Tesla Doubles PowerWall Output

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During Elon Musk’s remarks after the Tesla annual shareholders meeting ended Tuesday, he casually dropped this little tidbit:

“I am very happy to announce that we’ve dramatically increased the power capability of the Powerwall. So it’s actually going to go from having 2 kilowatts steady, 3.3 kilowatt peak to a 7 kilowatt power, 5 kilowatt steady, price is unchanged. So, it basically more than doubled the power output of the Powerpack and the price is going to stay the same.”

The company will prioritize deliveries to people who already have a residential solar system or who are installing one. Why? Because an inverter will be already included in their system, meaning adding a PowerWall will cost only about $3,500 for the unit and about $500 for installation. That’s huge.

Tesla and Musk were stung by criticism they got after the splashy introduction for the PowerWall in April. Some people thought the output was much too small to live up to all the hype suggesting a PowerWall would let people go “off grid” for relatively little money. In truth, the first units were rated at only 2000 watts of continuous power. That’s not enough to run two hair dryers. The new units have more than double the current draw capability. Keeping the price the same is a remarkable achievement.

In his remarks, Musk indicated that the company will target customers who already have a rooftop solar system. That’s because the inverter need to make the PowerWall interface with the local utility grid is already part of that system, so customers won’t have to pay for an inverter to make their Power Wall work. That keeps the price down to about $4,000, including installation.

That being said, Musk admitted the PowerWall is still not economically viable for most people in the US. Only in places like Hawaii, where the cost of electricity is triple the national average does it begin to pay for itself over time. Tesla is really focusing its stationary battery business on utilities and large corporations like Walmart, Target and Amazon. Musk says that’s where the economics of battery storage make the most sense and he expects 80% of the company’s battery storage business will be in that market.

Steve Hanley

Closely following the transition from internal combustion to electricity. Whether it's cars, trucks, ships, or airplanes, sustainability is the key. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.