I know everyone will think it a bad idea to merge with a battery company as it would limit Tesla's options in terms of battery supply in the future but hear me out for a sec.
I have been hearing from some pretty reliable battery sources that battery manufacturers are struggling to make money on any of their lithium ion products. Some are downsizing operations in this area as a result. Obviously it would not be good if Tesla was to lose its supply of batteries from Panasonic so naturally I thought of a merger of these two companies...well Panasonic could spin off it's lithium battery business first and merge that with Tesla (obviously Tesla doesn't want to worry about selling Panasonic flat screen TV's!)...call it Panasonic EV. If Panasonic is really losing money on it's lithium business then they should be willing to part with this area of their business for cheap.
Anyway in this way Panasonic EV could provide Tesla with batteries at break-even cost allowing Tesla to lower prices and increase volume, ultimately making more profit as one company, rather than Panasonic eating all the losses in their current arrangment. If Panasonic is losing money they might not sign any more supply deals with Tesla after this one is up.
I am of the opinion that the current Panasonic batteries are actually good enough to get the world driving electric...all we need is to get the price down.
Let me explain...with Tesla Supercharging stations spread out across the country in 150 mile radiuses Tesla need only build cars with a 200 mile (real world) driving range. Anything more is just overkill on the battery adding weight and cost...sure people could still order a bigger battery if they like as an option but I firmly believe that the Gen III should start at 200 miles real world range with free supercharger access for long distance, all for $30,000 USD (after any incentives). If they can do this then the game will truly have changed and Gen III will be sold in huge numbers.
With Panasonic EV as a division of the company helping to drive down and subsidize battery costs Tesla could start selling the Gen III at affordable prices more quickly and make up any losses in the battery division by increased profits due to higher sales.
The current Panasonic batteries don't need to get any better to make this a reality. Tesla could afford through it's higher profits to continue research and development on incremental improvements in the batteries but again they are good enough to get the job done already and a 200 mile range is all that is really necessary if the car has access to the supercharging network.
SolarCity comes into play by perhaps being able to put together a EV/solar/ off grid battery storage solution as a bundled package to its customers. Eg. People could lease all three products (EV, solar panels, off grid storage batteries) for a lower price than they are currently paying for their ICE car, gasoline/oil/maintainence, and electricity bill from their current utility company.
I.e. If you can get the battery price low enough by subsidizing it through the other two companies (Tesla and SolarCity) then as a trifecta they might work out very profitable as a whole.
Again the current Panasonic batteries are good enough (and reliable enough) to do everything now..we just need to get the price lower, ensure their continued supply, and have incremental advancements in the battery tech from here on out.
Perhaps the SolarCity arrangment would have to come a bit later on down the road but this would be the final nail in the coffin to those who say grid tied solar isn't really running off of true renewable energy and is a burden on the overall energy grid. It would also shut up those who say the grid couldn't handle a real mass movement into electric cars. Kills a lot of birds with one stone if it could work.
Just an idea...what do you guys think?