Elon – the South Africa-born, Canadian-American celebrity serial entrepreneur –is the CEO and co-founder of Tesla Motors, and the founder, CEO and CTO of commercial aerospace company SpaceX.
Founded in 2003, Tesla is the ultimate innovator in the world of electric vehicles and energy storage solutions. Tesla offered a limited production run of the all-electric Roadster sports car before beginning producing its flagship Model S at the Tesla Motors Factory in Fremont, CA in 2012. The Model S can go from 0 to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds, has up to 691 horsepower, was awarded a perfect 5.0 score for its NHTSA automobile safety rating, and has a charge range of up to 270 miles. Tesla is slated to start shipping its cross-over SUV Model X in late 2015 and expects to release Model 3, its mass-market vehicle priced around $35,000, in 2017. Not content with solely producing lithium ion batteries for cars, Elon unveiled the Powerwall and Powerpack in May 2015, a pair of products set to cater to humanity’s broader energy storage needs.
Following eBay’s acquisition of PayPal, another company he helped create, Elon invested a significant portion of his new fortune to incorporate SpaceX in June 2002. As the major player in commercial space-faring technology, SpaceX develops and manufactures launch and craft vehicles with a focus on advancing the state of rocket technology. Its first two launch vehicles are the Falcon 1 and the Falcon 9, and its first spacecraft is the Dragon. In 2012, the Dragon vehicle successfully berthed with the International Space Station. The company is currently working on its astronaut transport capabilities.
Elon has a BS in both physics and economics from the University of Pennsylvania and its Wharton School of Business. He holds a myriad of titles and awards, including that of Fortune’s 2013 Business person of the Year and the Smithsonian Magazine’s 2012 recipient of the American Ingenuity Award in Technology.