It appears that inventing self-driving electric cars and launching rockets into space hasn’t been enough to keep serial inventor and entrepreneur Elon Musk grounded as of late.
The founder of Tesla and Space X has been teasing the tech community over the past few weeks with hints towards a new product that’s “not a car”. Some speculated that it could be a motorcycle or other cheaper vehicle offering that carries the Tesla User Experience that the company has become known for. Well – the new product s does carry the Tesla User Experience but it’s far from being something that moves – quite the opposite actually.
Instead of a new Tesla vehicle, Musk announced that the latest Tesla product is a wall mounted, rechargeable lithium ion battery with liquid thermal control for powering homes, businesses and factories; the Tesla Powerwall Home Battery – which is a part of the new Tesla Energy platform.
The Powerwall – which comes in two different models offering 7- or 10-kWh of storage – charges itself using electricity generated from solar panels, or when utility rates are low, and uses that energy to power a home in the evening when the most amount of energy is being used. Additionally, the Powerwall fortifies a home against power outages by providing a backup electricity supply. The automated, internet-connected device is also designed to be installed easily anywhere inside or outside the home and is completely modular for adding as little or as much power as needed.
“The average home uses more electricity in the morning and evening than during the day when solar energy is plentiful,” says the Powerwall website.
“Without a home battery, excess solar energy is often sold to the power company and purchased back in the evening. This mismatch adds demand on power plants and increases carbon emissions. Powerwall bridges this gap between renewable energy supply and demand by making your home’s solar energy available to you when you need it.”
Ultimately, the Tesla Energy system is promising independence from the utility grid and the security of an emergency backup in a day and age when we rely so heavily on devices that are always “on”.
“Our goal here is to fundamentally change the way the world uses energy,” said Musk during his keynote. “At the extreme scale.”
Yeah, no kidding.
Currently, Tesla is in the process of building a “Gigafactory” battery production plant in the Nevada desert and – just like how he disrupted the car industry – Musk is hoping to rattle the energy business with a more futuristic vision that’s focused on sustainability and relevancy. While the Powerwall is aimed at homes, there is a similar battery option – albeit much larger – for power-hungry industrial users.
Both the 10 kWh and 7 kWh Powerwall home battery models are guaranteed for ten years and are sufficient to power most homes during peak evening hours. They’ll begin shipping this summer and can be reserved starting today over at Tesla.