By on May 1, 2015

powerwall-header

This is what everyone in Silicon Valley was waiting for last night: a battery that hangs on a wall.

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42 Comments on “While You Were Sleeping: Tesla Is Now Officially In More Than Just Your Garage...”


  • avatar
    jrmason

    Well, at least one N.A. manufacturer made the top 25 list. I’d say this list is rather irrelevant, I’d rather own a Porsche over a KIA or a Fiat also but I’m confused how these vehicles actually compare to each other.

  • avatar
    Syke

    That Powerwall looks fascinating – I can see the potential to replace gasoline powered generators and transfer switches. It’ll be interesting to see how long a fully charged battery will run a house, or whatever part of the house its wired into.

    I live out in the boonies, and long ago learned to keep a 5kw generator on hand for short term (less than a day, usually) power outages, primarily because electricity and landline are the only utilities I have. Water is provided by a well pump.

    Worst care situation we’ve had is after Hurricane Floyd came thru, and we were without power for a day and a half. Yeah, the rural co-op is very good at getting service back; especially in comparison to Richmond which had power out for over a week in some areas.

  • avatar
    wmba

    They had our pal Elon on CBC Radio this morning saying that his battery was really suitable for winters here when the power goes out. And you can keep it charged with solar panels on the roof. Two to three feet of snow on said roof rather mitigate against the battery being recharged, but why bother with reality when you are just an idiot anyway.

    A typical winter’s day here requires 100kWh’s worth of energy to keep a house warm, and I have an air-to-air heatpump. 10kWh is a joke which is why a good-sized Honda generator will remain the thing to get.

    So as usual Musk is full of it. Micro-grids would also be illegal here. There’s nothing more dangerous than having some source re-energize a section of line up to a fault and electrocuting a lineman unaware that some dolt is running a “generator” without a disconnect switch.

    “”The whole thing is a system that just works,” said our genius Musk. The man has no idea of real winter, none whatsoever. Nor any idea of operating procedures at an electric utility.

    But megalomania does that to you.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      Did he run over your dog or something? Also, aren’t half of Canadian homes heated by natural gas?

      • 0 avatar

        In Ontario, a lot are heated with gas. Where I live, it’s a combination of electricity (my home), oil and wood for the most part.

        • 0 avatar
          jmo

          “Almost half (47%) of Canadian households used natural gas as their main heating fuel, while 37% used electricity. A further 9% used oil, 6% used wood or wood pellets and 1% used propane.”

          From statistics Canada c. 2007.

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          @JMason
          It has nothing to with demand or a perceived demand, it is someone trying to offer something different . Been a lot of US RV’s, Pickups offered, minimalist take up. Usually they do not last long . I expect this will be as short lived . Performax in Queensland is the most successful with Ford, but that is not saying much., lucky to sell 500 all type of conversions annually

          • 0 avatar
            jrmason

            The sources I have read say that virtually all orders placed are coming from industrial sites and mines. Being the Ram will be converted to RHD and imported the cost will likely be too much for the average civilian.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            “The sources I have read say that virtually all orders placed are coming from industrial sites and mines. Being the Ram will be converted to RHD and imported the cost will likely be too much for the average civilian.”

            Never seen any U.S. pickup, near a mine. I have seen hordes of Hiluxes and L70’s, that the mines have modified and use like an oily rag.
            That info about the “0rders” a bit of a beat up. They do use Rams for towing Caravans 5th Wheelers etc. About 20% of HD Conversions are used as daily drivers

          • 0 avatar
            jrmason

            They aren’t even available until September of this year through Chrysler of New Zealand. Pacific Limited will be handling the conversions. Currently per Australian laws no more than 200 Rams are allowed to be imported per year, and up until now those are done on an individual basis with the proper permits that must pass the safety inspections before coming into the country. Now that Chrysler is involved directly with a conversion company the process will be streamlined and the only limitiations will be how fast they can convert them. The orders I speak of have been placed and more are being filled every week. Obviously they will be a small dot on the horizon in the big picture in Australia. Overall the process is still inefficient and costly compared to manufacturing in country or even manufacturing RHD out of the gate. The conversion adds to the overall cost and won’t be for everybody. I see it as more of a test to see whether building RHD trucks can be profitable for Ram.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      As for snow:

      “Blizzard Solar, an international company that specializes in innovative solar technologies, has developed a system to combat snow accumulation. The Autonomous Winter Solar Panel, or AWSP, lets modules operate efficiently in all conditions.

