Tesla is holding a special event later today at its California design studio – and it won’t be launching a new electric car.
Instead, Elon Musk is expected to unveil a brand new type of Tesla product, one that draws on the company’s expertise and may spark something of a minor revolution in how we power our homes. Yep, it’s a battery. A big old battery.
In actual fact, there may be two batteries announced: one designed for the home and a larger model designed for businesses.
Tesla’s car batteries are incredible things, enabling its electric cars to travel hundreds of miles at high speeds before requiring a (very quick) recharge. That stellar power management capability will be built into the home batteries, giving them exceptional efficiency.
Your own home power station
The idea isn’t to take your home “off the grid” so much as to provide a superb backup home power source that would make blackouts and power cuts a thing of the past, as well as save you huge amounts of money during peak energy use times. Energy companies charge more for electricity at times of high demand, and it’s at these periods where you could switch your home’s power supply to the Tesla battery – or rather, have it done automatically for you by Tesla’s software.
You’ll also be able to rig the battery to a solar array, allowing it to store energy collected during the day and use it at night. So there’s even more money to be saved – and environmental brownie points to be won – there. In fact, Tesla already produces home batteries for US solar energy startup SolarCity.
Like solar panels, the battery could represent a hefty investment: in Tesla’s cars, such as the £50,000 Model S, the battery is reportedly the single most expensive component. But it’s likely that, as with a solar array, governments may provide some sort of subsidy to those who purchase one. It is, after all, a high-efficiency, environmentally friendly power source.
Despite their revolutionary nature, the batteries themselves will likely look unassuming – a smallish, wall-mountable white box bearing the Tesla logo and designed to be installed in a garage or utility room, if the batteries the company already makes for SolarCity are any indication. They’ll reportedly come with the ability to be controlled and updated over-the-air by Tesla. Tesla’s firmware updates for its cars have boosted performance, and it’s likely any advances in power management could mean the same for its home batteries.
Reports suggest the batteries are already being tested in the US, with retail giant Wal-Mart among the users, so it may be that we don’t have to wait long until they’re available to buy. We’ll find out more later on today – stay tuned for a full report then.
[Source: Business Insider]