Forget Cars: Tesla Wants to Power Your House

elon musk iron manIf there’s one thing we’ve learned in recent years in the tech sector, it’s to never, ever underestimate Elon Musk.

This is a guy who took Wall Street by storm. His car company, Tesla (TSLA), has been a market darling. In October of 2012, you could have bought a share of Tesla stock for about $28. That share will cost you over $200 today.

Tesla has a market cap of nearly $28 billion despite never having had a year with positive earnings. EPS for the trailing 12 months is ($2.36). For comparison purposes, Tesla’s market cap is only a little less than half that of General Motors, which had net income of $2.8 billion last year.

Such is the genius of Elon Musk that he’s convinced investors he has a product whose sales will grow, essentially, to the moon.

Thus when we came across a story headlined Why Tesla’s Battery for Your Home Should Terrify Utilities, we had to take a look.

Seems that during a mostly disappointing Tesla earnings call last week, Musk casually dropped the news that his company is working on a full-house battery that could help you break up with your expensive utility company and propel you into off-grid self-sufficiency. You can listen to the call if you’re curious.

Interest in solar power is nothing new for Elon. He chairs a company called SolarCity, which has been installing panels on people’s roofs since 2006, now has 168,000 customers, and controls 39% of the residential solar market.

With solar power the big bugaboo is energy storage—when the sun is shining, you aren’t always using electricity, and vice versa. So your solar power always had to come with a regular utility hookup or a giant room full of expensive and toxic lead acid batteries (99% of people opted for the former, of course). Now along comes Musk, claiming that he has a battery on the way that’ll solve that problem. The design should be available to see within the next month or two, and production could begin in as little as six months.

Musk says that within 5-10 years, every set of solar panels that SolarCity installs will come with a battery pack. That dovetails nicely with last fall’s announcement that Tesla will build a vast “gigafactory” for producing lithium-ion batteries in Nevada. Not everyone is convinced, let it be said.

How successful these efforts will be remains to be seen. But as noted at the outset, this is one tough cookie to bet against.

Elon Musk plans to launch 4,000 satellites to deliver high-speed Internet access anywhere on Earth “all for the purpose of generating revenue to pay for a city on Mars.”

The SpaceX Dragon capsule is prepared for a private event Friday at Seattle Center, which was headlined by SpaceX chief Elon Musk. The capsule will be on display at the Museum of Flight through Monday

Serial entrepreneur and tech billionaire Elon Musk visited Seattle Friday but made clear he has higher aspirations when he told the crowd at a glitzy private event, “One day I will visit Mars.”

According to a person who was present, Musk outlined a new space venture centered in Washington state that he hopes will bankroll that ambition.

Inside the Fisher Pavilion at Seattle Center Friday evening, Musk proclaimed “the launch of SpaceX Seattle” to a crowd of about 400 invited guests who reacted with rousing applause.

The majority of those present were hand-picked engineers identified by SpaceX recruiters as potential hires.

Also attending were at least two members of Congress and local government and state officials. Media were not invited.

As guests drank beer and wine and sipped Champagne from glasses etched with the SpaceX logo, Musk outlined an audacious plan to build a constellation of some 4,000 satellites, a network in space that could deliver high-speed Internet access anywhere on Earth.

Those satellites are to be designed by software and aerospace engineers in SpaceX’s new engineering office in Redmond.

Musk set this plan in the context of his well-known obsession with Mars.

The person present said Musk told the crowd that the satellite endeavor is “all for the purpose of generating revenue to pay for a city on Mars.”

The crowd lapped up his futuristic vision.

Alex Pietsch, director of Gov. Jay Inslee’s aerospace office, said one University of Washington graduate student at the event told him, “I don’t want to move to L.A. or Florida or Texas. Having this here is really cool.”

Pietsch said Musk, who is making his plans here without any financial incentives from the state, met privately before the event with Inslee at the nearby Chihuly Garden and Glass museum.

Inslee thanked Musk for his investment and the two had a friendly chat about space, clean energy and Tesla, Pietsch said.

“It’s pretty exciting for this region to have SpaceX as part of the aerospace community,” Pietsch added.

As the crowd entered the Fisher Pavilion, they walked past a prop SpaceX had set up: a Dragon space capsule.

Demonstrating that Musk has translated some of his vision into reality, the heavily worn spacecraft has shot into orbit on the tip of a Falcon 9 rocket, then hurtled back to Earth after delivering cargo to the International Space Station.

After the event, the Dragon was to be moved to the Museum of Flight, where it will be on display through Monday.

The South African-born Musk, 43, made his fortune as a co-founder of PayPal, then started Tesla Motors to reinvent the car and SpaceX to pursue his Mars ambition.

As he addressed the crowd, Musk’s image was projected onto giant screens. He made a short speech, then took about 15 questions from the crowd, about 20 minutes in all.

He made clear he’s coming here for the local software and aerospace engineers.

“We want to hire the smartest engineering talent in the world,” he said.

Earlier this week, Musk told Bloomberg News he will ultimately employ “several hundred people, maybe a thousand people” in Washington state.

Friday night, he spoke of “slow but steady and significant growth” in employment here and cautioned the engineers to be patient.

Musk asked them to try again if they don’t hear back from SpaceX soon.

“It’s hard to hire 500 people all at once,” he said.

Musk, who had visited his new Redmond offices earlier in the afternoon, left the Seattle Center event after about an hour.

Glancing back, he’d have seen the SpaceX logo lit up on the exterior of the building, with the Space Needle in the background.


Dominic Gates: 206-464-2963


Tesla stock falls after Musk says company won’t profit until 2020


Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk, left, and Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval shake hands following a press conference where Nevada was announced as the new site for a $5 billion car battery gigafactory, at the Capitol in Carson City, Nev., on Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Cathleen Allison)

Wed, Jan 14, 2015 (2:47 p.m.)

Tesla fell 6% in trading on Wednesday, closing at $193 a share.

The stock dipped as low as $188 before recovering.

The drop was signaled Tuesday when CEO Elon Musk told a group of journalists at the Detroit Auto Show that Tesla sales in China were disappointing in the fourth quarter and that the company would not achieve profitability until 2020.

Read the full story from Business Insider

Tsla punked Nevada: Tesla’s Musk says Nevada will get 6k jobs, not 6.5k

punkedTesla CEO Elon Musk told Fox Business News today that he expects to create 6,000 direct jobs in Nevada, lower than the 6,500 often touted.

When asked about unfair tax breaks in Nevada, FBN reported: “According to Musk, Nevada is a state that ‘knows the house’ and if you have ever been to Vegas, you know that the house always wins.

One more tidbit: Musk said that on average, a new Tesla supercharger station goes live every 20 hours.

You should be able to watch the full interview below. If not, go here. Also, there’s a Fox Business summary with additional details not in the video here.