Tesla has dropped the “motors” from its name in a race to become the world’s solar supplier

A solar roof and electric vehicle in every garage.
A solar roof and electric vehicle in every garage.
Image: Nichola Groom/Reuters
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Let there no longer be any doubt that entrepreneur Elon Musk sees Tesla’s future as an energy company, and not just an electric car company. Musk officially eliminated the “motors” from the company’s name in a Feb. 1 filing with the US Securities & Exchange Commission, changing the name of the business from Tesla Motors to Tesla Inc.

Musk, Tesla’s founder and CEO, had alluded to this moment in his 2006 Master Plan, which called for building an electric sports car, plowing profits back into development of a mass-market vehicle, and then deploying a carbon-free, solar electricity system for our energy needs. With the expected 2017 production of Tesla’s $35,000 Model 3 electric and the company’s $2.6 billion acquisition of SolarCity last November, Musk now has most of the pieces he needs to build that vision, and a brand that extends beyond cars to include solar panels and commercial and residential energy storage systems.

Tesla wants to make intermittent renewable energy from the sun more reliable and affordable than traditional fossil fuels. 

By building a so-called Gigafactory with Panasonic in the Nevada desert, Musk is expected to churn out a new, cheaper breed of lithium-ion batteries, significantly undercutting cost predictions, and matching the falling trajectory of solar electricity prices. 

And Tesla already has found fertile ground for its storage products in California. To help generate 50% of its electricity from carbon-free energy sources by 2030, the state is adding 77.5 megawatts of energy storage to its electricity grid, reports the Los Angeles Times. And recently, Southern California Edison installed 400 Tesla PowerPack units at its  Mira Loma substation. The lithium-ion batteries, enough to supply 2,500 homes all day, will replace natural gas typically used to generate electricity during peak demand.