vehicle) that could send the projected payloads into space. The group met with companies such as NPO Lavochkin and Kosmotras, however Elon Musk was seen as a novice and was spat on by one of the Russian chief designers, so they returned to US with nothing to show for. February 2002, the group returned to Russia to look for three ICBMs, bringing along Mike Griffin who worked for CIA. The group met again with Kosmotras, and were offered one rocket for $8 million, Elon Musk said this was far too expensive storming out of the meeting. On his return journey he realised that he could start a company that could build the affordable rockets he needed. By applying vertical integration and the modular approach from software engineering, SpaceX ended up with the long-term goal of creating a “true spacefaring civilization”.
In June 2002 with $100 million of his early fortune, Elon Musk Co-founded Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), Elon Musk is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chief Technology Officer (CTO). SpaceX develops and manufactures space launch vehicles with a focus on advancing the state of rocket technology. The company’s first two launch vehicles are the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 rockets. In seven years, SpaceX designed the family of Falcon launch vehicles and the Dragon multipurpose spacecraft. Then going onto September 2009, SpaceX’s Falcon 1 rocket became the first privately funded liquid-fuelled rocket to put a satellite into Earth orbit. In May 25th 2012, the SpaceX Dragon vehicle made history as the first commercial company to launch a vehicle to the International Space Station.
In 2006, SpaceX was awarded a contract from NASA to continue the development and test of the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Dragon spacecraft in order to transport cargo to the International Space Station, followed by a $1.6 billion NASA launch contract on December 23rd 2008, for 12 flights for Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft to the Space Station, replacing the US Space Shuttle after it aged into retirement in 2011. SpaceX is believed to be one of two contractors in the Commercial Resupply Services program which replaced the cargo transport function of the Space Shuttle. It is believed, SpaceX is one of two companies remaining in the Commercial Crew Development program, which is intended to develop a US astronaut transport capability. SpaceX is supposed to be both the largest private producer of rocket motors in the world, and the holder of the record for highest thrust to weight ratio for any known rocket motor. In two years, SpaceX has produced more than 100 operational Merlin 1D engines, currently the world’s most powerful motor for its weight. The immense power to weight ratio allows each Merlin 1D motor to vertically lift the weight of 40 average family cars.
The Goal of Elon Musk is to reduce the cost of human spaceflight, in 2011 he said he hopes to send humans to the surface of Mars within 10 to 20 years. Elon Musk also reveals that he wishes to establish a Mars colony by 2040, with a population of 80,000. Elon Musk stated that, since Mars atmosphere lacks oxygen, all transportation would have to be electric, as a combustion engine needs oxygen for a reaction to take place, so electric based vehicle wouldn’t need that.
Onto his latest project Tesla Motors was incorporated in July 2003 by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning, these names are hardly heard of when searching for Tesla Motors, these two men financed the company, both men played active roles in the company’s early development prior to Elon Musk’s involvement. Elon Musk joined Tesla’s board of directors as its chairman in 2004, he took active role within the company and looked into the first vehicle of Tesla the Roadster, he had great interest but wasn’t involved day to day as he had other roles to participate in.
In 2008 Elon Musk took leadership of the company as CEO and product architect. Tesla Motors first car was the electric sports Tesla Roadster, he sold roughly 2,500 Roadsters to over 30 countries.
The next model to be developed by Tesla Motors was its four door Model S on June 22nd 2012, the technology and design was an instant hit, it roughly had a range of 200miles on electric, the sleek design turned heads where ever it went, the cleverest aspect of this vehicle was its design to accommodate 7 people and had the Auto Pilot feature. Tesla’s Model S was so successful, that it went further on to developing the Model X, the Model X is a 7 seater SUV, it was originally supposed to launch on February 9th 2012, but delayed to September 2015 for unforeseen circumstances. Not a lot of people know this but in addition to its own cars, Tesla sells electric powertrain systems to Daimler for the Smart EV, Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive and Mercedes A Class and to Toyota for the RAV4 EV, this is one of the reasons when you jump into the ‘Tesla Model S,’ the vehicle parts are the same as Mercedes. Elon Musk has bought the companies together as long term investors. Elon Musk’s largest investment must be going into the GIGA factory that makes the batteries for their electric vehicles also owned by him.
His Latest vehicle launch will be in 2017 which is a Tesla Model 3, similar to a BMW 3 series, the affordability of the Tesla Model S was always in question starting off around $70k plus, so he made the Tesla Model 3 affordable at a very respectable starting off price of $35000 before incentives and government grant. The Tesla Model 3 will have supercharging and Auto Pilot as standard which was an added extra in the Tesla Model S.
As of January 29th 2016, Elon Musk owns about 28.9 million Tesla shares, that’s about 22% of the company. He is a very wealthy man taking an annual salary of $78.2 million at Tesla Motors, he was known to the highest paid CEO in the world.
In 2014, Musk announced that Tesla Motors will allow its technology patents to be used by anyone in good faith in a bid to entice automobile manufacturers to speed up development of electric cars.
Elon Musk came up with the first concept and financial capital for SolarCity, which was then co-founded in 2006 by his cousins Lyndon and Peter Rive. Elon Musk remains the largest shareholder. SolarCity is now the second largest provider of solar power systems in the United States.
The undeniable motivation for funding both SolarCity and Tesla is to help combat global warming. In 2012, Elon Musk announced that SolarCity and Tesla Motors are working together to use electric vehicle batteries to smooth the impact of rooftop solar on the power grid which started around 2013.
Their plans are to make households use solar energy rather than burning other fossils that could harm the environment, this would greatly electric cars of Tesla Motors as the energy collected can be used to power the electric vehicles, not to mention powering all the household utilities.
On August 12th 2013, Elon Musk revealed a concept for a high speed transportation system that will have reduced pressure tubes in which pressurised capsules ride on an air cushion driven by linear induction motors and air compressors, to have some sort of understanding imagine an air hockey pucks gliding on the table but this same concept in a tube. Proposed plans are between the Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area. Subsequent development on Hyperloop was not to be done by SpaceX or Tesla or Elon Musk himself, but by an open source process.
Elon Musk assigned a dozen of engineers from Tesla Motors and SpaceX who worked for nine months, establishing the theoretical foundations and creating the designs for the transportation system. An early design for the system was published in a whitepaper posted to the Tesla and SpaceX blogs. These plans were made so that, if technologically feasible at the costs he has cited, it would make travelling cheaper than any other modes of transport for such long distances. The alpha design was proposed to use a partial vacuum to reduce aerodynamic drag, which it is theorized would allow for high-speed travel with relatively low power. The alpha design was estimated to cost around $6 billion. In June 2015, Elon Musk announced a design competition for students and others to build Hyperloop pods to operate on a SpaceX sponsored mile long track. The track is currently under construction and the competition is said to be for August 2016. The company Hyperloop Transportation Technologies has agreed to a deal with the proposed 75,000 resident solar power city Quay Valley, California, halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, to build a 5-mile Hyperloop track around the community, this construction will start somewhere in 2016.