Elon Musk is a South African born businessman (yes he is an alumni of Pretoria Boys High) who made his fortune at PayPal and then went on to found Tesla Motors, SolarCity and SpaceX.
Here are a couple of things you need to know:
- Tesla Motors and SolarCity are rated in the Top 20 of the world’s most innovative companies
- Musk believes that the USA will generate more power from solar than any other energy source within 18 years
- Musk believes that he will be able to bring an affordable electric-powered car to the American public within four years
- While Musk is doing all of that, he’s having fun developing the first ever reusable rocket, a project he claims is critical if mankind is ever to become a space-faring civilization
Far-out? Not so much. More than 2,000 Tesla Roadsters drive emissions-free in more than 37 countries and new, lower cost, mass-market models are currently in production. SolarCity is now the largest provider of solar power systems in the USA, servicing thousands of homeowners, as well as Stanford University, eBay, Intel and Walmart. Acknowledging that the price of initial installation is high, the company leases the solar systems to home-owners. There are no operational costs, and – after installation – consumers can unplug from the conventional power grid.
All of Musk’s innovative projects started somewhere, but all of them grew out of his passion to explore more efficient ways to use energy, and that is something that the team at Londolozi are extremely passionate about (and of course it helps that we have a South African hero to look up to).
Over the last six months, Chris Goodman has been trialing various solar geyser systems. We are proud to announce that there is a solar geyser operational at Pioneer Camp, and in April, the first solar geyser in the staff village will become operational, powering hot water for 80 of Londolozi’s staff members. The vision is to have solar energy powering geysers for the entire Londolozi village within 18 months.
What’s more, Londolozi has been at the forefront of pioneering the first ever zero emissions safari vehicle (not quite a Tesler Roadster, but a convertible with a different appeal). The vision for this vehicle is to run purely on battery power which in turn is charged by solar panels. The carbon output would thus be zero, except for that used during the manufacturing of the vehicle. Our intention is to change our entire fleet to electric vehicles as soon as the opportunity presents itself.
Projects like Tesla and SolarCity are just the beginning. One innovative project based on solar power – and developed by a team at IBM – has its sights on being able to provide sustainable energy and fresh water to communities all around the world. And there are experiments with solar-powered mobile gadgets (collectively we are contributing 10 trillion pounds of CO2 each year just from charging mobile devices). Wouldn’t it be great if we never needed to plug our phones and laptops in?
If any of our readers drive a Tesla (or any other electric-powered car) or use solar-powered energy, what is your feedback? Do you feel like the investment was worthwhile, and what tips would you give to other readers?