Tesla Motors topped MIT’s list of the smartest companies for 2015, surpassing last year’s winner, Illumina, a U.S. biotech company. Tesla’s growing EV business and recently launched battery storage business helped it gain more points.Tesla

Tesla tops the list

Tesla, which was at the 2nd position in 2014, jumped to the number one spot on MIT Technology Review’s fifth annual list of the “50 Smartest Companies.” Last year’s winner, Illumina, is now at the number three spot.

Explaining the rankings, the report noted that rankings are higher for a company that has “truly” innovative technology and a business model that is “both practical and ambitious, with the result that it has set the agenda in its field over the past 12 months.”

Commenting on Tesla, the report stated that apart from making electric cars, the company has come up with one more “audacious idea,” of “spinning off a line of batteries in service of a big goal: remaking the energy grid for industry, utilities, and residences.”

Chinese tech firms more innovative

Though in general, U.S. tech firms are considered to be more innovative, however, apart from Netflix, no other U.S. tech firm was able to grab a spot in the top ten. Popular U.S. tech firms such as Google, Amazon and Apple bagged the 12th, 13th, and 16th positions, respectively. In contrast, three Chinese tech firms were able to reserve a place in the top ten. Mobile device maker Xiaomi bagged the 2nd, spot followed by Alibaba Group in 4th at Tencent at the 7th position.

What’s interesting to note is the list also includes Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s other two innovative ventures: SolarCity at number 9 and SpaceX at a distant 22.

For the first quarter of fiscal year 2015, the EV maker reported record quarterly sales, beating the consensus estimate by a large margin. Also, last month, the company introduced its battery storage business, showcasing two battery products: Powerwall (for home use), and Powerpack (for businesses and utilities).

To further enhance its performance, the EV firm is in process of completing its $5 billion battery factory, which is popularly called the gigafactory. The plant will help Tesla make cars and batteries at a lower price. In the third quarter, the company plans to finally launch its long-awaited sports utility vehicle (SUV), the Model X.

On Wednesday, Tesla shares closed down 0.93% at $265.17, and year to date, the stock is up by almost 20%.