Trying to read our DNA is like trying to understand software code - with only 90% of the code riddled with errors. It's very difficult in that case to understand and predict what that software code is going to do.
The lessons of history would suggest that civilisations move in cycles. You can track that back quite far - the Babylonians, the Sumerians, followed by the Egyptians, the Romans, China. We're obviously in a very upward cycle right now, and hopefully that remains the case. But it may not.
When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favour.
SpaceX has the potential of saving the U.S. government $1 billion a year. We are opposed to creating an entrenched monopoly with no realistic means for anyone to compete.
My proceeds from the PayPal acquisition were $180 million. I put $100 million in SpaceX, $70m in Tesla, and $10m in Solar City. I had to borrow money for rent.
Over time I think we will probably see a closer merger of biological intelligence and digital intelligence.
Rockets are cool. There's no getting around that.
I think it would be great to be born on Earth and die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact.
If you had to buy a new plane every time you flew somewhere, it would be incredibly expensive.
I'm a Silicon Valley guy. I just think people from Silicon Valley can do anything.
In the case of Apple, they did originally do production internally, but then along came unbelievably good outsourced manufacturing from companies like Foxconn. We don't have that in the rocket business. There's no Foxconn in the rocket business.
I think it's very important to have a feedback loop, where you're constantly thinking about what you've done and how you could be doing it better.
I hate writing about personal stuff. I don't have a Facebook page. I don't use my Twitter account. I am familiar with both, but I don't use them.
The value of beauty and inspiration is very much underrated, no question. But I want to be clear: I'm not trying to be anyone's savior. I'm just trying to think about the future and not be sad.
There are some important differences between me and Tony Stark, like I have five kids, so I spend more time going to Disneyland than parties.
From an evolutionary standpoint, human consciousness has not been around very long. A little light just went on after four and a half billion years. How often does that happen? Maybe it is quite rare.
I think a lot of the American people feel more than a little disappointed that the high-water mark for human exploration was 1969. The dream of human space travel has almost died for a lot of people.
I had so many people try to talk me out of starting a rocket company, it was crazy.
I think long term you can see Tesla establishing factories in Europe, in other parts of the U.S. and in Asia.
If you think back to the beginning of cell phones, laptops or really any new technology, it's always expensive.
If we're going to have any chance of sending stuff to other star systems, we need to be laser-focused on becoming a multi-planet civilisation.
Biofuels such as ethanol require enormous amounts of cropland and end up displacing either food crops or natural wilderness, neither of which is good.
I've actually not read any books on time management.
Selling an electric sports car creates an opportunity to fundamentally change the way America drives.
Mars is the only place in the solar system where it's possible for life to become multi-planetarian.
The path to the CEO's office should not be through the CFO's office, and it should not be through the marketing department. It needs to be through engineering and design.
I think we are at the dawn of a new era in commercial space exploration.
Tesla is becoming a real car company.
I would like to die on Mars. Just not on impact.
Some people don't like change, but you need to embrace change if the alternative is disaster.
I would like to fly in space. Absolutely. That would be cool. I used to just do personally risky things, but now I've got kids and responsibilities, so I can't be my own test pilot. That wouldn't be a good idea. But I definitely want to fly as soon as it's a sensible thing to do.
I'm reasonably optimistic about the future, especially the future of the United States - for the century, at least.
A Prius is not a true hybrid, really. The current Prius is, like, 2 percent electric. It's a gasoline car with slightly better mileage.
I think Tesla will most likely develop its own autopilot system for the car, as I think it should be camera-based, not Lidar-based. However, it is also possible that we do something jointly with Google.
Some companies out there quote a start of production that is substantially in advance of when customers get their cars.
Land on Mars, a round-trip ticket - half a million dollars. It can be done.
I tend to approach things from a physics framework. And physics teaches you to reason from first principles rather than by analogy.
It is theoretically possible to warp spacetime itself, so you're not actually moving faster than the speed of light, but it's actually space that's moving.
The U.S. automotive industry has been selling cars the same way for over 100 years, and there are many laws in place to govern exactly how that is to be accomplished.
There's nothing - I've bought everything I want. I don't like yachts or anything; you know, I'm not a yacht person, and I've got pretty much the nicest plane I'd want to have.
The pace of progress on Mars depends upon the pace of progress of SpaceX.
Stationary storage will be as big as the car business long term. The growth rate will probably be several times what it is for the car business.
The factory is the machine that builds the machine.
There's a silly notion that failure's not an option at NASA. Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.
I'm trying to construct a world that maximises the probability that SpaceX continues its mission without me.
If you look at our current technology level, something strange has to happen to civilisations, and I mean strange in a bad way. And it could be that there are a whole lot of dead, one-planet civilisations.
We could definitely make a flying car - but that's not the hard part. The hard part is, how do you make a flying car that's super safe and quiet? Because if it's a howler, you're going to make people very unhappy.
Here in the West, people often don't like listening to their leaders, even if they are right.
