Elon Musk Signals Tesla Motors to Move into Home Energy Storage Market

In a move that could help provide more energy independence to households, Tesla Motors founder and CEO Elon Musk discussed plans to introduce battery packs that could serve as energy storage systems for households and businesses. Effective energy storage is one of the essential components that needs to be in place for solar and wind energy to produce constant and reliable energy at times when sunlight and wind is not available, and so far inexpensive and reliable energy storage has not been available for domestic use.

Musk explained in a conference call to investors, “We are trying to figure out what would be a cool stationary pack . . . Some will be like the Model S pack: something flat, 5 inches off the wall, wall mounted, with a beautiful cover, an integrated bi-directional inverter, and plug and play.” Musk said that more information would be forthcoming at the end of this year, or the beginning of 2015.

Musk said that Tesla is set to break ground next for the first of two planned ‘gigafactories’ which have a price tag of $5 billion where Tesla will manufacture batteries that will power the company’s electric cars — but it seems also batteries for other purposes are in the works also.

As we move into an time where distributed energy production is becoming a buzzword, it’s interesting to see Tesla looking at ways to provide domestic energy independence. Proponents of LENR have long held that it is a technology that is well suited for small-scale energy production, and the hundreds of thousands of pre-orders that Andrea Rossi reported receiving for the domestic E-Cat (currently on hold) indicates the level of interest that is out there for domestic energy independence. But if Tesla can pull off a reliable home energy storage system that could be combined with solar panels which are getting cheaper and much more widespread — they might have a system that could go a long way to providing levels of energy independence that many LENR supporters are hoping for.

With so much unknown it’s hard to make educated comparisons between what LENR could provide, and energy storage systems, but the trend is definitely in favor of an increasing amount of home energy generation, and I think that competition in this area will only serve to improve options for the end user and speed up deployment.

  • Ophelia Rump

    A battery is not home energy independence. It is a gimmick to sell a second battery pack for your Tesla. I don’t have a Tesla, I do not think most people do.

    If you can produce energy at home, you can sell it back to the grid in some states in the US. In other states A battery storage system would make economic sense justifying a larger solar array and 24 hour solar power for new solar installations.

    There is no trend toward home storage systems, there is a trend toward products looking for markets with a dwindling middle class.

  • I think that if I were an investor I would want to hear more about new battery technology – if Tesla has any – and rather less about the aesthetics of proposed designs.

    In view of the recent history of some very high density batteries, 6mm of steel might be of more practical use than a ‘beautiful cover’.

    • Ophelia Rump

      He knows his market.
      It is not investors, it is rich home owners with a preference for aesthetics.

      • “Musk explained in a conference call to investors, “We are trying …”

        • Ophelia Rump

          You need only listen to the words to find their meaning.
          Do you believe he has lost his mind?

          • It is to my great discredit that hadn’t appreciated that Mr Musk was so far elevated above the rest of the common (non-beauty-appreciating) herd that his words could not be commented on without giving rise to great vexation among his disciples. In my parochial ignorance I had imagined that he was just a clever inventor and shrewd businessman. But what would I know – I live in the UK, far from the land of such demigods.

            I will therefore refrain from upsetting his adherents any further with my casual heresies, as I have no particular wish to fan a flame war over something I care absolutely nothing about.

          • B4FreeEnergy

            Nice! 🙂

          • bachcole

            LOL! Thank you for that.

    • GreenWin

      I would agree with Ophelia. Tesla has become a mega-success by introducing technology via high end products, (Tesla Roadster @$120k.) Early adopters become virtual sales staff due to their passion. Musk will make energy storage a consumer electronics product, like HD TV, smartphones and tablets.

    • bfast

      Fortyniner, please understand who you are disagreeing with. Mr. Musk has a rather impressive resume. Maybe he understands the value of beauty in a way that you don’t.

  • Charles

    I’m not much for betting against anything that is Musk related and/or named Tesla. Tesla, in my opinion, ranks right up there with Newton, Maxwell and Einstein (I am not talking about Musk’s Tesla).

