pquote background urlhttpwwwindustryweekcomsitefilesindustryweekcomfilesuploads201408openquoteiwpng norepeatimportantcolor 000000fontstyle italicmargin 10pxpadding 10px 1px 1px 50pxfontsize 24pxarticleimage imagedescription p margin 0fontsize 16pxlineheight 19imagedescription background F8F8F8fontsize 11pxpadding 5px 5px 3pxcolor 000fontweight normalimportantpcaption paddingleft 20px        paddingright 20pxfontsize 12pxlineheight 19paddingbottom 2pxWe have to make electric cars compellingquot  Elon MuskTi

We have to make electric cars compelling."

- Elon Musk


Title: CEO, Co-Founder and Product Architect
Company: Tesla Motors
Other Current Positions: CEO, SpaceX; Chairman, Solar City


The IndustryWeek Leader of the Week highlights the manufacturing leaders, executives and stars who are driving growth in today's industry and helping to shape the future of manufacturing.

Elon Musk's Electric Future

Elon Musk plans to ride out the electric car wave at Tesla.

Elon Musk isn’t going anywhere.

The champion of electric vehicles, Musk plans to stay at Tesla (IW 500/384) as long as he’s alive.

“If I’m not dead, I’ll be at Tesla,” Musk said during the 2015 Automotive News World Congress in Detroit.

And he plans to remain CEO until his mission is complete: to see the mass production of electric cars.

“My goal is the acceleration of the advent of electric cars,” Musk said.

Since Elon Musk broke onto the scene in 2008 with the electric Roadster sports car, he has done just that.

The Roadster gave way to a bevy of long-range electric vehicles: the Nissan Leaf, the Chevrolet Volt and the BMW i3.

Tesla didn’t stop there, introducing the luxury Model S and announcing plans for the Model X SUV, which, after a string delays, is set to be released this summer.

But, what could be the biggest breakthrough is still on the horizon. The Tesla Model 3, a $35,000 (before incentives) electric sedan, is on its way.

And Tesla’s gigafactory is only a few years out from starting production.

The pieces, it seems, are coming together for Musk’s vision.

Certainly, there have been hurdles, such as the recent downward trend of gasoline prices, which Musk says reduces the “economic forcing function” for electric cars.

“The rate of adoption of electric cars will be slower. That’s what this means,” Musk said, noting that, even with lower gasoline prices, electric cars are still cheaper to operate than their counterparts.

Demand, though, as far as Tesla goes, is not a problem.

“Most of our focus is on production growth as opposed to demand generation," Musk said.

That’s because the company has already has sold out of all of the Model S cars it could “possibly make” in 2015, Musk said.

Thanks to this demand, Tesla has been able to invest heavily in automation, the Model X product line, the Supercharger network and in scaling up production.

“We’re spending a lot of money,” Musk said. “But if we were to just sort of scale back our growth and just go forward with moderate increases…we would be profitable.”

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