A Greener Future: Three Companies Making A Difference

February, 2022.

It's been almost 100 weeks (1 Year and 10 months) on from the very first lockdown and the world still looks a very bleak place - living costs are ever-rising, millions have lost loved ones and in 2022 alone, we've already had five devastating storms causing damage, death and destruction - and scientists say that the ferocity and frequency of these storms are only a further result of the worsening climate change situation.

In the last decade or so, there have been many different initiatives striving to combat climate change and limit/reduce the damage that humans have done and continue to do to Earth. Three in particular have done more than most to improve both the lives of humans and the planet we live on - not just for the present, for a greener and healthier future too.

Ripping Up The Rule-Book: Elon Musk

Still to this day, it's very hard to believe that one of the richest and most influential men in the world who founded both Tesla and SpaceX was once a small, introverted and awkward boy who, in secondary school, was heavily bullied and even hospitalised at one point.

Elon was eldest of three children born into an incredibly wealthy family in South Africa. Musk's dad part-owned an emerald mine in Zambia and was a pilot and sailor and Elon's mother was a model and dietitian from Canada.

Whilst Musk founded Tesla in 2003 at the age of 32, Tesla only started producing their first car (the "Roadster") 5 years later in 2008 - every car since launch being electric.

Tesla's first car was a Tesla Roadster and was delivered to Musk himself. (Edmunds.com)

In 2012, Tesla stopped production of the Roadster and instead focussed their attention on a saloon car called the "Tesla Model S" - this would end up revolutionising not only Tesla, but the entire electric car market.

A 2012 Tesla Model S at a UK Supercharging port (Wikipedia.org)

Surprisingly, the Model S was a monumental hit - over 200,000 cars being sold between 2012 and 2018 - making it the best selling electric car in both 2015 and 2016.

Musk had achieved what no one before him had managed - an all electric car-brand (no petrol/hybrid models) that was thriving and dominating in the electric car market.

Tesla's sales only continued to flourish through 2015 and 2016 as new updates released, allowing the car to be driverless on the motorways. Called "Autopilot", the feature meant that drivers could take their hands and feet off of the pedals and steering wheel and let the car be fully in control/drive itself* - only boosting sales further.

(*Whilst the car was fully in control, the human had to be ready take back control at any time for an emergency).

To date, Tesla has released four different models - the Model S (2012), the Model X (2015), Model 3 (2017) and Model Y (2020) - all with the "Autopilot"

Tesla released a further three cars - the models X, 3 and Y - all electric - and all with driverless capabilities.

Musk intentionally named the models to spell out "S3XY" or SEXY as a little comedic joke (Redbubble.com)

With the sale of new petrol cars being banned in 2030, Tesla has massively helped the electric automotive industry.

As of December 2021 there are currently 780 Superchargers (charges quicker than regular) in 87 different locations in the UK - with more being constantly built and all compatible with any electric vehicle.

The more electric car chargers like this, the easier the transition to electric cars will be.

A Tesla at a Supercharger (FleetNews.co.uk)
Number of electric car chargers in Europe per year (vpsolar.com) -

Elon musk has also released a lorry/truck - however how many truck/lorry brands will follow suit (in creating electric/driverless lorries) is unknown.

On the back of Tesla's success, Renault has created an almost fully autonomous car called the Renault Symbioz, which is so advanced (in driving itself) that it's banned from use on public roads. (The UK only allows "Level 3" vehicles on the road, this being a Level 4) - it's the first glimpse of what the future on our roads could look like. Going Up...The Levels Of Autonomy

Level 0 - Vehicle has no automation (at most fixed-speed cruise control) - Most cars before 2010

Level 1 - Vehicle has Automatic Lane Assistance (car automatically keeps to own lane) and/or Adaptive Cruise Control (adapts to car ahead braking/accelerating) - E.G: 2016+ Volvo.

Level 2 - Vehicle has partial driverless features on the motorway/major roads but must be monitored) - Tesla's Autopilot is currently at a Level 2.

Level 3 - vehicle can manage different parts of a journey such as city driver and merging onto a motorway - the driver must be highly vigilant however. Level 4 - A vehicle can complete an entire journey without human intervention or monitoring. Despite this, a Level 4 car will still have a set of pedals and steering wheel. Level 5 - The car has no human controls (pedals/steering wheel) and the human only has to dial in their destination and no matter the circumstance or weather condition (even high wind/snow/rain) the car will cope and know what to do.

It's hoped in the future, when driverless technology is a lot more prevalent, the UK will green-light "Level 4" autonomous cars.

"Up Through The Atmosphere, up where the air is clear..." - SpaceX (Elon Musk)

As well as dominating the electric (and driverless) car market, Elon has also been making revolutionary steps to improve space-travel - cutting costs by the millions and ensuring that travelling to space is more efficient than it's ever been.

In 2013, Musk said that one of his goals was to "to decrease the cost and improve the reliability of access to space ultimately by a factor of ten"

After 120 space launches in 1990, the number of Space Launches dwindled below one hundred for the next 28 years.

Come 2018, Elon helped break the 100 space/rocket launches record that stood for almost two decades with the company he founded called "SpaceX"

Though SpaceX itself was founded in 2002, their first (operational) rocket only launched in 2018.

Despite SpaceX's monumental success now, but back between 2006 and 2008 SpaceX almost bought Musk himself, SpaceX and Tesla into bankruptcy.

Musk was already struggling with the dwindling sales of the (Tesla) Roadster, but with three of SpaceX's first launches all being failures - it was said that a forth would have ran all into bankruptcy - meaning no efficient space-shuttles and only one (failed) Tesla Model - The Roadster. As if by fate, the forth was a success.

By late 2010, SpaceX was making shuttles (Falcon 9 & Dragon) at a rate of one every three months - meaning realistically, SpaceX could launch a rocket twice a year - Comparing the three space shuttles of the 1990's (left) 2011 (last manned mission to space since Space X, middle) and SpaceX first crewed mission - 2020) the size is simply incomparable

In addition to building rockets at an incredibly rapid rate, SpaceX also managed to accomplish simply unheard of tasks - such as firstly landing the first stage before later landing the booster stages. - the icing on the cake being the landing pad which was an autonomous boat/floating landing pad/ship.