Just days after being dubbed as TIME Magazine’s 2021 Person of the Year, Tesla and SpaceX CEO received yet another Person of the Year Award, this time from the Financial Times. During his interview with the publication, Musk shared some of his thoughts about his companies’ missions, the progress of Tesla’s competitors, and the safety of the company’s driver-assist systems, among other things.
The FT noted that it awarded Musk its Person of the Year Award simply because behind the noise and the constant barrage of controversies, Elon Musk has achieved something great. He did, after all, lead a small pure electric car maker into a force that triggered a historic shift in the world’s auto industry towards EVs. These accomplishments have profound implications for governments, investors, and the planet’s climate as a whole.
Musk has numerous critics. A look at Twitter posts about the CEO would be enough to prove this. Despite this, however, Musk still commands a pretty notable level of public approval. “I’m just trying to get people to Mars, and enable freedom of information with Starlink, accelerate sustainable technology with Tesla, free people from the drudgery of driving. It’s certainly possible that the road to hell to some degree is paved with good intentions — but the road to hell is mostly paved with bad intentions,” Musk said.
With Tesla being a runaway success, new automakers such as Rivian and Lucid have emerged with impressive electric vehicles of their own that could be a match for Musk’s now-iconic EVs. Yet despite this, the FT noted that Musk seemed largely unconcerned about competition. The CEO did, however, post a warning of sorts about the momentum of Chinese carmakers, which he believes would disrupt the market similar to how Japanese automakers like Toyota have done in the past.
“I think people are somewhat oblivious to just how much progress China is making. It’s incredible. (It’s like) the wave of Japanese imports that happened in the 1980s and 90s. I think we will see something similar with the Chinese car companies. The work ethic, just the sheer number of hard-working, smart people in China is a wonder to behold — both amazing, and slightly scary. And they’re going to get things done,” Musk said.
As for concerns about Tesla’s advanced driver-assist systems, Musk noted that he is a person that prioritizes safety the most. While the CEO noted that he may have underestimated the challenges involved in developing a self-driving solution for consumer cars, Musk highlighted that he is by no means being lenient when it comes to the safety of the company’s current programs like the FSD Beta. “Read what it says when you order a Tesla. Read what it says when you turn it on. It’s very, very clear. I don’t think there’s a CEO on this planet that cares more about safety than me,” Musk said.
The Financial Times‘ feature on Elon Musk and his Person of the Year Award could be accessed here.
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