Tesla Motors has been an interesting company to watch grow over the past few years. From the introduction of the Model S to the newer roadster and SUV models, the Palo Alto company has been the source of incredible innovation. Elon Musk has been a stalwart leader all throughout. Still, the growth of Tesla Motors has not come without its bumps in the road. Until recently the company has never reported a profit. They just now have. Despite what is considered poor fundamentals, the company’s stock has done extremely well. Tesla’s cars are wonderful. Even so, there is a primary drawback, the cars are tethered to the range of a single battery charge and charging stations that are scarcely available. Developing a car that has an unlimited range should be a primary goal for Tesla Motors. Could the company be looking to do exactly this with its recent acquisition of SolarCity, a solar panel manufacturer? It could be a huge breakthrough.
Tesla’s most recognized car, the Model S, has an operating range of 208 to 315 miles on a single battery charge. This is fine for short trips. Transportation to work and back with a short road trip on the weekends are all the advanced batteries can muster at the moment. Longer use is basically impossible without extreme planning. Your route would have to be planned based on the location of the few public charging stations that are available. Things would be entirely different if the car could charge itself. Two major points highlighted in this Bloomberg article suggest that the electric car company could be planning exactly this. The company recently acquired SolarCity a solar panel manufacturing company. With its acquisition, Tesla acquires a wealth of solar panel manufacturing capital. Machinery, designs, personnel, experience and technology to name a few. This valuable solar capital could be used to integrate solar charging technology into Tesla’s electric cars. If successful, the implications of such a development could be huge for the car manufacturer. No longer would the car be limited to a single charge, or tethered to hard to find charging stations. With an unlimited range, the market for the company’s electric cars would increase exponentially.
If the acquisition of SolarCity was too subtle of a clue, the company also increased its credit line $500 million to $1.8 billion, per the article. Is this a sign of capital investment for the manufacturing of solar powered cars? This comes two months after CEO Elon Musk is quoted as saying that raising debt “wouldn’t be necessary”. As something to follow closely in the coming months, solar panel cars may be a new and evolving plan for Tesla Motors.