      The system, which can be can be integrated into manufacturers’ panel design, senses the presence of winter precipitation on the panel. It then uses a minimal amount of stored panel energy to clear the panel of the snow, frost, sleet and ice. The technology can be used with framed or frameless panels, and is a significant cost-saver in terms of panel cleaning and energy maximization. The AWSP technology, which is for sale outright, could open new markets for PV distribution.”

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      I live in Illinois, but work for a company in Silicon Valley. I’ve started traveling there regularly.

      You shouldn’t dismiss Tesla based solely on this point, any more than you should dismiss Intel, Google, or Nest because they’re from a land where their outdoor weather is as good as our indoor weather….

      It’s true that Californians don’t understand weather at all, because they don’t live with things like winter or regular rainfall.

      BUT, one of the short list of things that make Silicon Valley a business powerhouse is that they make learning from their mistakes a priority. This 1st generation of the Nest thermostat didn’t support multistage HVAC systems which made them unsuitable for my in-law’s house in Atlanta — presumably because a bunch Californian engineers working in Palo Alto felt that this was a corner case, LOL. But they fixed it in the 2nd generation and have sold millions.

      Silicon Valley businesses strike me as being pretty likely to make weather-related mistakes in their early products, and then fix them as soon as it starts costing them sales or support — or even just when the voice of the customer kicks in.

      I’m sure Tesla had their teething issues in this respect. As near as I can tell, Tesla tried to hire engineers from Detroit and managers from Silicon Valley, and there’s a pretty long list of changes they’ve made to their vehicles over the year, and very few of them followed any lost of model year boundary.

      So, if you’re concerned about this sort of thing, wait until revision 1.1 or 1.2 so that they iron out the flaws. Unless Microsoft is involved, in which case you should wait until 3.0 for the one ready for general use. Silicon Valley business talk a lot about the concept of the “minimum viable product”, and the early versions of anything are exactly that – they’ll startmselling to people who want the MVP nom, add the cupholders and upgrade, after they start the cashflow machine. I see a lot of evidence that Tesla operates thin way, and it’s a good idea — just so long as everyone keeps their brains on the whole time.

    • 0 avatar

      “But megalomania does that to you.”

      Tell me about it…

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Elon Musk is a tedious, fast-talking showman who also happens to have done an excellent job of building a brand that gives Tesla a reasonable chance of avoiding failure. He deserves a lot of credit for what he has done, even if you find him to be annoying (which would not be surprising, since he is.)

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      To be fair to Musk, who I think is a grandstander who’s bad at meeting targets, I’m pretty sure he knows about disconnects and transfer switches, and if Tesla ever actually sells these they’ll note that they’re absolutely required for on-grid use.

      (I can’t find a transcript, and I don’t know that Musk was speaking specifically of *Canada* in his Winter comments, or the American midwest or northeast.

      Places that aren’t in an arctic blast or filled with hungry wendigo have a lower power requirement … and many homes are heated with natural gas and only need power to run the fan; a 10kWh battery will run a home heat fan for a fairly long time.

      His blather about solar is him never thinking outside of the desert southwest, of course…)

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      And, of course, too many commenters are making the mistake of automatically assuming that the backup system (no matter how powered) is running the entire house. Most installations don’t bother with that, but limit themselves to just running the absolute necessities.

      At my home, I’m running six circuits: Two for the well pump, a third for the refrigerator, with three other circuits keeping one side of the house plugs active. Missing are the water heater (electric) and the heat pumps. Which means, during extended power outages, I take cold showers, drink cold beer, and if it gets cold either use one of my two kerosene heaters and/or put a load of wood in the fireplace.

      Hasn’t failed me yet. And to cover the entire house, I’d need more than a 10kw power source. My current 5kw steady/5.5kw peak bogs slightly when I flush the toilet, so a new Honda 7kw unit is on the shopping list.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    At first I yay-ed because that image looks like a Tesla tombstone.

  • avatar
    Dirk Stigler

    No need to beat up on Elon Musk (and I am for sure not an electric fanboi) He’s a smart guy who knows that an electric ___ needs to both be a good use of electric technology and do what a traditional ___ does just as well as any other ___ on the market, if you want to sell it to anyone besides early adopters. Something that e.g. BYD has never gotten.

