Tesla's Name Change Reveals What Almost Everyone Already Knew

Elon Musk's company has dropped 'Motors' from its name, reflecting widening interests from electric vehicles to batteries and solar panels.

Tesla Motors announced Tuesday morning that it had changed its name to Tesla Inc., according to a company filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The move reflects the company's widening interests. Since its founding in 2003, it has branched out from a focus on manufacturing electric cars and components to producing solar energy technologies and renewable energy storage systems.

The company merged with SolarCity in November - a deal, valued at $2 billion, which could boost community- and utility-scale renewable energy projects from Brooklyn, New York to the Hawaiian island of Kauai.

A month prior to the merger, Tesla co-founder and CEO Elon Musk unveiled a collaboration with Solar City that would offer consumers an integrated solar roof, energy storage and charging system for Tesla's fleet of electric vehicles.

Tesla is also helping California with its acute energy-demand needs. Following the massive Aliso Canyon natural gas leak in 2015, state regulators predicted energy shortages. The state greenlighted the installation of nearly 400 Tesla battery packs which could store wind and solar generation at peak times of the day and provide power to roughly 15,000 homes for four hours per day.

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One of the big hurdles for a more widespread deployment of renewable energy technologies is how to store the energy they generate when the wind doesn't blow and the sun isn't shining, which are often the times when energy demand is highest. Tesla's Powerpack and Powerwall lithium-ion battery systems have excited industry-watchers because of their improved efficiency, scalability and affordability.

But Tesla still produces a lot of cars, manufacturing about 50,000 vehicles in 2016. It reported revenues in 2015 of roughly $4 billion and profits of $900 million.

The company did not respond to a request for comment on its name change.

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