The rift between Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk is said to be rooted in the competition between SpaceX and Blue Origin in the space exploration game. Even if there is a major difference between the two companies, the two CEOs seem to still get under each other’s skin. SpaceX has a long-term mission to build a Mars civilization, while Blue Origin is more focused on putting up a base on the moon.
Bezos experienced the downfall of Blue Origin when SpaceX began dominating the space technology and exploration ventures for private companies. In 2015, Blue Origin successfully landed its reusable rocket after a few minutes of being sent to space. The Amazon CEO tweeted about his pride with this accomplishment, referring to reusable rockets as a “rare beast.” Elon then made a pass at Bezos, saying it that it isn’t quite rare, and casually dropping the SpaceX Grasshopper rocket’s 6 suborbital flights that are still operational to this day. With the success of SpaceX in the launch of its reusable rocket, the bar for it has been set high.
In 2019, Jeff Bezos shaded Elon Musk’s plan to send SpaceX rockets out for Mars exploration in a tweet that challenged aspiring Mars inhabitants to try living at Mount Everest to get a glimpse of what it’s like to live on the red planet.
It seems as though Jeff Bezos carries quite a heavy frustration for Elon Musk, that he plans on hitting him where it hurts most, Musk’s largest income-generating business, Tesla.
Jeff is aware that he lacked the expertise in coming up with a new idea that could beat Tesla, so he sought out some electric car maker startups. He began with a $530 million investment to Aurora - a self-driving technology company - in February 2019, then another unknown amount to Rivian in September of that same year, along with an order of 100,000 delivery vans. Though these moves do not say much, the next one will.
In June 2020, the Climate Pledge program under Amazon was launched. The capital fund venture’s vision closely resembles that of Tesla's energy. While Tesla energy aims to “accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy”, Climate Pledge intends to pave the way for zero carbon emission. The fund has $2 billion in its name, which Bezos will use to invest in other non-Tesla companies that work on sustainable living. Tesla energy is doing well in its clean energy endeavors with the establishment of the Tesla Powerwall and pack. The company is working on a centralized power flow from solar panels, to energy storage, and to an EV charging station.
In an attempt to add more into the “anti-Tesla portfolio”, Bezos swooped in to catch Zoox after Tesla filed a lawsuit against the self-driving startup’s employees who formerly worked for Tesla, accusing them of leaking private company information. Zoox not only develops autonomous driving software but is also working on producing their own electric car to integrate the software into.
Jeff Bezos is reportedly planning to use Zoox vehicles for Amazon deliveries and a future ride-sharing network plan similar to Lyft and Uber.