Sun, Oct 30, 2016 - Page 16 News List

Tesla expands portfolio to produce solar roof tiles

AFP, LOS ANGELES

Electric automaker Tesla Motors Inc has diversified into the alternative energy business, on Friday unveiling solar roofs for environmentally friendly homes.

“Global warming is a serious crisis and we need to do something about that,” company founder Elon Musk said during a news conference at Universal Studios in Los Angeles.

Musk said that electric cars in the past “didn’t look good... they were like a golf cart,” but Tesla automobiles are now highly desired by movers and shakers including Hollywood stars and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs.

Solar panels need to undergo the same transformation, he said.

“We need to make them as appealing as electric cars have become,” he said. “The goal is to have solar roofs that look better than a normal roof, generate electricity, last longer, have better insulation, and actually have a total cost that is less than the price of a normal roof plus electricity. Why would you buy anything else?” Musk said.

Tesla, which has joined forces with solar panel maker SolarCity Corp, aims to capture 5 percent of the market, Musk said.

The roof tiles are made with extremely strong tempered glass, high-efficiency solar cells and colored film.

“We expect to start installing these roofs sometimes next year,” Musk said.

He also unveiled an updated version of Tesla’s Powerwall, a compact, solar powered battery that can provide the energy to a home or business.

Friday’s event is part of an effort to make the case for the SolarCity acquisition to investors. More details, including financial information, will be revealed on Tuesday, when Tesla has said it plans to “create a clear picture of how a combined Tesla and SolarCity will make solar and storage as compelling as electric vehicles.”

Additional reporting by Bloomberg

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