    In evaluating this particular product, you have to remember (as Musk certainly knows) that batteries are batteries, same as they’ve been for the past two centuries. Basically all of the improvement in batteries in the past 15 years has been in better electronic charge management and wider availability in form factors that work well with other consumer devices that use batteries. So buy it if it fits your needs. It’s a battery pack, not a magic wand.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    When the small truck jihadists see the Aussie carrying capacity link, they’re going to ruin this thread.

    At some point, these folks are going to need to figure out that payload numbers come from the manufacturers, and they have motivations for providing different payload and towing specs for different markets.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      The funny thing is that they’re complaining about 374 kg payload capacity while towing at the rated limit of the Isuzu. That’s a greater payload than a Ram 1500 Hemi, quad-cab 4×4 is rated for when it doesn’t have a trailer hooked up. I’d say that being able to tow 7,700 lbs while having over 800 lbs of capacity for occupants and cargo is pretty damn impressive for a midsized pickup, except that their idea of towing is executed at speeds that a Texas Tundra can tow the Space Shuttle.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Anecdotally, I’ve noticed that the towing limits are about the same, but the Aussie payload numbers are higher.

        I would presume that this is largely a function of OEM concerns about liability and warranty work. In Australia, third-party bodily injury coverage is included in the vehicle registration fee and is combined with a mostly nationalized healthcare system.

        As a result, insurers and OEMs in Australia have less to worry about if you roll your overloaded ute. In the US, the OEMs don’t want to be sued for your rollover mistake or to bear the loss in sales that could come from higher insurance premiums, so it would not be surprising if they are more conservative about what they will accept. If you want more, then you get to pay for the HD upgrade.

        • 0 avatar
          jrmason

          Yep, that’s what it all boils down to. The Dana 80 axle in my 18 year old SRW pickup is rated by Dana at 11,000 lbs. That’s more than the GVW of the entire pickup pwr Dodge.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            It might help to explain the math of what you’re talking about.

            Payload = GVWR – Curb Weight

            Curb weight is what it is. But GVWR is determined by the automaker.

            Accordingly, payload is ultimately a function of what the OEM says that it is. There is no single magic universal formula for determining what this is.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            But it is the rating of the least component that drives the real world rating. With a SRW truck you’ll be hard pressed to find a tire with a 5500lb rating that will fit under a pickup.

          • 0 avatar
            jrmason

            I’m pretty sure everybody that’s interested in this discussion understands what GVWR is. The limiting factor on every pick up in N.A is tires. The frame, axles, and suspension are all rated substantially higher than the wheels and tires the OEMs put on them.
            Take Ram, for instance. The frames, suspension and axles are all identical between SRW and DRW 3500 trucks. The extra tire capacity of the dual rear axle is the only difference. An option that a lot of people do to gain capacity that dont want a DRW truck is upgrade to 19.5 wheels and tires. They are typically load range G or H, much stiffer sidewalls which helps with stability and the harder compounds afford much higher mileage before replacement.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “I’m pretty sure everybody that’s interested in this discussion understands what GVWR is.”

            Judging from some of the commentary of the small truck jihadis, I wouldn’t assume that. And I have no doubt that they don’t understand that the GVWR and the payload number that is derived from the GVWR are both somewhat arbitrary.

            I doubt that the tires are the deciding factor between the payload differences between the US and other countries; no OEM is going to recommend payload figures that exceed the weakest component. The question is one of how much margin for error is being built into the specs, which should lead one to ask why they would be more aggressive in some places than in others.

          • 0 avatar
            jrmason

            “I doubt that the tires are the deciding factor between the payload differences between the US and other countries; no OEM is going to recommend payload figures”

            The tires are without a doubt the weakest link in HD pick ups in N.A. Everything else under the truck is rated higher.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I doubt that the tires used abroad are any better.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        @CJ in SD,
        They are impressive,that is why they are being bought in much greater numbers Globally. They are not a U.S. midsize but a “1 Tonner” Globally. You will get the stupid argue ” you cannot carry that” but those loadings apply to many countries
        Before the loonies argue OEM’sdo not know what they are doing, more Manufacturers are lining up Globally to join the party. Very similar to the explosion in up market SUV.’s From previously not likely manufacturers

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        CJ in SD,
        They tow 26-30ft 5th Wheelers with these at a cruising speed of 60mph. You would really underestimate what they can do. If we had an article on the IVECO Daily, 3 litre diesel Cab Chassis variant of the European Van ,estimates of what it can do would really be well and truly off the mark

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      This is for the uneducated “little d!ck syndrome” comments above.

