Is Tesla Motors about to change its name? Now that Tesla Motors owns the domain name Tesla.com, the company could become just Tesla without the Motors. The url belonged to Stu Grossman, a Silicon Valley engineer and devoted fan of Nikola Tesla since 1992. When Elon Musk confirmed the change of ownership in a tweet last week, most people assumed the url was a nice thing to have but nothing more than that.
The folks at The Motley Fool think there may be more to the story. To understand their reasoning, you have to go back to January 9, 2007, That’s the date Apple dropped the word “Computer” from its name. It is also the day it introduced the iPhone. BI suggests Steve Jobs knew the iPhone would transform the company’s business and that it would never again be just a computer company.
Are Elon Musk and Tesla Motors planning a similar move? Just this month, Tesla Motors announced an important agreement to provide grid storage batteries to Kauai Island Utility Cooperative. The deal includes a major installation of solar panels supplied by Tesla’s sister corporation, SolarCity. Together, it represents the largest utility storage project in the history of North America. News of the joint venture has done wonders for Tesla Motors’ stock price, which had plummeted to below $137 a share before the announcement.
Tesla has also announced that it will be opening its first office in Cape Town, and operation aimed solely at bringing renewable grid power to parts of Africa that have never had reliable access to electrical energy.
The common thread in the two announcements is the rise of Tesla’s energy storage business. During this month’s fourth quarter earnings call, Elon Musk told investors that the Gigafactory is already producing batteries for the Powerwall and Powerpack. Not only that, they are showing a profit. Musk sad he expects the business to be a much needed source of revenue for the company even while production is being ramped up.
At the Tesla Energy event last year, Elon dropped hints that he would consider changing the company name to reflect its involvement with energy storage products if it were not for issues about acquiring a suitable domain name. Perhaps with the acquisition of tesla.com, that concern has ceased to be a problem.
Many have always believed that Tesla Motors is not just a car company that also makes batteries; rather it is a battery company that also makes automobiles. The difference in emphasis is more than just semantics. It represents an entirely different way for looking at the company.
Will Tesla Motors now officially change its name to Tesla? Don’t be surprised if it does. Perhaps for his next trick, Elon will convince Ford Motor Company to give up its rights to the name Model E?