Elon Musk tells Bill Gates he ‘has no clue’ about electric cars after Microsoft founder played down Tesla’s future

Gates pushed for biofuels instead of electric vehicles for long-haul transportation

Adam Smith
Monday 14 September 2020 17:16 BST
Money never sleeps, but the co-founder of PayPal and CEO of Solar City, SpaceX and Tesla has earned a little rest
Money never sleeps, but the co-founder of PayPal and CEO of Solar City, SpaceX and Tesla has earned a little rest
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Elon Musk has said that Bill Gates “has no clue” about electric vehicles, following the Microsoft’s founders disparaging comments in a recent blog

In a post last month, Gates said he was not confident in the development of electric transport.

“Even if we develop cheap, long-range EVs that are powered by zero-carbon sources, electrification isn’t an option for many types of transportation”, he wrote.

Gates’ criticisms are due to the size and weight of the batteries.

“The more weight you’re trying to move, the more batteries you need to power the vehicle. But the more batteries you use, the more weight you add—and the more power you need.”

“Even with big breakthroughs in battery technology, electric vehicles will probably never be a practical solution for things like 18-wheelers, cargo ships, and passenger jets. Electricity works when you need to cover short distances, but we need a different solution for heavy, long-haul vehicles”, Gates said.

Gates instead proposed biofuels as a viable alternative, and said that electric vehicles would be great options for personal cars, buses, and city lorries.

He praised companies including GM, Ford, Rivian, and Bollinger, but did not mention Tesla once in the post.

On Twitter, when asked by a user about Gates’ thoughts, Musk was more succinct: “He has no clue”.

Tesla is making an electric truck, the Tesla Semi, which was announced in 2017. 

It was expected to be shipped to customers in 2019.

Instead, Tesla said it will be brought to “volume production” this year

In February, Musk criticised Gates’ decision to purchase Porsche's battery-powered Taycan sports car rather than a Tesla.

"My conversations with Gates have been underwhelming tbh," he wrote in response to a Twitter user who alerted him to Gates's decision.

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