Quantcast

Elon Musk: 'You Can Easily Power All of China With Solar'

Business

Tesla CEO and multi-hyphenate entrepreneur Elon Musk spoke about the electric vehicle (EV) market and its role in a sustainable energy future in an interview with CNN’s Kristie Lu Stout at the StartmeupHK Festival in Hong Kong this week.

Global demand for EVs has rapidly grown, and Musk—who famously opened up his patents for outside use—says he welcomes competitors such as GM’s Chevrolet Bolt and has even partnered with traditional automakers such as Mercedes and Toyota.

Musk said the goal of Tesla has been to "accelerate the advent of sustainable transport."

Still, with no end in sight to the current glut of cheap oil, Musk admitted during his interview with Stout that "the transition to sustainable energy [will be] more difficult," however, he said that Tesla aspires to make a car "so compelling that even with lower gas prices that’s still the car you want to buy."

When asked by the host about the hotly anticipated Model 3—aka Tesla's mainstream EV—Musk didn't give many details about its specs but said it would be a smaller version of the luxury Model S without as many bells and whistles but at price point that's roughly half.

"I think that’s going to the most profound car that we’ve made because that’ll be a very compelling car at an affordable price," he said.

Musk—who believes electric cars “are the future”—has spoken about this ever-expanding sector before. Earlier this month, he even brushed aside Apple's long-rumored foray into the EV market, saying it's an “open secret” that the tech company is coming out with a rival electric car.

It appears that Musk is making a strong push to drive EV sales in China. Hong Kong has “the most number of Teslas per capita” and that China's vast Supercharger network means you can drive from Beijing to Tibet in a Model S, according to Musk.

The South China Morning Post reported that Musk expects Hong Kong to be the “leader of the world” in electric vehicle adoption. Tesla sold 2,221 Model S sedans in Hong Kong last year.

In a separate interview with Stout on CNN Money, Musk said that government policies in China are inevitably moving toward reducing emissions and favoring electric vehicles.

"I think there is an understanding by the Chinese government that [electric vehicles] are important to the future," Musk said. "In order to have clean air in cities, you have to go electric."

Back at the forum, Stout asked the SolarCity chairman and clean energy advocate if densely packed vertical cities such as Hong Kong have a viable market for residential solar panels. While Hong Kong might not have the best real estate for rooftop arrays, Musk said that city could tap into solar energy produced in China.

"It’s true that in dense cities rooftop solar is not going to solve the energy need, but what you can do is [install] ground-mounted solar power near Hong Kong and tap into the existing power lines that are coming in [to the city],” Musk said. "You can supply Hong Kong with the solar power [it needs] from a land area that’s not too far away."

He also suggested that China, which happens to be the world's biggest producer of greenhouse gases, can "easily" generate enough solar power to satisfy its power needs.

"China has actually an enormous land area much of which is hardly occupied at all. Given that the Chinese population is so concentrated along the coast, once you go inland the population in some cases it is remarkably tiny. So you can easily power all of China with solar. Easily," he said about the world's most populous country.

The wide-ranging interview also covered Musk's plans for a Tesla truck and a Tesla submersible (but "I think the market for submarine cars is quite small"). The SpaceX CEO even dished on his plans for space travel and said human missions to Mars could begin by 2025.

"This will be an incredible adventure, the greatest adventure ever, and there needs to be things that inspire people," he said about a manned-mission to Mars.

"The reasons why you get up in the morning can’t just be solving problems. It's gotta be something great’s going to happen in the future."

You can watch the full interview here:

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE 

This Tesla-Loving Superstar Is Helping Power Africa With Solar

Solutions Wanted: Do You Have a Solution That Will Create a Cleaner, Greener World?

Elephant Grass and Prairie Switchgrass: Second Generation Biofuels to Power American Cars

Elon Musk’s Tesla Launches All-Vegan Car

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Scanning electron micrograph of Yersinia pestis, which causes bubonic plague, on proventricular spines of a Xenopsylla cheopis flea. NIAID / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

A middle-aged married couple in China was diagnosed with pneumonic plague, a highly infectious disease similar to bubonic plague, which ravaged Europe in the middle ages, as CNN reported.

Read More Show Less
Milk made from almonds, oats and coconut are among the healthiest alternatives to cow's milk. triocean / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Dairy aisles have exploded with milk and milk alternative options over the past few years, and choosing the healthiest milk isn't just about the fat content.

Whether you're looking beyond cow's milk for health reasons or dietary preferences or simply want to experiment with different options, you may wonder which type of milk is healthiest for you.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Greta Thunberg stands aboard the catamaran La Vagabonde as she sets sail to Europe in Hampton, Virginia, on Nov. 13. NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP via Getty Images

Greta Thunberg, the teenage climate activist whose weekly school strikes have spurred global demonstrations, has cut short her tour of the Americas and set sail for Europe to attend COP25 in Madrid next month, as The New York Times reported.

Read More Show Less
The Lake Delhi Dam in Iowa failed in 2010. VCU Capital News Service / Josh deBerge / FEMA

At least 1,688 dams across the U.S. are in such a hazardous condition that, if they fail, could force life-threatening floods on nearby homes, businesses, infrastructure or entire communities, according to an in-depth analysis of public records conducted by the the Associated Press.

Read More Show Less

By Sabrina Kessler

Far-reaching allegations about how a climate-sinning American multinational could shamelessly lie to the public about its wrongdoing mobilized a small group of New York students on a cold November morning. They stood in front of New York's Supreme Court last week to follow the unprecedented lawsuit against ExxonMobil.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

By Alex Robinson

Leah Garcés used to hate poultry farmers.

The animal rights activist, who opposes factory farming, had an adversarial relationship with chicken farmers until around five years ago, when she sat down to listen to one. She met a poultry farmer called Craig Watts in rural North Carolina and learned that the problems stemming from factory farming extended beyond animal cruelty.

Read More Show Less
People navigate snow-covered sidewalks in the Humboldt Park neighborhood on Nov. 11 in Chicago. Scott Olson / Getty Images

Temperatures plunged rapidly across the U.S. this week and around 70 percent of the population is expected to experience temperatures around freezing Wednesday.

Read More Show Less
A general view of the flooded St. Mark's Square after an exceptional overnight "Alta Acqua" high tide water level, on Nov. 13 in Venice. MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP / Getty Images

Two people have died as Venice has been inundated by the worst flooding it has seen in more than 50 years, The Guardian reported Wednesday.

Read More Show Less