Elon Musk and Bill Gates had a very peculiar connection that eventually turned into an unconventional rivalry.
In a more recent BBC interview, Gates criticized Musk’s plans to someday colonize Mars as being excessively expensive and a poor use of his money because it could be used for other initiatives to enhance life on Earth.
“It’s actually quite expensive to go to Mars,” Gates said during the interview. “You can buy measles vaccines and save lives for $1,000 per life saved, and so it just sort of grounds you, as in: don’t go to Mars.”
Gates, who once held the title of richest man in the world, has used a large portion of his fortune on charitable causes and the research of vaccines.
Despite Musk’s dedication to the colonization of Mars, in his opinion, the Tesla CEO will “be a great philanthropist.”
“Obviously, you know, things like Tesla are having a positive impact, even without being a form of philanthropy.”
Gates’ tone toward Tesla has always baffled Musk, especially considering that the business is largely considered as the clear market leader for electric vehicles.
Additionally, it has advanced the sustainability agenda through practical energy solutions in addition to automobiles.
At one point, Gates asked Musk if he would be interested in teaming together for potential charitable endeavors. “Do you still have a half billion dollar short position against Tesla?” Musk said in return.
Gates acknowledged that he had not yet ruled it out, and that was sufficient for Musk to rule out the possibility of cooperation.
“Sorry, but I cannot take your philanthropy on climate change seriously when you have a massive short position against Tesla, the company doing the most to solve climate change,” Musk said.
“Well, you know, I think Tesla’s an amazing company. Uh, I wish I’d, you know, owned, been more on the long side,” Gates said in an interview with Bloomberg just a few days later. “But, you know, it’s great. And you know, I have lots of relatives who own Teslas that I’ve helped buy for them. So you know, nothing but positive thoughts about Tesla and its role.”