He often sleeps at the Tesla factory
Tesla is enjoying incredible success right now, with production of its electric cars targeted to reach 500,000 annually by 2020. But, Tesla has also come in for criticism, with production delays and some issues reported with its latest Model X, including a safety recall.
Not only that, but with a almost half-a-million orders for the Model 3 and the Model S still selling well, the pressure is on. In a recent conference call, Elon announced that his desk is at the end of the production line and he even has a sleeping bag in a nearby conference room, so he can ensure that every vehicle is up to his standards.
He earns a salary of $1 from Tesla
During the year of 2014, Elon Musk allegedly refused any payment from Tesla, despite being its CEO. It’s thought he was offered $35,360 (based on the minimum wage in California) but instead took a nominal amount of $1. Still, with 35.3 million Tesla shares, he’s hardly struggling.
He’s one of a number of Silicon Valley CEOs taking a $1 salary, which includes Google’s Sergey Brin and Larry Page.
Musk works up to 100 hours per week
Entrepreneur Musk is said to regularly work between 80 and 100 hours each week, comparing the process of starting a business with having a child. To stay productive, his personal assistants break his day into five-minute time slots, and he even combines eating with meetings, so he doesn’t have to take a lunch break.
Tesla’s founder was the inspiration for Iron Man
Apparently the film version of Iron Man character Tony Stark – superbly portrayed by Robert Downey Jr – was inspired by Elon Musk. It’s not hard to see why, Musk manages SpaceX, the independent spacecraft builder which has recently landed rockets on floating barges.
Not only that, but Elon actually made a cameo appearance in Iron Man 2, while his SpaceX factory was also used as a location in the movie. He has also popped up in the movie Thank You for Smoking and TV show The Big Bang Theory.
Musk owns the Lotus Esprit from The Spy Who Loved Me
Remember the white Lotus Esprit “Wet Nellie” which turns into a submarine in Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me? Of course you do, it’s one of the most iconic car-related scenes of all time. But, did you know the secret buyer back in 2013 was Elon Musk?
After the lost vehicle was discovered in a storage container, it went for sale at RM Auctions and sold for a staggering $866,000. His love for the submersible Lotus has been reaffirmed recently too, with images of the car appearing as an easter egg in a recent update of the infotainment system for the Model S.
He has been a petrol head
While Elon is helping convert even dyed-in-the-wool car fans to electric vehicles, there’s some rather uneconomical cars in his past. In fact, Elon used some of the money he earned selling PayPal to buy a McLaren F1, the iconic supercar designed by Gordon Murray.
With a 6.1-litre V12, it was the world’s fastest car when it launched, with a top speed of around 231mph. Using it to drive between LA and San Francisco, Elon apparently covered around 11,000 miles in the F1, before it came to a rather sticky end, Musk crashing it spectacularly off an embankment in California.
Musk plans to build an 800mph train
Called the ‘Hyperloop’, Musk has released designs for a train which could carry passengers from Los Angeles to San Francisco in just half an hour, travelling at speeds of up to 800mph.
Carriages would travel in a low pressure tube, elevated above the ground, with a cushion of air supporting the train at high speeds. By dramatically reducing friction, higher speeds than any conventional train would theoretically be possible. But, don’t expect to see the ‘Hyperloop’ soon. Not only would it cost billions of dollars to complete, Musk hasn’t shown any signs of taking the idea further than the planning stages.
He left South Africa to avoid conscription
Musk grew up in South Africa, but moved to Canada at the age of 17, obtaining citizenship through his Canadian-born mother. He didn’t stay for long, however, transferring to an American university in 1992.
If he had stayed in South Africa, Elon would have faced several years of mandatory service in the military, which he was quoted as saying “didn’t seem like a really good way to spend time”.
He almost died in 2000 from malaria
In his biography, Musk described a near-death experience after he came down with a malaria infection after visiting Brazil and South Africa. “That’s my lesson for taking a vacation: vacation will kill you”, he exclaimed.
He’s the Terminator, according to his ex-wife
In the book “Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX and the Quest for a Fantastic Future” by Ashlee Vance, Justine Musk, Elon’s ex-wife is quoted saying: “I do think of him as the Terminator. He locks his gaze on to something and says, ‘It shall be mine.’ Bit by bit, he won me over.”