Written by By Lauren Waldhuter Lauren Waldhuter, CNN
It's hard to imagine a company better suited to battle Elon Musk's all-electric revolution than Bill Gates. And now, the tech mogul himself has purchased the only privately owned electric Porsche 911, only the 50th vehicle of its kind ever made.
The $8 million Porsche 919 Hybrid, a computerized car built to generate economic benefits on the diesel-sucking network of German autobahns, will finally go on sale after it was revealed in a trademark application. The new 911 GT3R will carry a starting price of $166,400, a drop of $35,000 from the 919.
Gates can kick back in his new gleaming Tesla Model S for an electric drive commute. Courtesy Credit: Steve Jurvetson/flickr/CC BY-SA 3.0
Gates' second new purchase this year will cost him $45,000 less -- and that's just for fuel, thanks to the new GT3R's diesel engine.
"How seriously will (Gates) take driving technology?" Musk asked in a tweet Monday. "He's now got an electric Porsche 911."
Bill Gates is now an EV owner.
Self-driving cars are next, according to Musk.
All of the thing are from a motor show, where Musk of Tesla Motors unveiled his $5,000 "Electric Motor Collection" at CES in January. That same month, rival company BMW introduced "BSketch," an electric car concept that melds two technologies that Musk has been pushing for a while: a touchscreen on the steering wheel and a dedicated AI that handles the mundane driving duties.
It's already show business and Bill Gates is now... an EV owner. — Elon Musk () February 18, 2020
Meanwhile, the vast majority of vehicles on US roads are stuck in the gas-guzzling status quo. The US Department of Energy estimated that gas prices were about $1 a gallon below the cost of electric power in 2014. An estimated 4,847,037 passenger vehicles were on US roads that year, generating gas equivalent of 1.2 million barrels of oil a day, according to a US Energy Information Administration report.
There are 435.1 million vehicles currently registered in the US, up 2.2% from 2015, according to The Polk Company, a research firm that specializes in auto trends.
New reports released by Polk and the CNW Marketing Research suggest that, even with fuel prices on the rise and costlier miles, Americans are buying a lot of new cars, a trend that could continue as long as household incomes increase.
It's unclear why Gates would buy such a high-tech model, nor would it make sense to buy one if it's a hobby vehicle. The Cadillac CTS in which he owned a replica from the 1950s was also a pricey collectible. The number of electric cars or hybrids on roads also seems out of proportion with the number of privately owned vehicles.
Others around the world have been buying EVs for years, including Italian billionaire Benetton family scion Mauro Benetton, who co-founded electric car maker Isuzu in the 1960s. He has committed to selling his models for $35,000 each and had at least one for sale on his website. He has previously announced the end of operations for Isuzu in 2019, a move that will affect 2,000 Italian workers.