Tesla’s Elon Musk and Rivian CEO join legacy auto execs in Motortrend’s Person of the Year list

(Credit: Tesla)

Tesla CEO Elon Musk ranks on Motortrend’s 2020 list of most crucial players in the automotive industry. Musk has been on the list since 2013 and gained recognition as Person of the Year in 2017.

Motortrend released its list 2020 Person of the Year on November 19, which recognized Hyundai President and Head of Design Management Peter Schreyer as its Person of the Year for 2020. Elon Musk came in the 24th spot in this year’s power rankings, improving from his recognition as the 42nd most influential figure in the auto industry from a year ago.

While Motortrend recognizes Musk as an influential figure for another year, the website’s description of his accomplishments this year takes an interesting approach, leading with a highlight of his lawsuits, conflicts with the SEC, and the successful release of the Model 3. “Another year of drama for Musk with lawsuits and SEC concerns over tweets. But sales continue to grow, affordable Model 3s are on the road, there’s a new plant in China, and promises of a pickup, compact crossover, roadster, and a big rig continue. Ever the boy at heart, his cars can now fart,” Motortrend said about the South African born CEO.

In 2019, Tesla and Musk have unveiled its first crossover, broke ground on Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai, and improved its Full Self-Driving software with the company’s V10 update. A monumental year for the Silicon Valley-based automaker in many regards, Musk’s vision for an environmentally-sustainable future by supplying people with affordable electric cars is becoming more of a reality. Tesla will unveil its Cybertruck on November 21, adding an all-electric pickup truck to its lineup of vehicles.

Musk was not the only Tesla member to make the list. Co-founder and Senior Adviser to the company J.B. Straubel came in at #13. “Straubel, the former chief technical officer at Tesla, has stepped back from day-to-day authority but will continue to apply his genius toward core technologies—especially around batteries, power electronics, and an expanding network of superchargers. He is essential to Tesla’s drive to retain EV tech leadership,” Motortrend said.

Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe was #3 on Motortrend’s 2020 power rankings. It has been a big year for Scaringe’s Rivian. The company gained notable financial backing from e-commerce giant Amazon, who invested $700 million and purchased 100,000 vans from the Plymouth, Michigan-based automaker to begin a more environmentally-conscious delivery process. Rivian also gained help from Ford Motor Company and Cox Automotive, who invested $500 million and $350 million, respectively. Rivian will begin production of the R1T pickup and R1S sport utility vehicle in late-2020.

Motortrend has recognized these three pioneers of the electric vehicle movement on its list of the 50 most crucial players in the industry today. The three sit among executives of legacy automotive groups, like Ford, GM, and Toyota, whose board members have made up Motortrend’s lists since the auto journal wrote its first power rankings in 2005. While those companies are working on electric cars to release as their own, Musk, Straubel, and Scaringe have all contributed toward the transition to make the automotive market geared more toward electric and battery-powered modes of transportation and away from the traditional petrol-powered machines that have dominated the U.S. car industry since its introduction in the 1890s, and they are gaining recognition for their efforts. Tesla and Rivian alike have a vision for the future, and it includes clean transportation for everyone, aimed at saving the Earth from the carbon-emissions that negatively affect the atmosphere and our general well-being.

The Top 10 of Motortrend’s Person of the Year 2020 list is as follows:

  • 10. Alan Bethke, Senior VP of Marketing, Subaru of America. 2019: Unranked
  • 9. Mate Rimac, Founder, Rimac Automobili. 2019: Unranked
  • 8. Charles Gordon-Lennox, Founder, Goodwood Festival of Speed and Goodwood Revival. 2019: Unranked
  • 7. Roger Penske, Founder and Chairman, Penske Corporation. 2019: Unranked
  • 6. Mary Barra, Chairwoman and CEO, General Motors. 2019: 11
  • 5. David Woodhouse, VP Of Nissan Design America, Nissan. 2019: 22
  • 4. Tadge Juechter, Corvette Chief Engineer, General Motors. 2019: Unranked
  • 3. RJ Scaringe, Founder and CEO, Rivian Automotive. 2019: Unranked
  • 2.Kumar Galhotra, President, Ford North America. 2019: Unranked
  • 1. Peter Schreyer, President, Head of Design Management, Hyundai Motor Group. 2019: 33
Tesla’s Elon Musk and Rivian CEO join legacy auto execs in Motortrend’s Person of the Year list
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