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Elon Musk’s next crazy project is a battery that can power your home

Tesla's Powerwall powered its own presentation.


AJ Dellinger


Posted on May 1, 2015   Updated on May 28, 2021, 10:38 pm CDT

No longer content with just powering cars, Elon Musk and Tesla are now aiming to make homes, businesses, and utility services energy efficient. Late Thursday evening, Telsa made its much awaited battery a reality.

Dubbed Tesla Energy, the new product line has an ambitious goal according to Musk, who rather nonchalantly stated he wants to “change the way the world uses energy at an extreme scale.” No big deal.

The first part of that plan begins in the home with the Tesla Powerwall. These six-inch thick, three-by-six foot boxes are “completely sustainable, zero carbon” batteries that can be mounted inside or outside of the home. Built into the sleek casing—which comes in multiple colors, of course—is an integrated heat management system and internet capabilities.

Two different models of the Powerwall will be available: 7 kilowatt hour (kWh), priced at $3,000, and 10 kWh at $3,500. Installation is said to take up to an hour with two people. The battery will be able to serve as a backup in case of power outage, perform energy load shifting to save the user money, or Musk claims with nothing but the Powerwall and a solar panel, people will be able to effectively move off grid.

While the Powerwall aims for residential use, the Powerpack is Tesla’s true test of power. Described as an “infinitely scalable system,” the Powerpack will come in 100kWh battery blocks that can be stacked to 10 megawatt hours (MWk) or higher.

The Powerpack will roll out later this year with a larger push made come 2016, and the Powerwall will begin shipping in a few months with a ramped up effort once the Nevada based battery building Gigafactory comes online.

As we wait for it to become available to the masses the Tesla Energy project already out in the wild. In California, 300 homes already have the Powerwall, while a handful of Walmarts are equipped with the business-centric Powerpack. Tesla also announced a 4.8MWk project with one of the Amazon Web Services infrastructure in northern California.

To demonstrate just how feasible the project is, Musk revealed that the entire presentation was powered by a Powerwall unit, providing the entire building in which the unveiling took place with enough solar-generated power to keep the lights on.

So how scalable does Elon Musk (Tony Stark without Robert Downey Jr.’s charisma) believe Tesla Energy to be? He claims that it would take just 160 million Powerpacks would power the entire United States; 2 billion could handle the whole world. 

Nope, it just wouldn’t be an Elon Musk keynote without a deep undertone of world domination.

Photo via pestoverde/Flickr (CC BY-2.0) 

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*First Published: May 1, 2015, 4:19 pm CDT