      What I find odd is that my BT50 is running the same rear E Locker diff as many F-150s. My gearbox (6spd manual) is the same used for V8 Boss Mustangs.

      The Aussie diesel Colorado runs the same auto gearbag as the Silverado.

      Yet our utes are over rated?

      A US pickup can tow 11 000lbs, we tow 7 800lbs. The difference in mass between our midsizer and a full size is roughly what the difference is in tow limits set by the manufacturers.

      Yeah, you can put it down to tyres the differences.

      In Australia we have engineering and physics to make these types of determinations.

      Another thing I find odd, is the very same manufacturers of US pickups tend to be the biggest sellers here.

      I do think you guys have a disease, its called “American Exceptionalism”.

      How can any country be equal to the US. Your regulations are better, your fuel is better, your tyres are better.

      Get real, wankers.

      • 0 avatar
        jrmason

        Big Al, youve got a bit of a complex. Nobody here has said one thing about anything being superior. Why is it your posts are always so full of animosity? Jealous? Its amusing how you like to brag up your trucks capabilities yet apparantly they have all inflated their numbers to “appear” superior. No real standards so hard to say how relevant the numbers even are. Ram has announced they will be offering their HD trucks in Australia in RH drive next year so it appears your fellow citizens want something more than what they currently have.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          @jrmason,
          Even you comment stating the limitations on the US pickups is primarily driven by it’s tyres.

          Not the fact that the suspension, brakes, etc have any impact.

          I do know their are tyres out their that will carry larger loads then you have described.

          The difference is many US pickups are used as daily drivers.

          Look at the tyres, even on our pickups. They are car tyres. Thin walled, generally 2 ply with a 4 ply rating on the treaded area.

          I just bought 10ply tyres for my pickup because the sidewall on the OEM fitted tyres guillotined on rocks.

          This is what the manufacturers provide.

          It has nothing to do with country of origin of the vehicles.

          Also, my comment wasn’t directed at you.

          I do know that the US uses this “Best in Class” quite often. This type of advertising is rare here.

          Best in Class, biggest, mostest, etc seems to be a US trend.

          • 0 avatar
            jrmason

            Big Al, I believe my tire statement is being misunderstood. What I am saying is the tires on an HD pickup are the lowest rated component out of the frame, axle, and suspension. It is no coincidence that the rear GAWR of HD pick ups coincide with the combined weight rating of the rear tires. This is fact, not speculation.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            You’re wasting your time. Just scroll past him. BAFO is incapable of understanding even simple concepts.

  • avatar
    This Is Dawg

    Those Tesla batteries address the traditional weather-dependency weaknesses of wind and solar power by filling gaps in generation. They also allow you to charge (some of) your Teslamobile with power that’s been generated while the car was at your office. That’s pretty big.

    On a massive scale, renewable generators+home batteries also avoids efficiency losses in infrastructure and associated costs of upkeep.

    Even without renewables, having a home battery would let you charge up at night, and run on the battery when rates are higher during the day.

    Maybe I’m being naive, but I don’t get why people would have any opinion other than praise for this product. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. It’s not hurting you is it?

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    Since we seldom are out of electricity and when we are it is measured in hours instead of days I would look at one to run our heat pump, fridge/freezer and well should something happen.

  • avatar
    ExPatBrit

    100 amps for about a hour, or 10 amps for 10 hours , obviously this is for those who don’t heat their house entirely with electricity.

    We have gas so it could work great for me for short power outages that usually last for no more than a few hours here . Also would save having to reset all those clocks that aren’t backed up.

    Just need the heating fan blower and ignition for the gas furnace as well as the ignition for the hot water tank.

    Refrigerator (cold beverages) , microwave , router, cell phone charger and Ipad.

    In the summer with no heating fan running,could last a long time. I typically have less than 300 watts of lighting .

  • avatar
    Greg Locock

    Re the truck payload article. I would have thought a table would have made the point more effectively than random examples by the spokesman. Since it seems to me that in all 3 cases you can’t load the truck to GVM while towing a max weight trailer, without exceeding GCM, all three manufacturers (and everybody else no doubt) are all doing much the same thing. It’s just a matter of degree, 50 kg here or there. Yawn.

  • avatar
    redav

    Instead of buying the Tesla battery pack for a few thousand, I’d rather take a used and ‘worn out’ battery pack from a Leaf or similar. It will have 80% of the useable capacity left (~17 kWh) and since it’s basically scrap, should cost much less.

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