In this job you get to meet a lot of car company CEOs. If you love the business as I do it's always fascinating.

With a few notable exceptions though, these big cheeses behave and act with a certain uniformity. They don't all make sense mind you and I don't always agree with them. But the similarities are refreshing when you think about it. 

This week, though, I had my first chat with Tesla founder and CEO, Elon Musk, and he certainly doesn't fit the stereotype. Nor did the conversation.

We discussed alien life (he thinks it's possible), he wants to build a base on Mars and reckons flights there could be 10 years away, though not for him – "the CEO shouldn't be the test pilot" – and he wants to build a James Bond-style Lotus Esprit-looking amphibious vehicle. The original model used in The Spy Who Loved Me film currently resides in the Tesla design centre by the way.

Read about Tesla's plans for an electric SUV and BMW 3-series rival.

But he's certainly seems not to be a mad fantasist either. Just a bloke who seems to think a bit further ahead than most of us. He claims that one of his prime motivations for founding an electric car company was to spur the rest of the car industry into creating more sustainable transport: "big car companies don't take it seriously. Commercial pressures and regulatory requirements are the only things that move them." He does, though, have a sneaking regard for the BMW i3, but not the i8 sports car, curiously. 

He's also remarkably grounded about his efforts so far. "There's a long way to go with electric cars. Out of 95 million cars per year, we sell 35,000. Globally everyone has work to do for one per cent of cars to be electric". 

Aside from Mars he's also got more grounded ambitions. Motorsport is "being considered" and a UK research and development centre is almost certain to happen. As is a US battery facility that could cope with half a million batteries per year – all destined to go in cars wearing a Tesla badge no doubt.

If I was one of the establishment CEOs I'd be more than a little unnerved by Musk I think.

Read more about Tesla's planned UK R&D centre.

Read more about Tesla's electric SUV and BMW 3-series rival.