In Part #1 of this series, I wrote about how Master Plan 3 was created for the investor.
The term “investor” was clarified by Elon Musk to mean “the broadest definition of investor, as in the people & life of Earth.” We read about how our current energy economy is dirty and wasteful. This is true because over 80% of global energy still comes from fossil fuels. Shockingly only ⅓ of that energy delivers useful work or heat. A sustainable energy economy is within reach and we can and should accelerate it. A beautiful, clean, and fully sustainable energy economy can be achieved quickly and in this article, you will read about how in the words of Elon Musk. All quotes are from Investor Day on March 1 at Gigafactory Texas in Austin.
Make your next car electric
On March 1, 2023, Elon Musk stood onstage next to Drew Baglino [Director Tesla powertrain], with the production floor of Gigafactory Texas in the background. The small audience of approximately 250 people, some of whom traveled from abroad to come to Austin, gave their full attention as Elon Musk explained,
“We are going to walk through the calculations for how to create a sustainable energy civilization.
Sometimes I want to elaborate because there’s a very wide range of technical expertise out there from people who are like, you know, level nine wizards in the subject to people who do not do engineering at all.
So if you have a gasoline car, you’re converting less than a third, often maybe only 25% of the energy in the gasoline is converted into motion and the rest is turned into wasted heat that doesn’t do any good at all.
There’s a lot of energy required even to get through all of the ground to refine the oil and to transport the gasoline to the gas station. So when you look at all that, a typical gasoline car is actually going to be using less than 20%, fully considered, of the energy from the oil that actually goes into motion.
So when we see people doing calculations for what does it take to create a sustainable energy earth, they assume that the same energy amount is required for an electrified civilization versus a combustion civilization.
This is not true, because most of the energy of combustion is waste heat.”
Drew Baglino added that a sustainable energy economy is easier to accomplish than a fossil fuel economy, “it’s actually half the problem statement of the fossil fuel economy.” Elon Musk, often making eye contact with his audience via live stream as well as engaging with the people attending in person, carefully explained,
“We’re being conservative here so it could be better than half. We’re trying to have assumptions that are reasonable and not overly optimistic, in fact, slightly pessimistic.
It’s really better than half but it’s easy to make the argument that we need half as much energy with an electric economy versus a combustion economy.”
How Master Plan 3 works
Elon Musk is known for his ability to simplify complicated things. Famous for his first principles approach, he explained the need for battery storage,
“So I think that what is needed at a very large scale that’s not currently present is a vast amount of battery energy storage. Our rough calculations are that this is about 240 Terawatt hours or 240,000 Gigawatt hours.
This is a lot of batteries but it is actually a very achievable amount. We will go into details on that. So that’s a combination of electric vehicles and stationary storage. If you’ve got solar or wind, you’ve got to store the energy when the wind is not blowing and the sun is not shining, so we are assuming an 8:1 ratio of stored energy to power. So 30 Terawatt hours of power. Our actual capital expenditure calculation for manufacturing investment is more like 6 trillion but we made it higher to make it 10 trillion.
If you look at the total world economy it’s just under 100 trillion, so if this was spread out say over 10 years it would be 1% of the global economy. Over 20 years, it would be half a percent of the global economy. So this is not a big number relative to the global economy.
As Drew (Baglino) mentioned, you need about ½ as much energy with an electric economy versus a combustion economy. And in terms of wind and solar, how much land would be used? It’s less than .2% of the land area of earth. I think generally people don’t realize how much energy is reaching us from the sun. It’s roughly a Gigawatt per square kilometer. And the sun doesn’t shine all the time but if you multiply that by 4 to get the continuous power, 4 or 5, that gives you the land area of solar. And you can put wind and solar often in the same place so in a lot of places that currently have wind, you could put solar there and you double your energy.
You could put solar [or wind as Drew Baglino mentioned] offshore. Earth is 70% water. The point is that with a remarkably small amount of earth’s land area, we can go fully sustainable.”
Drew Baglino explained that our earth has abundant resources to accomplish a sustainable energy economy. Elon Musk, sharing a hopeful and optimistic message, said, “To emphasize that again, the electrified economy will require less mining than the current economy does. Less. not more.”
In the next article in this Multi-Part series, we will start to look at the 5 areas that will need work in order to eliminate fossil fuels. Tesla shared a preview in a slide that also showed how much each area will reduce fossil fuel use. With 35%, the largest area is to “renewably power the existing grid.” Switching to heat pumps and to electric vehicles are the 2nd and 3rd largest areas.
A sustainable energy economy on Mars
Elon Musk is in his element when discussing rockets! He enthusiastically shares,
“My personal opinion is that as we improve the energy density of the batteries, you’ll see all transportation go fully electric, with the exception of rockets. That’s awkward, but you can make the fuel with CO₂ and water!
You can make methane with CO₂ and water. In fact, on Mars, if we hopefully get there at some point, the atmosphere is CO₂ and there’s water ice throughout Mars so you can take the CO₂ and H2O and turn that into CH₄ which is Methane and Oxygen.
So ultimately even rockets can be electrified.”
Empowering the world to choose sustainable energy options is within reach. With the existing technology, an affordable, reliable electric vehicle movement can take place with battery storage systems that can save and harness energy from sources like solar and wind. It’s an achievable goal – one that allows us to switch from a highly destructive fossil fuel industry to a much cleaner, kinder energy model. The investment will be well worth it, as this shift could create a healthier society with far less harmful pollutants in the air. In short, it’s now or never; let’s make this switch. Investing in clean energy not only aligns with our personal economic goals but builds towards a more balanced and stable relationship between humans and nature. I believe a beautiful, clean, and fully sustainable energy economy can be achieved quickly!
Did you miss Part #1 of this series? Here it is!
Elon Musk Talks at Investor Day. Part #1 of Multi-Part Series on Good Hope for the Future This article is Part 1 of this series that will examine the message of good hope and positivity for the future. The “investor” is considered the people & life of Earth instead of only retail and institutional investors.
Gail Alfar, Author, Military Veteran. Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – March 18, 2023. All Rights Reserved. My goal as an author is to support Tesla (the most American vehicle manufacturer) and Elon Musk in both making life better on earth for humans and becoming a space-fairing civilization.
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