Top five takeaways from Elon Musk’s Tesla Energy reveal

December 4, 2015 – 07:18 pm

A lot was said—behind the scenes and on stage—at Tesla’s big reveal event Thursday night in Hawthorne, Calif. The recap: the tech-centric automaker is expanding beyond electric vehicles and launching a line of battery products that will allow homeowners, businesses and utilities to store energy, manage backup power—and ultimately, enable zero-emission power generation. Tesla’s partners include Amazon, Target, global PV inverter company SolarEdge, energy software firm EnerNoc, Advanced Grid Solutions, AES and utility Southern California Edison.

CEO Elon Musk took the stage amid cheers from 1, 000 invited guests to introduce the new endeavor, dubbed Tesla Energy, and its two primary products.

Musk first unveiled Powerwall, a sleek suitcase-sized 220-pound lithium-ion battery designed to store energy at the residential level, comes in 7 kilowatt-hour and 10 kWh sizes. The home energy battery, which has a 10-year warranty, is designed to be mounted on a wall and includes integrated thermal management, power electric, and a bi-directional DC inverter.

Musk described the home unit as a source of backup power which, when combined with solar panels, could be used daily to extend the environmental and cost benefits of solar after the sun has gone down. Tesla’s selling price to installers is $3, 500 for 10 kWh and $3, 000 for 7 kWh. Orders are being taken now and deliveries will begin this summer.

SolarCity CTO Peter Rive told me at the event that the company will charge customers $5, 000 for the 10 kWh unit, a price that includes installation and an inverter to convert direct current power to alternating current for use in the home.

Musk also introduced Tesla’s Powerpack a scalable energy storage unit for heavy industrial and utility applications. The Powerpack will be sold in 100 kWh units and can be scaled up into multi gigawatt-hour class. The power packs are priced a $250 a kilowatt hour, Musk said.

Before the official launch, Musk and Tesla co-founder and CTO JB Straubel spoke to reporters about Tesla Energy. Here are five statements by Musk that stood out:

Musk’s long-term vision for Tesla Energy isn’t lacking in aspiration.

“Our goal is to fundamentally change the way the world uses energy at the extreme scale. We’re talking at the terawatt scale.”

Tesla Energy will go global.

“We expect to scale this internationally. It’ll scale as fast as we can scale it.” Straubel added that Tesla Energy will have a presence in parts of Europe, especially Germany, as well as in Australia by end of this year. The company will expand into China by next year.


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