DETROIT -- In the dead of winter, Elon Musk, electric-vehicle and space-flight entrepreneur, got on a plane at 6 a.m. in Southern California and took off for frigid Detroit.
Musk, who divides his week between two companies and five young sons, may have been hesitant to make the trip. A few months earlier, Michigan had passed a law blocking his EV company, Tesla Motors Inc., from selling or even displaying its cars at factory-owned showrooms in the state.
And the forecast low in Detroit was 3 degrees.
Still, he went.
Musk -- a bona fide icon in Silicon Valley but still an enigma in Detroit -- made his way to the Renaissance Center, home of General Motors, to deliver an important message to his audience about the future, if only they would listen.
"Electric cars are just fundamentally better," Musk said at the start of an hourlong talk at the Automotive News World Congress. "I think that's where the future is going to go, but it's only going to go there if the big car companies make risky decisions to do electric vehicles. I hope they do, and we're trying to be as helpful as we can be."