Tesla Unveiling Home, Business Battery Products April 30
Tesla wants more than to be in the garages of its customers as it plans to begin offering batteries for home and business energy-storage applications soon.
The automaker stated in an email to investors and analysts Tuesday it would reveal its new battery products April 30, according to Bloomberg. Investor relations boss Jeffrey Evanson said the unveiling would explain “the advantages” of its home and business battery products and why current options aren’t as compelling as what Tesla has to offer.
Though scant details have come out about the batteries, Tesla’s plans aim to put the automaker as a leader in the emerging energy storage market. Many players in the market look to not just supplement, but ultimately surpass the traditional electric grid. The automaker and sister company SolarCity have already signed up companies like Wal-Mart and Cargill for their energy storage pilot program in California to help establish and accelerate said plans.
[Photo credit: Timothy Cain/ The Truth About Cars]
One of the interesting aspects of automotive batteries packs is after they are no longer good enough for automotive use, they may be plenty good enough (for years) for residential purposes. Repurposed electric car batteries can save your peak hour household solar power - or store off peak power from the grid for peak period use. This could be done at the household level or on an industrial level. The industry has to figure out whether it is better to use new batteries, used batteries or used but reconditioned batteries.
Tesla may introduce an interesting product on April 30th - from a callous marketing perspective I wonder why not on Earth Day itself? But the big alt-energy partners and projects being only in California is silent indictment of the underlying economics already. Either passive dynamos or energy storage mediums need to get fundamentally better.
I think for battery systems to become a true alternative to diesel or LPG whole house generators they're going to have to be able to run a lot longer than 24 hours. It's not unheard of here in hurricane country for power to be out for days. If they can figure out how to do that at a reasonable price they really may be onto something. Once you factor in pouring a concrete pad, wiring, etc it's not hard to spend 15 grand on a Generac or comparable unit. I'm not talking about the Home Depot Hondas you see for $299, those are for camping and tail gate parties. What Tesla really needs to do is have a "whole house" mode in addition to Insane mode. Lose power at home, plug in the P85D and you're back in business. Cold beer and ESPN for XX hours then drive it to work the next day.
I would like to see used and retired EV battery packs be installed in homes. If an EV battery has ~23 kWh capacity, and when it's used up it has only 17 kWh left, that's still well more than my house uses most of the year. (When HVAC isn't running, my baseline power consumption is ~5 kWh/day. When in the depth of summer, it's over 40 kWh/day.) One electric retailer in my area offers a free nights program where electricity used between 10 PM & 6 AM is free. For the scrap price of a car battery and some rewiring, more than half the year I could theoretically have a zero electric bill. As more utilities push for variable plans, repurposed EV batteries are the ideal solution to taking advantage of those plans.