    I’m not much for betting on batteries, either. Every time someone says “batteries” my mind flips to EESTOR and their EESU. As far as electric cars are concerned, Zenn always pops into mind because of their association with EESTOR. If the EESU works, batteries will virtually disappear. Musk seems to be betting against EESTOR. And Zenn. I am aware that EESTOR seems to be floundering, but . . . . .

    The e-cat and EESU would be an absolutely unbeatable combination. Stand-by future.

    • USSSkipjack

      Are you sarcastic? EESTOR is dead, in case you have not heard. Seems like Weir had nothing all those years, no prototypes, definitely no factory line.

      • Charles

        In case you have not heard, EESTOR isn’t necessarily dead, though it may be on life support, as it has been for years. There is an article in the May 8, 2014, Wall Street Journal, still alive in case you have not heard, regarding swap stocks. Looks like they would stop stock swapping if EESTOR was “dead”. They should just do the obit.
        Reference: http://online.wsj.com/article/PR-CO-20140508-918500.html

        • USSSkipjack

          Its damage control by Zenn. That’s all. They realize that they have nothing and the whole thing is falling apart. I cant believe that after years of nothing, people believe in this. There is nothing there and probably never was.

  • GreenWin

    The sheer size of the Tesla investment $5B in two factories suggests this is the next “consumer electronics” wonder. It isn’t. It’s a chemical battery. But the idea of extending solar energy to 24 hours will appeal to his Model S customers – who have deep pockets. Combined with a hybrid home energy appliance like the NRG Beacon10 CHP, solar charges the battery in daytime, the NG Stirling at night (or low sol day.) This combo completely eliminates the grid, except for feed in (net meter sell back) and backup.

    But these are high cost investments for home owners. And present Tesla battery technology is warranted for only 8 years – though they’ll buy back and recycle used batteries. The good news is distributed energy grows even more rapidly, pre-paving the market for newer home energy appliances – like the E-Cat.

    Keep in mind that Google just paid $3.6B for Nest Labs – a “home energy appliance” maker.

    • Omega Z

      Battery Tech is on the verge of major advances.
      Best he allows for this or he could get stuck with so called stranded assets.

      • Doug Cutler

        You’re right. There could be a very big gamble here. One potential Tesla thunder thief is Toyota who reportedly will begin field testing solid-state lithium in 2015. Thin printed sheets of solid lithium will be much easier to pack into a smaller area. Suggested gains will be triple the energy density at half the cost per kwh. In other words, same size battery will go three times as far but cost 33% more, or same range of battery will cost half as much and take up less space in vehicle. Could also be a battery that goes a little bit further but costs a little less. Still, it remains to be seen if Toyota can deliver on this.

        Even so, Tesla might still be able to compete. With incremental tweaks to existing lithium tech and the sheer brute force of the economies of scale of a $5B megafactory they aim to bring down cost between 30% and 50% which would still put them in the ballpark of solid-state lithium’s touted numbers.

        Don’t look for a directly E-Cat powered vehicle any time soon. Rossi himself, I believe, has said it could be at least 20 years away. There is still the issue of gama rays. Does LENR put them out or not and under what circumstances? Even if commercial grade CF comes through, this could take years to sort out and any early applications of the E-Cat will almost certainly be at utility scale.

        • GreenWin

          Great comments Doug. Thanks. Indeed, LENR will make the cost of EV “fuel” i.e. battery recharge – essentially zero at home and pennies at commercial charge points. Tesla has proven itself fairly nimble in adapting to new technologies – they built the Roadster battery from off the shelf Li-Ion cells.

  • GreenWin

    The sheer size of the Tesla investment $5B in two factories suggests this is the next “consumer electronics” wonder. It isn’t. It’s a chemical battery. But the idea of extending solar energy to 24 hours will appeal to his Model S customers – who have deep pockets. Combined with a hybrid home energy appliance like the NRG Beacon10 CHP, solar charges the battery in daytime, the NG Stirling at night (or low sol day.) This combo completely eliminates the grid, except for feed in (net meter sell back) and backup.

    But these are high cost investments for home owners. And present Tesla battery technology is warranted for only 8 years – though they’ll buy back and recycle used batteries. The good news is distributed energy grows even more rapidly, pre-paving the market for newer home energy appliances – like the E-Cat.

