In late June Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors made an up to $2.8 billion bid to purchase SolarCity, the nation’s largest rooftop solar installer, owned by his cousin Lyndon Rive. Last week, almost a month to the SolarCity announcement, Musk announced his “Master Plan, Part Deux” building on the original plan that discussed solar and SolarCity.
When Tesla announced its proposal to purchase SolarCity it surprised many, but it should noted that Musk is chairman of the company and has had ties to it since its inception. In the original master plan Musk noted: “Tesla Motors will be co-marketing sustainable energy products from other companies along with the car,” Musk said at that time.
“For example, among other choices, we will be offering a modestly sized and priced solar panel from SolarCity, a photovoltaics company (where I am also the principal financier). This system can be installed on your roof in an out of the way location, because of its small size, or set up as a carport and will generate about 50 miles per day of electricity,” Musk remarked a decade ago.
Now with the proposed acquisition of SolarCity and other recent moves Tesla is moving to market itself as not just an electric car company but as an energy company. In the new master plan Musk wrote that one of the plans is to: “Create a smoothly integrated and beautiful solar-roof-with-battery product that just works, empowering the individual as their own utility, and then scale that throughout the world.” He added: “We can't do this well if Tesla and SolarCity are different companies, which is why we need to combine and break down the barriers inherent to being separate companies. That they are separate at all, despite similar origins and pursuit of the same overarching goal of sustainable energy, is largely an accident of history. Now that Tesla is ready to scale Powerwall and SolarCity is ready to provide highly differentiated solar, the time has come to bring them together.”
The announcements were made as part of a larger plan to expand Tesla, which includes developing autonomous vehicles, sharing vehicles (like ZipCar), more electric vehicles, including a compact SUV and “a new kind of pickup truck,” among other things. The company also plans to introduce heavy-duty trucks and “high passenger-density urban transport”—like a bus.
Ultimately Musk summed up his new master plan for Tesla with four major concentrations: “Create stunning solar roofs with seamlessly integrated battery storage; Expand the electric vehicle product line to address all major segments; Develop a self-driving capability that is 10X safer than manual via massive fleet learning and; Enable your car to make money for you when you aren't using it.”Tweet