Dear Elon Musk,
Hear me out. One of the biggest challenges facing Tesla is that there’s been nothing better than the standard lithium battery invented since. It’s as if humanity, with all its greatness and creativity, has hit a brick wall and can’t get past. You have brought us the real possibility that the world could see a total transition from gasoline to electric vehicles, solving countless related problems in the process (like dependence on foreign oil).
However, even you have not yet been able to solve this conundrum; to find a way to make batteries smaller and longer lasting. To achieve this, of course, you need research and probably a lot of money.
My concern is that your space ambitions, however noble and impressive as they are, could result in neither prospect getting the dedication and focus they need to truly succeed. Let’s just say hypothetically that you abandoned the SpaceX program, and put all of that money into research of new battery technology to the point you created something to replace lithium technology; you would open the floodgates to billions in extra revenues. Not only would you be able to put smaller and more affordable electric cars into the hands of everybody, swallowing swathes of market share, your battery technology could be licensed to smartphone manufacturers who would pay a high price.
Surely with that money you would have no problem funding the most ambitious of space programs. I am just saying that I worry you are spreading yourself too thin and that you owe it to yourself and the world to figure out the battery thing, make Tesla affordable and in so doing make gasoline obsolete.
A revolutionized battery should be your primary focus, as it will enable you to do so much more. Don’t get it right and you could face the risk of SpaceX never really profiting sustainably, and Tesla remaining the expensive and unattainable luxury it is today – and missing your chance to change the world in a far greater way than you have already.
Get on it.