Musk wants Tesla to own SolarCity, but his end game is even bigger

Elon Musk
Critics, skeptics, and analysts are piling on Elon Musk, tromping all over Tesla’s announcement of plans to buy SolarCity. They may be focusing on the wrong level, however. There is likely a much larger, long-term plan in play, one leading to a holding company that oversees Musk’s interests and has the funding and credibility to launch future ventures, similar to Google’s transition to Alphabet.

The scope of Elon Musk’s plans, like the reach of his enterprises, is on a much larger scale than we might expect. Combining companies has been Musk’s game plan from the start, according to Electrek.

Battery-operated, self-driving cars. Delivery service to satellites with reusable booster rockets. Transporting people to Mars. Magnetized levitating tubes that whisk people around the world. Capturing free energy from the sun to power our homes and vehicles. Home powerplants hung on the wall. Brain implants to give humans cyborg abilities. And in the midst of these ventures and plans, a constant drive to add more cowbells to products and inventions.

Here’s a portion of the Tesla statement defending the proposed SolarCity acquisition:

“Tesla’s mission has always been tied to sustainability. We seek to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable transportation by offering increasingly affordable electric vehicles … It’s now time to complete the picture. Tesla customers can drive clean cars and they can use our battery packs to help consume energy more efficiently, but they still need access to the most sustainable energy source that’s available: the sun … We would be the world’s only vertically integrated energy company offering end-to-end clean energy products to our customers. This would start with the car that you drive and the energy that you use to charge it, and would extend to how everything else in your home or business is powered.”

If you are going to be a market disrupter you have to be prepared to take on the market, and Musk has the drive and confidence to do just that. During a conference call about the SolarCity acquisition, summarized by Electrek, Musk said, “We are going to be the world’s best manufacturer … and not by a small margin but by a margin that people didn’t even think is possible.”

In 2012 when Elon Musk responded to a question about moving capital between SpaceX and Tesla, according to Electrek, he said, “They are separate corporations, so capital cannot be moved between them. Am starting to consider whether it would make sense to create a parent corporation that would own the stock, which would make that easier. Not sure if that is feasible or sensible, but am thinking about it.”

So we can see that Telsa isn’t driven by quarterly profits or nearside ROI. Signs are Musk is following a much longer term game plan, one encompassing decades. If one of the near-term moves is to create a parent holding company for Tesla Motors, Tesla Energy, SolarCity, and SpaceX, it will be interesting to learn what it will be called. Google chose ‘Alphabet,’ a word that enables all other words. One reasonable suggestion for a Musk-driven holding company is “Superstring.”


Volvo plans to face the future without sacrificing its identity

Volvo is embarking on an ambitious push to fill its lineup with electric and hybrid cars, as well as an infotainment partnership with Google. Volvo Americas CEO Anders Gustafsson explains how the Swedish automaker plans to pull that off.

Tesla keeps promise with more affordable Model 3 with midrange battery pack

Tesla is keeping its promise of making the Model 3 gradually more affordable. The company released a new variant of the car with a mid-range, 260-mile battery option that's priced under the $50,000 mark.

Hold on to your butts: These are the fastest cars in the world

Think your car is unbelievably fast? Think again. From wind-cheating bodywork to powerful engines, these cars were designed for the singular pursuit of speed (and it shows).
Home Theater

Make your vinyl collection really shine with one of the best phono preamps

Whether you're looking for a quick fix to set up your first turntable or a long-term audio upgrade for higher-quality sound, here are the best phono preamps you can buy that won't empty out your wallet.

'4WD' or 'AWD'? Which setup is right for you?

Although four-wheel drive (4WD) and all-wheel drive (AWD) are related, they are actually quite different in how they operate. Here, we talk about the fundamental differences between the two systems, and what it means for you as a driver.

Google Maps now shows EV owners the way to the nearest charging station

Google Maps now lets electric-car owners find the nearest charging station with ease. It's also added data on the number and types of ports available, charging speeds, and notes on the business where the station is located.
Product Review

Audi's new A8 is so sophisticated and serene, it practically deletes potholes

The 2019 Audi A8’s outline looks promising: Level 3 autonomous driving capability, haptic-feedback infotainment screens, rear-wheel steering, Matrix LED headlights and OLED taillights, plus a predictive suspension.

Heads up, George Jetson: Terrafugia starts taking orders for its flying car

The Terrafugia Transition flying car will go on sale next year, roughly a decade after the first prototype rolled out of its hangar. Terrafugia promises improvements, including a hybrid powertrain, to make up for the long wait.

At 503 mph, Turbinator II is the world’s fastest wheel-driven vehicle

The Turbinator II is a four-wheel drive streamliner powered by a 5,000-horsepower helicopter engine, and it just achieved 503.332 mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats. That's an unofficial record for a wheel-driven car.

Lyft has a new fixed-price subscription plan for frequent passengers

Lyft wants you to save money by using rideshare services instead of owning a car. The new Lyft All-Access Plan monthly rideshare trip subscription includes 30 rides a month with a small discount for additional trips.

Could the next Mazda3 boast a fuel-saving breakthrough in engine tech?

Mazda released a teaser video that likely previews the next Mazda3. Expected to make its global debut at the L.A. auto show, the next 3 will wear a more curvaceous design and offer one of the most advanced engines in the automotive…

Workhorse takes on diesel with lighter, cheaper NGEN-1000 electric delivery van

Ohio-based Workhorse Group claims its new NGEN-1000 electric delivery van costs the same as a conventional diesel van and can haul a similar amount of cargo. A lower curb weight makes this possible.

Forget transponders with Peasy’s nationwide pay-as-you-go toll service

Verra Mobility launched Peasy, a consumer highway and bridge toll payment service. Designed to be less hassle than managing traditional transponder or toll tag accounts, Peasy pays tolls as they are levied across most of the U.S.

Just 10 people will get to put this limited-edition Audi R8 in their garages

The 2018 Audi R8 V10 Plus Competition makes use of Audi's motor sports experience to turn up the performance dial. Decreased weight and increased aerodynamic downforce make this R8 a track monster.