Elon Musk is building James Bond's amphibious Lotus, for real

Eccentric billionaire tells Stuff his plans for an amphibious sports car, a self-driving Tesla and a city on Mars

Billionaire Paypal, Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk was unmasked last year as the mystery buyer of the original Lotus Esprit submarine used in The Spy Who Loved Me, and it was speculated at the time that he might try to make the movie prop work for real. In conversation with Stuff this morning, Musk revealed that he is indeed building an amphibious vehicle.

"It'll be about 20% larger than the original", Musk told us, "but it'll look like the Lotus Esprit. It'll use the powertrain from a Tesla Model S, and it'll be a real, working amphibious vehicle." 

Musk, who is already pretty close to being a character from a Bond movie anyway, admitted that the creation of his aqua-Lotus is a lower priority than creating a more affordable Tesla - he's aiming for a model that's "about 20% smaller, and half the price" - and a network of Supercharger units that will allow you to drive anywhere in Britain without running out of juice by the end of next year. "We will make more than one amphibious Lotus," said Musk, "but it'll be single figures."

While it's unlikely you'll get anywhere close to being able to afford one of Musk's submersible Bond cars, you will soon be able to buy a self-driving Tesla: Musk told us that "you'll be able to go from highway on-ramp to highway off-ramp with the car driving itself - and we'll have that technology available within a year".

Still further down the line, Musk says his plans include a manned SpaceX mission to Mars "within the next 10 years", in a "large vessel". With enough investment, Musk says it would be possible to build a city on the Red Planet, further confirming his status as someone from the pages of a graphic novel. More details to follow soon.

(picture of Elon Musk staring intently at a robot: Steve Jurvetson)