Elon Musk inventions


Tesla Motors, electric car

These days, it’s impossible not to think of Musk without quickly thinking of Tesla, the publicly traded electric-car company whose stock has increased nearly 700 percent in the last 2.5 years to just under $213 a share at press time. Despite reporting third-quarter results that missed Wall Street expectations, the company boasts revenues of $1.24 billion and claims strong guidance for future deliveries.

There’s plenty of demand for the cars, especially the upcoming Model 3 (which boasts a range of 200 miles and will start at $35,000), but the company continues to struggle with manufacturing enough cars to keep up with that demand. That is why it plans to sell $500 million shares of stock to fund capital expenditures. 

SpaceX, Falcon rocket

Musk’s aerospace company may be just as famous as his automobiles. Founded in 2002 to help reduce the cost of space transportation and enable the colonization of Mars, SpaceX’s Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 rockets are designed to be reusable. The company has flown six cargo resupply missions to the International Space Station  and has been awarded a contract by NASA to develop a spacecraft to take crew members to and from the ISS. 

The company (which is privately held) did suffer a setback earlier this year when one of its Falcon 9 rockets exploded after liftoff. It has since suspended flights, giving it time to redesign the two-foot metal bar that failed and, according to Musk, caused the explosion.  

X.com (PayPal) e-payments

In 1999, Musk co-founded a company called X.com, which focused on financial services and email payments. A year later, X.com merged with Confinity and adopted the name of that company’s best-known service, PayPal. The two technologies created a powerhouse that led the way in online payments, which was eventually bought by eBay in 2002 for $1.5 billion. Musk pocketed $165 million from that deal. 

SolarCity, solar-power systems

Co-founded in 2006 by Musk and his cousins, SolarCity has since grown to become the second-largest provider of solar-power systems in the country, with revenues of $102.8 million in the most recent quarter. While it’s centered in California, it also provides installations in select areas of 14 other states (and the District of Columbia). 

It’s in the process of creating storage systems letting people tap into power produced by solar panels at night. The company is also working with Tesla to offer free solar-powered charging stations to owners of the vehicles traveling Route 101 from San Francisco to Los Angeles or back.