Elon Musk revealed he has big ideas for an electric plane back in 2018. He told Joe Rogan in a wide ranging interview on Rogan’s podcast. When Rogan asked:
Have you ever looked at planes and gone, ‘I could fix this?’
The engineer and Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) and SpaceX CEO answered:
I have a design for a plane…
He went on to describe his plan for a vertical take off and landing (VTOL), high altitude, supersonic jet. Of course Elon Musk’s airplane would be powered by electric battery, not jet fueled gas-turbines. But Musk said it “isn’t necessary right now.”
But now it’s necessary.
The U.S. needs someone who knows what they’re doing to save American airplane manufacturing. After its best decade in history, Boeing is tangled in a devastating crisis.
The 737 Max remains grounded after two new planes crashed within five months resulting in 346 deaths. The company halted Max production in December .
Boeing executives are now telling customers the 737 Max will remain grounded until June or July . That will be 16 months on the ground since aviation authorities banned the airliner from flying. Boeing has had to compensate the families of the victims and settle for financial damages to American and Southwest airlines .
Both the airplane manufacturer and its biggest supplier have had their credit ratings downgraded by Moody’s. A Bank of America analyst estimates the total cost of the Max crisis to reach $20 billion. “Boeing recorded a negative number of commercial airplane sales” in 2019 because of cancellations. Analysts expect Boeing’s fourth quarter earnings to be “an absolute disaster.” Boeing stock has plummeted 28% since its March 2019 peak.
Boeing faces severe challenges.
But working with Elon Musk would give the company a much-needed confidence boost. And he could help Boeing create one of its safest and most exciting products ever while moving the world closer to a sustainable, zero-carbon economy.
Boeing’s new CEO Dave Calhoun told reporters on a conference call Wednesday that he’s scrapping current plans for a key jetliner. The company is going to start over designing its “797” New Midsize Airplane (NMA):
We’re going to start with a clean sheet of paper again; I’m looking forward to that.
Hand that sheet of paper to Elon Musk.
He has a stellar record of making safe, cost-saving, environmentally friendly products. And they’re fun and exciting to boot, some flair the airline industry could use.
The Model 3 is the safest car ever tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), whose testing procedures determined Tesla’s newest car has the lowest probability of injury in a collision of any of the over 900 cars NHTSA has tested. In second place is Model S, and in third — you guessed it — Model X.
An electric Boeing airplane would also cut costs for its customers and reduce the world’s dependence on fossil fuels. Elon Musk saves consumers who buy Teslas thousands of dollars on fuel . His electric cars also save money on lower-cost maintenance . That’s because they’re simpler and have fewer moving parts .
Musk has an epic track record of cost savings in aerospace too, not just on the road. He fundamentally transformed the space economy by cutting rocket launch costs from $18,500 per kilogram to $2,720 per kilogram with the SpaceX Falcon 9. An Elon Musk designed, all-electric airliner is what Boeing needs to get off the ground again.