4 Greatest Successes and Failures of Elon Musk

Elon Musk is a controversial figure who is seen by some as a trailblazer and by others as a trickster.

Elon Musk is a controversial figure who is seen by some as a trailblazer and by others as a trickster.


Photo: Flickr - Steve Jurvetson

LatinAmerican Post | Juan Manuel Londoño

Elon Musk is one of the most powerful and controversial figures of recent years. The CEO of Tesla is the second richest man in the world right now and while he has had a number of successes recently, he has also seen a number of failures.

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Here we show you some of them.

Success: Won Exclusive NASA Contract

Certainly, no one can deny that Musk's company, Space X, is one of the pioneers right now in the aerospace industry. So much so that in April of last year it won a $2.9 billion contract to build the next vehicle to take astronauts to the moon.

The company beat Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin and Dynetics in the competition to win this contract. The mission, which will take place in 2024, will be the first to take Americans to the moon since 1972.

Failure: "One million robotaxis by 2020"

In 2019, with the launch of the Tesla 3, Musk promised that this model of an electric car would be used in the future for an automatic “taxi fleet”. The cars would supposedly generate income for their users by transporting other people on autopilot through cities.

Musk promised that by 2020 Tesla would have a million of these vehicles, but so far the first has not been manufactured. What's more, Musk's autopilot technology still requires constant human supervision to work in some spaces.

Success: Large donations from the Musk Foundation

Although Musk has a usually sound vision of how to solve problems with technology when it comes to social problems his ideas are sometimes simple or reductionist.

However, the Musk Foundation, a charitable organization of the tycoon, has scored two points in favor in recent years. First, by donating water filters to schools in Flint, Michigan, an American city with contamination problems in its drinking water. Second, with his donation of 5 million dollars to Khan Academy, an NGO that promotes online education in subjects such as mathematics, science, computer science, history, art history, and economic sciences.

Failure: The Hyperloop of the Boring company

One of the great failures of Elon's career has been the Hyperloop. Basically, this is a "new" transportation system that has a wide variety of logistical and social problems. Ideally, the Hyperloop works as a system of sealed underground tubes that can transport objects at high speed.

Musk has touted the Hyperloop as a "solution" to the car traffic that overwhelms American cities. However, this technology does not have any advantage over a traditional meter. The Hyperloop can only carry a few individuals at a time, is expensive to build, and is much more accident-prone than a subway.