The latest wild swings in the Tesla news fueled by New Jersey’s infamous closing of its doors on allowing the company to sell directly, has had greater repercussions than anticipated. Our original $5B Gigafactory and how Tesla will disrupt more than carmakers article, written on March 4th on how disruptive its Gigafactory will be, has gained a lot of traction. Since then, the investment world seems to take Tesla Motors a little more seriously, even the articles on Seeking Alpha are becoming favorable to the company. We are happy to see the specialized press also acknowledging the potential Tesla is, not just as a cheerleader for electric cars, with GreenCarReports writing about how much more than a carmaker the company is. And yes, Panasonic is not the only battery maker wondering where this whole Gigafactory is going and what it means to their business model. I wrote a similar article on CarNewsCafe.
Tesla Motors is.. a lifestyle statement!
Tesla Motors really boils down to two fundamental trends. It is part of the answer many want to see, a different future than the one presented by most companies and what mainstream carmakers are satisfied with. It’s also about one entrepreneur’s vision of wanting a fun electric car to drive, Elon Musk. Doing only what an entrepreneur does best with a startup, it begins with a clean slate. It is extremely nimble and capable of tackling far greater changes than an established company. Tesla Motors has never been, will never be and can never be defined as a carmaker. It is much more than that with Superchargers, soon a battery factory, an indirect solar energy company, and much more. This is what traditional carmakers and investors were having a hard time understanding, the whole picture and how out of the box the Tesla business model is.
If we are blessed and cursed with ADD and always wanting more, this can be a great fuel for innovations, but it can also frighten companies focused on keeping a steady cash flow. Startups need to continuously innovate and at some point, they too become established companies, see Apple and Google, for example. Certain established companies rekindled their original drive and unique DNA, such as IBM going back to consulting, dropping manufacturing out of the equation. That is the only way for a startup to survive in the long run, leaving the rest to linger.
Tesla will continue to innovate, as long as it keeps focusing on what matters. What matters is what we all want, a change, a real change away from the mundane. Tesla answers this and will continue to disrupt more than carmakers, as we noted in our March 4th article.
Solar City and the challenges it faces
Solar City is one of the outlets where Tesla Motors can surprise us the next few years. The company made solar panels a household name, but it faces the entrepreneur’s dilemma, how to go forward and continue innovating.
Solar City is good at one thing, leasing photovoltaic (PV) panels with a promise to cut your electric bill by at least $25. Since then, it has done little more than that. Today, Solar City virtually sits on most rooftops, making it one of the biggest energy maker in the U.S. It will need to move beyond the leasing model, which really isn’t that economical for the long term. Solar City, through Elon Musk’s vision should be where the next Tesla Motors saga will reveal its next strategic move. The Gigafactory will use solar energy and should indirectly motivate Solar City to move beyond simply leasing. It could morph into an energy management company. This is what happened to Coulomb Technology as it spun off its manufacturing process to ChargePoint and got into the management aspects of the business, much like IBM. Solar City is the last company Elon Musk hasn’t reworked yet. It is fully poised to reap the benefits of its energy management before the government runs out of patience with it. With the Superchargers in place, this juggernaut has a complete portfolio for energy management.