Tesla founder Elon Musk just unveiled Tesla Energy, an ambitious plan to power the world with a new design of home battery called the Powerwall, with the aim of making more consumers less dependent on the grid.
The newly designed Powerwall, produced at Tesla’s new Nevada Gigafactory, will be available in “three or four months” via various installation partners. It will cost around $3500 — and can theoretically be scaled “infinitely,” Musk says, all the way up to industrial and utility level. The larger server-sized, industrial-level battery will be called a Powerpack.
“Our goal is to fundamentally change the way the world uses energy,” Musk told a press conference at the Tesla Design Center on Thursday night. “It sounds crazy, but we want to change the entire energy infrastructure of the world to zero carbon.”
The 10 kilowatt-hour Powerwall, available in a range of colors, functions best as a system of storage for solar power. But Musk points out it will also work for non-solar consumers in cases of power outage — as well as allowing them to avoid drawing on outside electricity during peak periods, when utility prices are highest.
“It provides security, freedom and peace of mind,” Musk said — adding that “all we need” is to roll out 2 billion Powerwalls to meet the energy needs of the entire world, and that the poorest communities with no power lines will benefit the most.
“That seems like a crazy number,” Musk admitted of the 2 billion figure, “but it’s comparable to the number of cars and trucks on the road [around the world] — and they get completely refreshed every 20 years.”
Based on the Tesla Model S battery, but redesigned from the ground up, the Powerwall is a 6-in. thick, 3 ft. by 4 ft design intended to fit within a regular electricity substation. “It looks awesome,” says Musk.
The Powerwall will be connected to the Internet, Musk says, to allow for the creation of local smart grids. Up to 9 devices representing 90 kilowatt hours can be stacked per home. The Powerpack, however, is intended to scale up all the way to maximum industrial usage.
Musk has a stake in a California solar power company called Solar City — but has lined up a number of installation partners around the country including Treehouse, Solar Edge and Green Mountain Power.
These partners will also lease the Powerwall so that consumers don’t have to pay the $3,500 cost up front. Musk says the Powerwall is designed to be installed in “under an hour,” so labor costs should be minimal.
The product will also be launched in Germany, a solar-friendly country, before the end of the year, Musk said.
For the technically minded, here’s a list of specs on the Powerwall:
Mounting: Wall Mounted Indoor/Outdoor
Inverter: Pairs with growing list of inverters
Energy: 7kWh or 10kWh
Continuous Power: 2kW
Peak Power: 3kW
Round Trip Efficiency: >92%
Operating Temperature Range: -20C (-4F) to 43C (110F)
Warranty: 10 years
Dimensions: H: 1300mm W: 860mm D:180mm