Tesla’s New PowerWall Batteries Give World Hope
A new and extremely exciting venture was revealed on Thursday in a presentation delivered by Elon Musk, the founder, CEO and product architect of electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors. Following on from the success of Tesla’s Model S and X motor vehicles, which run on electrical energy provided by one of the 415 Supercharger charging stations operating globally, Tesla has announced a new style of battery which could be the answer to humanity’s energy concerns.
PowerWall is essentially a sleek, shell-shaped, rechargeable lithium-ion battery designed for domestic spaces, which can replace power lines and costly generators through the use of solar panels, simply by attaching a small unit to the outside wall of your home. It will initially work to replace existing uninterruptable fossil-fuel dependent power supplies (e.g. generators which kick into gear when power lines fail) in order to provide reliable power supply, especially during the night. Musk suggests this model has the potential to act in much the same way as mobile phones integrated into our lives; it will leapfrog established technologies like the home landline, or in this case the coal-fired power lines that are draped across our skylines, to revolutionise the way we use energy. This approach could be particularly successful in remote and poor communities around the world, where energy supplies frequently cut out when they are needed most.
The unit would cost approximately $3500 for a one-time purchase – not including the cost of installation– which is still expensive compared to established fossil-fuel powered energy costs; but costs will hopefully lower as Tesla discovers new ways to streamline its production. The solar-powered system will run on a liquid thermal control system and use specialised software to convert solar energy into power for the home.
Musk stated that the patents for this new technology will be open-source and that he expects to collaborate with other renewable energy companies to ensure that production of the PowerWall will increase exponentially over time. PowerWall batteries will be produced in Tesla’s current renewable energy manufacturing facility, however as production increases next year, the PowerWall will be created in a new location: a factory the size of 8 football fields in Nevadanamed the ‘Gigafactory’. The factory itself will be powered by wind and solar energy, meaning that carbon emissions are kept at a minimum. This factory will be capable not only of producing Tesla’s rechargeable car batteries, but also larger rechargeable batteries called PowerPacks, which will be offered as part of Tesla Energy for Businesses and Utilities, meaning that business has even less of an excuse not to ‘go green’. The Powerpack will be infinitely scalable, which means that it can be multiplied into larger groups depending upon how large the solar panels on your commercial building are and how much energy you need. This development is the most promising of the two; a group of two billion PowerPack’s will be potentially capable of powering the entire world’s public transport, heating and energy needs. Musk assures us that there is no reason to doubt that manufacturing of the PowerPacks will reach this scale with the cooperation of renewable energy companies internationally.
PowerWall will begin shipping by mid-year, meaning zero emission power generation is less than a year away, at least for those lucky pioneers who have reserved themselves a battery for immediate installation upon release.