While homes are traditionally connected to the grid to get power, when a power cut occurs, it can cause devastation for home automation and security systems, not to mention the possible problems caused to more traditional appliances like freezers and ovens.
Tesla wants to reduce people’s reliance on the national grid; instead the company envisions a future where customers will charge a battery which will be ready to use when there’s a power outage or even an excess need for power, such as during a heat wave.
The way the company is thrusting the world towards that future is by announcing the Powerwall home battery system, which will allow customers to untether from the power grid for a few hours, which may not be a massive deal, but could potentially revolutionise the way we power our homes.
Introducing the Powerwall in Southern California, USA, Tesla CEO Elon Musk says that the Powerwall is a “whole integrated system that just works and is connected to the internet.”
So how does it work? Essentially what Tesla has done is pack lithium-ion cells into one large power pack, which are in turn cooled with a liquid thermal-control system.
The reasoning behind the internet connection to allow users to track power usage and share that information with utility companies.
Tesla will be offering the Powerwall to installers via distributors, with a 10kWh version available for £2,300, or a 7kWh model costing £2,000.
Installers will need to bear in mind that this doesn’t include the cost of a DC-to-AC inverter, which will also be needed, although the company has said that those with solar cells already on their homes needn’t worry about this extra cost, as it’s likely an inverter is already available.
Tesla says that the 10kWh version is designed for customers on the national grid wanting to get usage out of the batteries when the power goes out, while the 7kWh version is designed for those with solar cells wanting to use the power generated during the day in the evening.
Of course if a power outage lasts a couple of days, then a couple of extra hours isn’t any use for customers, something Tesla is hoping to rectify by allowing installers to stack Powerwalls together, with the ability to have up to nine in one home.
Distributors will have the option to lease the Powerwall to customers, alongside the traditional sales model, with the device coming with a 10-year guaranteed life with warranty.
While Tesla will be the first company to ship a battery for your home later this summer, it is hoping that others will follow suit by offering up the patents to rivals to develop a similar system.