Tesla Promises Their Suite of Battery Products “Don’t Suck”

Tesla Unveils Home Battery: 5 Reasons It’s a Big Deal

National Geographic, May 1, 2015.

The automaker unveiled a suite of battery products Thursday—each geared for homes, businesses, and utilities—that promise not to “suck,” to use CEO Elon Musk’s choice label for competitors. The home battery, a sleek, mountable unit dubbed Powerwall, will be available this summer and starts at $3,000.

The Palo Alto, California-based firm is betting big on batteries. Its $5 billion Gigafactory, under construction in Nevada, will produce lithium ion cells for a projected 500,000 vehicles. The facility will also make batteries for buildings, which are now being tested in California at 11 Walmart sites and at select homes through another Musk company, SolarCity. (Walmart is using fuel cell power, too: See three surprising places where hydrogen energy is working.)

Tesla’s long game goes way beyond backup power. Right now, batteries on the grid are used primarily to provide backup power during outages and to help businesses save money by smoothing out peaks in their energy use, says Jesse Morris, transportation and electricity manager at the nonprofit clean energy research group Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI).

But Morris sees at least 10 other possible ways that batteries could serve the grid and make money in the process. Small energy storage systems, for example, could aggregate and compete with natural gas plants by ramping up quickly when surplus electricity is needed.

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