    Keep in mind that Google just paid $3.6B for Nest Labs – a “home energy appliance” maker.

    • Omega Z

      Battery Tech is on the verge of major advances.
      Best he allows for this or he could get stuck with so called stranded assets.

      • Doug Cutler

        You’re right. There could be a very big gamble here. One potential Tesla thunder thief is Toyota who reportedly will begin field testing solid-state lithium in 2015. Thin printed sheets of solid lithium will be much easier to pack into a smaller area. Suggested gains will be triple the energy density at half the cost per kwh. In other words, same size battery will go three times as far but cost 33% more, or same range of battery will cost half as much and take up less space in vehicle. Could also be a battery that goes a little bit further but costs a little less. Still, it remains to be seen if Toyota can deliver on this.

        Even so, Tesla might still be able to compete. With incremental tweaks to existing lithium tech and the sheer brute force of the economies of scale of a $5B megafactory they aim to bring down cost between 30% and 50% which would still put them in the ballpark of solid-state lithium’s touted numbers.

        Don’t look for a directly E-Cat powered vehicle any time soon. Rossi himself, I believe, has said it could be at least 20 years away. There is still the issue of gama rays. Does LENR put them out or not and under what circumstances? Even if commercial grade CF comes through, this could take years to sort out and any early applications of the E-Cat will almost certainly be at utility scale.

        Other battery tech like lithium-sulfur and lithum-air show great potential but have steep technical obstacles to overcome first.

        • GreenWin

          Great comments Doug. Thanks. Indeed, LENR will make the cost of EV “fuel” i.e. battery recharge – essentially zero at home and pennies at commercial charge points. Tesla has proven itself fairly nimble in adapting to new technologies – they built the Roadster battery from off the shelf Li-Ion cells.

  • Private Citizen

    Would be a shame to see Musk undercut by more disruptive technologies. He’s a bold and bright fellow. Hopefully advances in LENR and cheaper hydrogen fuel cells can coexist with Musk’s plans for the future.

    • bfast

      I actually think that Tesla motors is very well positioned to adopt LENR quickly. The battery program does not fit well with this model. However his well honed electric car concept is likely to convert over quite nicely. While cars may end up running on steam or stirling, I think that at least early adoption will be electric.

    • Ophelia Rump

      Battery electric can play nicely in a LENR world.
      If you look at it from a dollar cost averaging perspective, marginally cost effective green solutions become highly cost effective when combined with LENR.

  • Julian Becker

    http://www.icebank.cn/news/detail_2.php?id=118

    Big News! A “Nickel Energy Research Center” established in Tianjin, China.

    Thomas Darden seemed present as well. So did many Chinese and American policy makers.

    Location is the Tianjin Huayuan Industrial Park (at least where the meeting took place)

    I think this might be a second base for the Ecat in China!

    • Buck

      This all begs the question: does Biden and therefore Obama know about LENR and, if so, when?

      I simply hope the answer is ‘Yes’.

  • Julian Becker

    Also a few more pictures here from the meeting with Tom Darden earlier on at the Diaoyutai Guest House in Beijing.

    http://www.bjxinghuyuan.com/news_view.php?tid=23&&id=125

  • Very interesting article about Tesla
    If I was driving , thats the car I would choose.

    http://www.drboblog.com/lenr-cars-water-as-fuel/

  • GreenWin

    Elon Musk, and David Crane are two of the new entrepreneurs who see opportunity in disrupting electric utility infrastructure and empowering energy independence.

    “…for the disconnected-from-the-grid home of the future, power first comes from solar on the roof because that’s the lowest marginal cost. The Dean machine also has a battery so you decide how much or little natural gas you want to use. When there’s not enough solar, you turn on the Beacon 10. Then, ideally, the grid itself would just be the ultimate backup. It’s the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.” D. Crane NRG – The Coming Electric Utility Apocalypse

    http://www.powermag.com/david-crane-and-the-coming-electric-utility-apocalypse/?pagenum=4

    • georgehants

      The U.K. has two and a quarter million unemployed, if these people where employed to manufacture and fit solar roofs then the U.K. would be energy for free (virtually) in a very short time. (by day)
      Only corrupt capitalism stops this from happening.

