Musk—a driving force behind Tesla, SolarCity, SpaceX and PayPal—said Monday that disruption only happens when people try to develop "fundamentally better" options. For Musk, that currently means bringing sustainable energy and transportation to an affordable scale.
"If there's a need for something to be disrupted and it's important to the future of the world then sure, we can disrupt it," he said at the Edison Electric Institute's annual convention.
Musk's attempts at fundamental change through electric carmaker Tesla have yet to yield financial gains to match his ambition. In its first quarter of this year, Tesla posted a loss of 36 cents per share, and most consumers are still priced out of its vehicles.
The company's recently unveiled Powerwall solar home and business battery has also been called too expensive to be feasible for most consumers.
Musk contends that bringing electric car and truck production to an affordable scale will eventually help their adoption. He noted that Tesla's cars have gradually grown less expensive, and the coming Model 3 is slated to price around $35,000 upon its 2017 release.
At the EEI convention, Tesla's chief technical officer, JB Straubel, noted prices could dip "much faster than most people expect."
"What we're going to see the most in the next few years is a massive increase in scale," Straubel said.
Both Musk and Straubel touted the potential for alternative energy development to play into the widespread adoption of batteries similar to the Powerwall or those in Tesla's vehicles. Musk believes electric and solar power generation and consumption will ramp up as regulation and other factors squeeze the use of carbon-producing energy sources.
"The long term is very positive for electric power generation," he said. "My rough guess would be that there is more than a doubling of utility-level electricity in the long term."
Musk added that the progression would happen with developments that increase both the affordability and efficiency of alternative sources, which he said was fundamentally better for consumers in the long term.