Elon Musk has teased a concept for an electric plane during an appearance on a podcast where he also smoked marijuana.
The Tesla and Space X boss, whose companies are involved with the development of electric cars and reusable rockets, told the Joe Rogan Experience podcast that he had an idea for an electric plane but electric cars and solar energy were more pressing technologies.
The wide-ranging interview also saw the controversial entrepreneur smoking marijuana offered to him by host Joe Rogan.
Marijuana is legal in California, where the interview took place.
Musk revealed he had thought “quite a lot” about developing a plane, one that would use the same vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) mechanism as SpaceX rockets.
“I have a design for a plane,” he said when asked about the subject by Rogan.
“The exciting thing to do would be some sort of electric vertical take-off and landing supersonic jet of some kind.
“The trick is that you have to transition to level flight.
“The thing that you would use for vertical take-off and landing is not suitable for high-speed flight.
“I’ve thought about this quite a lot.
“The interesting thing about an electric plane is you want to do as high as possible, but you need a certain energy density in the battery pack, because you have to overcome gravitational potential energy.
“Once you’ve overcome gravitational potential energy and you’re at a high altitude, the energy you use in cruise is very low, and then you can recapture a large part of your gravitational potential energy on the way down.
“So you really don’t need any kind of reserve fuel.”
Despite giving such a detailed answer, Musk quickly added that other technologies that could help combat climate change were more pressing currently.
“The electric aeroplane isn’t necessary right now. Electric cars are important, solar energy is important, stationary storage of energy is important.
“These things are much more important than creating electric supersonic VTOL.”
He added that humanity’s dependency on fossil fuels was insane, and their use had been the “dumbest experiment in human history” and called for an acceleration of the transition to sustainable energy to end the “crazy game” humans were playing with the atmosphere and the oceans.