Elon Musk is a few tests away from completing a challenge to build the world’s most powerful battery in three months.
In July, Musk made a bet on Twitter that he could solve South Australia’s energy crisis in 100 days, or he’d pay out of pocket. Now the 100MW battery—the largest in the world by a good margin—is scheduled to be energized and tested in the next few days.
The network of Tesla Powerpacks, the company’s commercial-grade energy storage unit, is fully installed and connected to a nearby wind farm, according to a press release from the local South Australian government. It’s designed to provide power to 30,000 nearby homes should the wind farm not generate enough energy.
“The world’s largest lithium ion battery will be an important part of our energy mix,” South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill said in a statement. “An enormous amount of work has gone in to delivering this project in such a short time.”
It was Musk’s cousin, Tesla’s vice president of energy products, Lyndon Rive, who sparked the bet after telling the Australian Financial Review that the company could use Powerwall 2 rechargeable batteries to build enough energy to solve the supply problems in the state of South Australia. The region had just suffered widespread outages, with more than 40,000 homes intentionally going dark during a heatwave to avoid expending the region’s limited supply of energy.
Atlassian co-founder and billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes jumped on the opportunity to challenge Musk directly.
Tesla will get the system installed and working 100 days from contract signature or it is free. That serious enough for you?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 10, 2017
Tesla completed the task in about two months, well before the deadline, not something we’ve grown accustomed to with the electric automaker. Because it won the bet, Tesla won’t have to pay the energy storage system’s estimated $50 million cost.
Musk on Thursday tweeted his congratulations to the Tesla workers who installed the system.
Congratulations to the Tesla crew and South Australian authorities who worked so hard to get this manufactured and installed in record time! https://t.co/M2zKXlIVn3
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 23, 2017
Update 3:10pm CT, Dec. 1: The largest lithium-ion battery system in the world is now live, providing South Australia with a sustainable 24/7 method for storing wind energy for the first time in its history.
“The completion of the world’s largest lithium-ion battery in record time shows that a sustainable, effective energy solution is possible,” Tesla said in a statement. “We are proud to be part of South Australia’s renewable energy future, and hope this project provides a model for future deployments around the world.”
The project was completed several weeks ahead of schedule.
H/T the Verge