Tesla Unveils Batteries for Home, Businesses
Tesla chief Elon Musk predicts the batteries will "fundamentally change the way the world uses energy" when they become widely available later this year.
As anticipated, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk unveiled a suite of batteries for homes, business and utilities at an event packed with media and Tesla owners Thursday evening at the company's design studio at the Hawthorne, Calif. airport.
In a press conference prior to the event, Musk, with typical hyperbole, said Tesla's goal "is fundamentally to change the way the world uses energy to completely sustainable zero carbon."
The Tesla Powerwall, a rechargeable lithium-ion battery for the home derived from the battery used in Tesla's Model S sedan, will mount on a wall and serve as a backup during power failures and to supplement power supplied by traditional utilities. The battery would allow homes equipped with solar panels to store energy and use it later.
The battery sells for $3,500 and delivers 10 kw hours of power, but Musk said most will be leased to homeowners and installed by third-party partners certified by Tesla.
Musk said nine of the units could be combined and would deliver 90 kw of hours, "and that's quite a lot," he said.
Musk said the battery is designed to be installed in less than an hour. "It's only about six inches thick and four feet tall, and has integrated thermal management, safety systems" he said adding that it connects to the Internet.
Asked to describe the battery's practical use for homeowners, Musk said: "If the utility goes down you have power. It's having the peace of mind knowing you always have power. And if you combine solar panels with with the battery you can be totally free of the grid."
Musk added that the battery would make it possible to capture power at night and run energy-intensive appliances during times of the day when utilities charge higher rates. "The ideal solution is to combine this with solar," he said.
Musk said the battery would be widely available later this year.
During the presentation after the press conference, Musk revealed that the power for the event had been captured earlier in the day and stored in the Tesla batteries.
Musk added that Tesla's policy of sharing its patents would extend to the batteries.
"This is a feasible thing," he said adding: "It's important to realize that."