Elon Musk criticizes Bill Gates

Elon Musk criticizes Bill Gates

elon musk and bill gates

Tesla Inc CEO Elon Musk on Sunday continued his long drawn-out assault on Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates over their differences on the viability of electricity to power heavier vehicles.

What Happened: “Gates must have had technical understanding at some point in his career, but has now left planet Earth,” Musk wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

Gates had previously stated that 18-wheeler trucks were not suitable for electric propulsion, claiming that electricity worked for short distances but not for heavy long-haul vehicles, triggering Musk whose EV company had unveiled a fully electric semi truck— the Tesla Semi— in 2017.

“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 wrote in his blog dated Aug. 2020.

While Musk slammed his opinion as lacking foundation, Gates justified it to Musk’s biographer Walter Isaacson saying “It’s an area where I clearly knew something that he (Musk) didn’t.” Gates added that he had numerical data to back his claim.

Musk, however, said that Gates had no assumptions on battery Wh/kg and truck Wh/mile to derive the conclusion.

Why It Matters: Though the Tesla Semi was expected to be in production in 2019, the first deliveries were eventually made to PepsiCo in December last year.

It’s worth noting that Bill Gates maintained a short position on Tesla, and Musk declined Gates’ philanthropic proposals in 2022 due to this position.

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