Tesla expands from luxury vehicles to wall-mounted batteries
Tesla Motors has created a new division called Tesla Energy. Now, in addition to making electric vehicles for rich people, it will also make "Powerwalls" for middle-class environmentalists and bigger batteries for corporate customers.
One version of the Powerwall will cost $3,500 when it debuts over the summer. Another version that stores less energy will cost $3,000. Tesla says the packs offer "independence from the utility grid and the security of an emergency backup" by storing energy from solar panels or existing electric infrastructure.
Tesla founder Elon Musk also revealed a Powerpack that can store more energy and help energy companies use less-dependable energy sources, such as solar or wind energy, by helping to make those renewable systems a little more reliable. (Sometimes the Earth just doesn't cooperate with our clean energy initiatives.)
Several companies have already decided to use Powerpacks in at least some of their locations. While the uses vary -- Target wants to use them to support its power supply, Amazon wants to wean Amazon Web Services off nonrenewables -- the end result could still be less dependence on unsustainable energy.
Not one to shy from dramatic proclamations, the real-life Tony Stark said during yesterday's announcement that it would take about 2 billion Powerpacks to store enough energy for the entire world. "That may seem like an insane number," he said, "But this is actually within the power of humanity to do."
Tesla will produce both the Powerwall and the Powerpack in San Francisco to start. Then it will shift production to its battery factory in Nevada, where it was offered free land and $1.3 billion worth of incentives to build, and where the company says work is "on schedule" despite a report saying it was delayed.