Tesla wins approval to buy SolarCity, unveils high-energy model S battery

It's been a good week for Tesla chief executive Elon Musk after the electric vehicle (EV) giant's merger with SolarCity was approved and the firm unveiled a new EV battery which makes the Model one of the fastest production cars in the world.

Yesterday (25 August), it was confirmed that Tesla had won the US ‘antitrust’ law approval to buy solar panel installer SolarCity, following a $2.6bn (£1.9bn) bid made at the beginning of the month. The US Federal Trade Commission approved the deal after the bid was fast tracked for approval after regulators claimed the companies having little to no overlaps.

Tesla’s aim in merging with SolarCity was to combine the two firms’ expertise in storage and solar to create an integrated, domestic solar PV and battery storage solution to generate and store home-brewed power to tesla owners at an upfront cost. The Tesla Powerwall – a home battery solution that generates rechargeable electricity from PV panels – was rolled out into UK markets earlier this year.

In a press statement announcing the merge, Tesla said: “Solar and storage are at their best when they’re combined. As one company, Tesla (storage) and SolarCity (solar) can create fully integrated residential, commercial and grid-scale products that improve the way that energy is generated, stored and consumed.”

Ludicrous mode

Meanwhile, Tesla has announced another big breakthrough this week with the latest update of the company’s flagship fully-electric saloon, the Model S p100d, which is now classified as one of the fastest accelerating production cars ever produced.

Thanks to the incorporation of a new 100kWh battery pack, the p100d reportedly achieves 0-60mph in 2.5 seconds in its ‘ludicrous mode’, making it the third-fastest-accelerating production car ever made. The new battery also increases the energy storage capacity to 315 miles – by far the longest single-charge range of any electric production vehicle.

Tesla says its Model S p100d and upcoming Tesla Model X SUV are manufactured to be the “safest cars on the road”, including a number of health and sustainability conscious features such as the ‘autopilot’ feature and an air filtration unit to protect the driver from pollutants.

System revolutionary

These two announcements cap off an amazing 12 months for Tesla, with the company on a seemingly unrelenting mission to drive the renewables revolution.

Last month, the firm officially opened its doors to its Nevada based Gigafactory – a $5bn production project that will provide “substantial growth” for the company’s electric vehicle and energy storage solutions.

Meanwhile, the second phase of Tesla’s grand plan ‘part deux’ has got underway, including the company’s plans to branch away from motor vehicles and grow into an organisation that will deliver a “sustainable energy economy”.

Alex Baldwin

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