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Vertical Takeoff Electric Jet Might Be Elon Musk’s Next Big Idea

When he’s not busy canceling Model X pre-orders from bloggers he doesn’t like, Elon Musk is thinking about the next big idea that would confirm his status of niche-creator and mad inventor.
Elon Musk 1 photo
As if running a rapidly developing car company, a space exploration project and supervising a radical new means of transportation weren’t enough to keep him occupied, Elon Musk is searching for new ways to surprise us all. Or maybe he simply wants to create another project that Mr. Alsop will find interesting, so he can refuse him again. Who knows?

During a Q&A session at the Hyperloop Pod Award he attended just a few days ago, the Tesla CEO was asked about his plans. Without wanting to disclose too much, he mentioned the idea of a vertical takeoff and landing electric jet. That’s not the first time such a vehicle is present in Musk’s speech, but the fact that it showed up again is proof that he’s giving it more thought.

Once the new Tesla models have been dealt with (the Model 3, Model Y and maybe a new roadster), Musk will probably feel like those parents whose children have left for college and have now got a massive void in their lives. Since he’s not ready for retirement, he’s bound to find something else to fill his time.

This electric helicopter/jet plane hybrid might just be it. TopGear quotes him as saying, “I have been thinking about the vertical takeoff and landing electric jet a bit more.” “I think I have something that might… close. I’m quite tempted to do something about it,” he added, prompting a round of applause from the audience.

We’ve become smart enough by now as to not question Mr. Musk’s ability to do something he sets his mind on, especially since this idea seems a lot more plausible than the Space X’s, and look how that’s evolved. But there’s a reason airplanes - with vertical takeoff or not - haven’t gone electric, and that has to do with mass.

For someone who’s only been able to produce electric cars that weigh over two tonnes, venturing into the aeronautical field seems like the least appropriate thing to do. But saying he does manage to pull it off, what use will that plane have? It will most likely not have a very long range, and it won’t be able to lift extra cargo/people/ordinance - so what exactly will it do? What purpose will it serve, other than satisfying a man’s ego?

It’s easy to look at things this way, but it’s also quite limited. What Elon Musk is generally doing, whether we like it (or him) or not, is help technology advance. He’s the kind of man who challenges everything - even common sense once in a while - and humankind desperately needs to have at least one of these for every generation.


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