Elon Musk says he has big ideas for an electric plane, but that it 'isn't necessary right now'

The Joe Rogan Podcast/YouTube
  • In a wide ranging interview published on Thursday night, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said he has big ideas for an electric plane.
  • In the same breath, Musk said that such a concept “isn’t necessary right now” – that he’s focused on electric cars, solar power, and energy storage (batteries).
  • Musk detailed his idea for an electric plane as a VTOL of sorts – a plane that requires no runway for takeoff and landing.

When Elon Musk isn’t busy working ridiculously long hours at Tesla, or SpaceX, or Solar City, or any of the other myriad companies he runs, he’s apparently thinking long and hard about how an electric plane would work.

“The exciting thing to do would be some sort of electric vertical takeoff and landing supersonic jet of some kind,” Musk told stand-up comedian and UFC commentator Joe Rogan on his podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience.

As such, Musk’s plane wouldn’t require a runway for takeoff and landing – it would lift itself into the air, then take off. “The trick is you have to transition to level flight,” Musk said. “And the thing that you would use for vertical takeoff and landing is not suitable for high speed flight. I’ve thought about this quite a lot.”

In so many words, Musk’s design for an electric plane has some speedbumps to becoming a reality. Perhaps the biggest speedbump, though, is Musk himself.

“The electric aeroplane isn’t necessary right now,” Musk told Rogan. “Electric cars are important. Solar energy is important. Stationary storage of energy is important. These things are much more important than creating electric supersonic VTOL.”

Joe Rogan and Elon MuskThe Joe Rogan Experience/YouTube

That’s because Musk is a passionate advocate for sustainable energy, and the move away from carbon-based forms of energy like oil. While he loves the idea of an electric plane, he said it’s most important that he focus on sustainable energy in the form of electric cars and solar power.

“We’re taking vast amounts of carbon from deep underground and putting this in the atmosphere – this is crazy,” Musk said, a reference to the consumption of fossil fuels around the world. “We should not do this. It’s very dangerous. We should accelerate the transition to sustainable energy.”

Sorry, electric plane fans – it sounds like Musk’s exciting idea is likely to stay as much, at least for now. On the upside, it sounds like Musk’s focus on sustainable energy is a much bigger benefit to the planet.

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