In the ever-evolving landscape of clean energy, a verbal joust between two industry heavyweights has taken center stage. Australian mining billionaire Andrew Forrest, CEO of Fortescue Metals, recently addressed his differences with Elon Musk, the iconic chief of Tesla, shedding light on the contentious debate between hydrogen and electric batteries.
Earlier this year, Forrest labeled Musk a “muppet” for dismissing hydrogen as a viable clean fuel. This week, responding to a shareholder’s inquiry during Fortescue’s annual meeting, Forrest delved into the intricacies of his clashes with Musk, suggesting that the Tesla chief’s opposition to hydrogen might stem from a strategic bet on electric batteries.
Forrest underscored a vision of a harmonious coexistence between hydrogen and batteries, referring to it as the “miracle marriage.” Contrary to merely promoting hydrogen for Fortescue’s gain, he hinted that Musk’s stance against hydrogen could be driven by Tesla’s substantial investment in electric batteries.
In drawing parallels between himself and Musk, Forrest emphasized being heavily invested in batteries, albeit not from personal funds. He sought to distinguish his perspective, asserting that his advocacy for hydrogen wasn’t solely for personal gain.
Musk has been vocally critical of hydrogen as a practical fuel source, citing challenges such as low density necessitating highly pressurized fuel storage. The SpaceX and Tesla CEO has previously referred to hydrogen-related technologies as “mind-bogglingly stupid” and “fool cells.”
With Forrest ranked 57th on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index and Musk’s Tesla experiencing a meteoric rise in value, the clash between these billionaires carries broader implications. Musk’s advocacy for electric batteries has significantly boosted Tesla’s market value, while Fortescue, under Forrest’s leadership, has seen its shares double in the same period.