Elon Musk has appeared as a guest on the Recode Decode podcast, hosted by acclaimed tech journalist Kara Swisher. In a wide-ranging interview Musk answers questions about his Twitter use, the future of journalism and his plans for the future.
Musk was interviewed for 80 minutes by Swisher, without 'cameras or cannabis'. Swisher noted Musk looked well rested and calmer than he had been in other recent media appearances.
Hard work essential for the planet's future
Musk is notorious for his hard work ethic, Swishers asked the CEO why he thinks he needs to push himself so much. Musk responded that the very future of sustainable transportation is tied to the success of Tesla.
“The success of Tesla is, by far, the biggest forcing function for the other carmakers to get into electric cars. They’ve said so,” Musk said. He continues saying that solving the globe’s environmental problems needs to become more of a priority.
“It’s very important for the future of the world. It’s very important for all life on Earth. This supersedes political parties, race, creed, religion, it doesn’t matter. If we do not solve the environment, we’re all damned.” Musk went into detail about the horrendous year he had, saying it was ‘insanely painful’ to reach the target of 5000 Model 3's, but that they are already aiming much higher.
“Now we’re working on raising to 6,000 and then 7,000 Model 3s a week, while still keeping costs under control. We could probably do 6,000 or more, maybe 6,500 Model 3s a week right now, but it would have to stress people out and do tons of overtime,” he says. Aside from ramping up production ,Tesla continues to innovate.
Musk confident Tesla will lead autonomous car development
Musk describes the new navigation system saying, “That’s I think one of the first major steps toward full self-driving. You can enter in an address, and from highway on-ramp to highway off-ramp, the car will change lanes. It will go from one highway to the next automatically and take off-ramp automatically. It’s pretty wild. It’ll overtake a slow car. It’s basically integrating navigation with the Autopilot capability. That’s why we call it Navigate on Autopilot, or Drive on Nav.”
When asked about the competition Musk was surprisingly confident that Tesla will be the company that unveils a fully autonomous driving system to production cars first. “I don’t wanna sound overconfident, but I would be very surprised if any of the car companies exceeded Tesla in self-driving, in getting to full self-driving. You know, I think we’ll get to full self-driving next year. As a generalized solution, I think. But that’s a ... Like, we’re on track to do that next year. So I don’t know. I don’t think anyone else is on track to do it next year.”
Trump and Dying on Mars
Musk said he thinks Republican President, Donald Trump's idea of a 'Space Force' makes sense. Saying "I think we could just have a base on the moon, for example. A base on Mars. Be great to expand on the idea of a Space Force. Anyone who has an exploratory spirit, and I think that especially applies to a country like the United States, where you know it’s kind of the distillation of the spirit of human exploration. I think the idea of being out there among the stars and among the planets is very exciting."
He also confirmed that SpaceX is still on track to send a mission to Mars by 2024, possibly even by 2022. Though whether himself or anyone will be on board is still undecided. "I don’t know if I will go or not. It may be just an unmanned mission, you know. I’m not sure if there’ll be people onboard or not. But there is a Mars rendezvous opportunity, ’cause you can only do a launch to Mars roughly every two years. So around the 2024 timeframe, there’s a rendezvous opportunity for Mars, which hopefully we can catch. There’s one in 2022 —"
Listen to the full interview here.