So, one day soon stay tuned for a very long, very in-depth, very detailed, very drooling discussion of Tesla Motors. I’ll be covering *glowingly, their backing (ahem: PayPal co-founder Elon Musk, &… Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page et. al.) what I’ve perceived to be their strategic genius in their initial funding, and until relatively recently, their obsession with secrecy to come out of nowhere to be positioned as the Ultimate car company of the future! Anyway.. color me shocked that they are backed by my favorite industry de-stabilizers, the Google Boys. It occurred to me almost instantly that in a few years, when solar costs come down to parity with coal, etc… that to combine that with a beautiful, efficient, powerful, long-range sedan would be the killer app of the alternative energy revolution. And then some. ‘Free’ Green Power + Relatively Cheap Car that never breaks down = World peace
So that leads us to…. y’know, I guess the intelligence required to hire a ridiculous percentage of P.H.D.s on the planet lends itself to the investing acumen required to, well… see the future. Its alot less hard than one might think.
Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page (along with brother Carl Page) are investors in Nanosolar, whose last round of financing netted them a cool 100 million. They specialize in thin-film solar cells. These thin-film solar cells are less efficient in harvesting the sun’s energy than traditional crystalline solar cells, but will cost-efficiently cover everything from your house, to your laptop, to window shades. Transparently. Which… if you hadn’t guessed, will rock. Alot.
“Nanosolar has a thin-film technology that it claims is 10 times as cost-efficient as traditional cells, and a printing-based manufacturing technique that it says will bring the price down to less than a dollar per watt, competitive with natural gas and peak electricity prices (see Redherring.com article: 10 Cleantech Companies to Watch: Nanosolar).”
Some stats from Nanosolar.com
March 2006: Nanosolar’s research and development team produces cells with world-record efficiency: the most efficient printed cell ever. NREL certifies these efficiencies achieved.
June 2006: Nanosolar secures $100,000,000 from a global group of top investors (the “largest greentech financing in 2006“). Nanosolar commences with its plan to build a factory with annual output of multiple 100MW’s. [More info]
August 2006: Nanosolar and Conergy announce a cooperation agreement. [More info]
January 2007: Nanosolar secures 647,0000 sqft of space for manufacturing. [More info]
March 2007: The U.S. Department of Energy selects Nanosolar among a stiffly competitive field of applicants and awards $20 million to the company. [More info]
March 2007: James McNicholas, Hitachi’s top finance executive, joins Nanosolar as Chief Financial Officer. [More info]
[* upon some further diging we find a little more proof. Elon Musk, by the way, is one of my freakin hero’s. from his Blog as Chairman of Tesla Motors:
Becoming Energy Positive
I should mention that Tesla Motors will be co-marketing sustainable energy products from other companies along with the car. 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.]
As I said, more on Tesla Motors later. And I’m sure we’ll be keeping track of the dynamic duo of Sweet Elctric Car + Renewable Energy!