I usually describe myself as an engineer; that's basically what I've been doing since I was a kid.
The reason we should do a carbon tax is because it's the right thing to do. It's economics 101, elementary stuff.
As you heat the planet up, it's just like boiling a pot.
Facebook is quite entrenched and has a network effect. It's hard to break into a network once it's formed.
Government isn't that good at rapid advancement of technology. It tends to be better at funding basic research. To have things take off, you've got to have commercial companies do it.
The rumours of the demise of the U.S. manufacturing industry are greatly exaggerated.
The United States is definitely ahead in culture of innovation. If someone wants to accomplish great things, there is no better place than the U.S.
I wouldn't say I have a lack of fear. In fact, I'd like my fear emotion to be less because it's very distracting and fries my nervous system.
I've been to Disneyland, like, 10 times. I'm getting really tired of Disneyland.
America is the spirit of human exploration distilled.
You could warm Mars up, over time, with greenhouse gases.
I'm personally a moderate and a registered independent, so I'm not strongly Democratic or strongly Republican.
I think most of the important stuff on the Internet has been built. There will be continued innovation, for sure, but the great problems of the Internet have essentially been solved.
If humanity doesn't land on Mars in my lifetime, I would be very disappointed.
If anyone has a vested interest in space solar power, it would have to be me.
I'm anti-tax, but I'm pro-carbon tax.
If we drive down the cost of transportation in space, we can do great things.
Nobody wants to buy a $60,000 electric Civic. But people will pay $90,000 for an electric sports car.
I feel very strongly that SpaceX would not have been able to get started, nor would we have made the progress that we have, without the help of NASA.
Physics is really figuring out how to discover new things that are counterintuitive, like quantum mechanics. It's really counterintuitive.
Even if producing CO2 was good for the environment, given that we're going to run out of hydrocarbons, we need to find some sustainable means of operating.
What I'm trying to do is, is to make a significant difference in space flight. And help make space flight accessible to almost anyone.
I'd like to dial it back 5% or 10% and try to have a vacation that's not just e-mail with a view.
I don't think it's a good idea to plan to sell a company.
Winning 'Motor Trend' Car of the year is probably the closest thing to winning the Oscar or Emmy of the car industry.
I'm glad to see that BMW is bringing an electric car to market. That's cool.
You need to be in the position where it is the cost of the fuel that actually matters and not the cost of building the rocket in the first place.
My vision is for a fully reusable rocket transport system between Earth and Mars that is able to re-fuel on Mars - this is very important - so you don't have to carry the return fuel when you go there.
Silicon Valley has some of the smartest engineers and technology business people in the world.
A battery by definition is a collection of cells. So the cell is a little can of chemicals. And the challenge is taking a very high-energy cell, and a large number of them, and combining them safely into a large battery.
I've actually made a prediction that within 30 years a majority of new cars made in the United States will be electric. And I don't mean hybrid, I mean fully electric.
My opinion is it's a bridge too far to go to fully autonomous cars.
The fuel cell is just a fundamentally inferior way of delivering electrical energy to an electric motor than batteries.
The goal of Tesla is to accelerate sustainable energy, so we're going to take a step back and think about what's most likely to achieve that goal.
The odds of me coming into the rocket business, not knowing anything about rockets, not having ever built anything, I mean, I would have to be insane if I thought the odds were in my favor.
In the early days of aviation, there was a great deal of experimentation and a high death rate.
I think we have a duty to maintain the light of consciousness to make sure it continues into the future.
I just want to retire before I go senile because if I don't retire before I go senile, then I'll do more damage than good at that point.
Self-driving cars are the natural extension of active safety and obviously something we should do.
I was born in Africa. I came to California because it's really where new technologies can be brought to fruition, and I don't see a viable competitor.
We polled Tesla owners, do you want autopilot disabled or not. Not one person wanted it disabled. That's pretty telling.
Silicon Valley has evolved a critical mass of engineers and venture capitalists and all the support structure - the law firms, the real estate, all that - that are all actually geared toward being accepting of startups.
In order to have your voice be heard in Washington, you have to make some little contribution.
I don't spend my time pontificating about high-concept things; I spend my time solving engineering and manufacturing problems.
When I was in college, I wanted to be involved in things that would change the world.
I think you should always bear in mind that entropy is not on your side.
I think it matters whether someone has a good heart.
People should pursue what they're passionate about. That will make them happier than pretty much anything else.
Really, the only thing that makes sense is to strive for greater collective enlightenment.
I say something, and then it usually happens. Maybe not on schedule, but it usually happens.
Tesla is here to stay and keep fighting for the electric car revolution.
I don't create companies for the sake of creating companies, but to get things done.
Boeing just took $20 billion and 10 years to improve the efficiency of their planes by 10 percent. That's pretty lame. I have a design in mind for a vertical liftoff supersonic jet that would be a really big improvement.
You need to live in a dome initially, but over time you could terraform Mars to look like Earth and eventually walk around outside without anything on... So it's a fixer-upper of a planet.