Newsmaker of 2021: Elon Musk

by Sumana Sarkar 26 Dec 2021


From readying mission to Mars, selling stake in Tesla to making a surprise visit at the Volkswagen Executive Conference, it’s been an action-packed year for Elon Musk.

“Don’t want to brag but . . . I’m the best at humility. . .”
That’s how the man, who literally makes headlines every week, describes himself. No prizes for guessing . . . that’s Elon Musk for you. The Tesla CEO recently sold a significant stake in the company in response to Twitter threads on “unrealized gains being a means of tax avoidance” and proposed selling 10 percent of his Tesla stock.

A close analysis of his filings indicate that he has thus far sold over 10 million shares but it is still less than the 10 percent goal. That’s also because he is exercising his share buyback option, due to expire by August of 2022 if he didn't exercise them. In the process he might end up owning even a bigger stake in the company.

That said, the one headline that will surely make 2021 a year to remember for Tesla, Musk and India is this coveted electric car making it to India. Almost a year after he originally promised, Musk has confirmed that Tesla will be entering India. The Model 3 is being tested at several locations and readying for the eventual rollout.

Meanwhile, Musk has also confirmed that work has now begun at the facility for the Cybertruck, with production due to go on stream in 2023. The utility car is expected to implement the steer-by-wire system and has garnered a lot of interest among buyers with over a million bookings since its debut two years ago.

One instance clearly stands out amidst all. Musk recently attracted a lot of attention for his surprise attendance at the Volkswagen Executive conference in October. Musk addressed more than 200 executives at the conference organised by Volkswagen, one of his biggest competitors in the electric segment on the invitation offered by Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess. Musk did not just share his management insights but also expressed his conviction about the German major acing the electric space. Diess on his part appreciated the way Tesla has managed the supply chain issues plaguing auto makers globally. Tesla, under Musk, hasn’t faced any supply chain bottleneck, thus far, on account of the semiconductor shortage.  

But the action does not stop there. Apart from cars, it’s Mars that continues to be at the centreof his attention. He recently shared photos of 'Starships' that could make travel to Mars a possibility. The company is coming close to orbital tests for the new spacecraft.

The Tesla and SpaceX CEO is also in the process of selling his physical belongings in an effort to diffuse criticism about his wealth. While speaking to podcast host Joe Rogan, Musk said, “I think possessions kinda weigh you down. And they're kind of an attack vector. People say, 'Hey, billionaire, you got all this stuff.' 'Well, now I don't have the stuff — now what are you gonna do?'' In his own words as per his recent tweet — “thinking of quitting my jobs & becoming an influencer full-time…”

Well, the jury may be out on whether he really does that but one consistent aspect continues to be the core of all things connected with Tesla and Musk is innovation. With just a handful of days remaining in 2021, the question that most of us will have is ‘What’s the maverick Musk gonna do in the new year?’ But Musk, as usual, has his eyes trained to the distant future — What will 2032 will be like? Seems so futuristic! Will we be on Mars?

 


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