      • Donk970

        Indeed. Terminal capitalism will also prevent any sort of viable LENR device from making it to market.

        • hum,
          currently some capitalist executives are preparing to embrace LENR, make research, and compete with another of their worst enemy, another capitalist corporation…
          they think about partnering with tiny companies, infamous lenr researchers fired from their lab, …

          they are just a bit shy because media and academics would toast them if they are caught working on LENR.

          LENR have 3 enemies :
          1- academics and their parrots (academics, media, science comics, fans). Soon to be toasted.
          2- incumbent industry workers and rent owners, and their valets (politicians, media). not yet aware, soon toasted if Chinese get in.
          3- enemies of wealth and happiness (Malthusianists NGO and similar religions) , their parrots (media, populations) and valets(politicians). the one who will never abandon the fight.

          • Donk970

            LENR only has one type of enemy, those who stand to loose a lot of money if it succeeds. The academics in question would loose funding, oil companies would loose profits etc. Those with lots of money to loose are far bigger and politically more connected and powerful than those who have something to gain.

  • GreenWin

    Elon Musk, and David Crane are two of the new entrepreneurs who see opportunity in disrupting electric utility infrastructure and empowering energy independence.

    “…for the disconnected-from-the-grid home of the future, power first comes from solar on the roof because that’s the lowest marginal cost. The Dean machine also has a battery so you decide how much or little natural gas you want to use. When there’s not enough solar, you turn on the Beacon 10. Then, ideally, the grid itself would just be the ultimate backup. It’s the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.” D. Crane NRG – The Coming Electric Utility Apocalypse

    http://www.powermag.com/david-crane-and-the-coming-electric-utility-apocalypse/?pagenum=4

    • georgehants

      The U.K. has two and a quarter million unemployed, if these people where employed to manufacture and fit solar roofs then the U.K. would be energy for free (virtually) in a very short time. (by day)
      Massive reduction in CO2.
      Only corrupt capitalism stops this from happening.

      • Donk970

        Indeed. Terminal capitalism will also prevent any sort of viable LENR device from making it to market.

        • hum,
          currently some capitalist executives are preparing to embrace LENR, make research, and compete with another of their worst enemy, another capitalist corporation…
          they think about partnering with tiny companies, infamous lenr researchers fired from their lab, …

          they are just a bit shy because media and academics would toast them if they are caught working on LENR.

          LENR have 3 enemies :
          1- academics and their parrots (academics, media, science comics, fans). Soon to be toasted.
          2- incumbent industry workers and rent owners, and their valets (politicians, media). not yet aware, soon toasted if Chinese get in.
          3- enemies of wealth and happiness (Malthusianists NGO and similar religions) , their parrots (media, populations) and valets(politicians). the one who will never abandon the fight.

          The friends of LENR :
          – Engineers… because it works.
          – poor people, because it is cheap
          – abandoned people, because it is their last chance
          – still poor capitalist, because you can make much money, and they have no better chance
          – pioneers : because you can go boldly where no man have been before.

          • Donk970

            LENR only has one type of enemy, those who stand to loose a lot of money if it succeeds. The academics in question would loose funding, oil companies would loose profits etc. Those with lots of money to loose are far bigger and politically more connected and powerful than those who have something to gain.

  • roseland67

    Tesla battery packs will probably be used in conjunction with other distributed energy solutions
    to assist users in riding thru outages, demand, and to help balance utility
    limitations during peak demand conditions.
    It is a natural progression for Tesla to find another outlet for their product.
    However, I believe that material science and chemistry advancements will move away
    from the stock Tesla Lithium Ion solution into maybe lithium air, nickel fluoride etc

    My company is “hedging” towards these implementations now, many, many
    distributed energy integrations on the table already.
    Hope my career lasts long enough to see it happen.

  • roseland67

    Tesla battery packs will probably be used in conjunction with other distributed energy solutions
    to assist users in riding thru outages, demand, and to help balance utility
    limitations during peak demand conditions.
    It is a natural progression for Tesla to find another outlet for their product.
    However, I believe that material science and chemistry advancements will move away
    from the stock Tesla Lithium Ion solution into maybe lithium air, nickel fluoride etc

    My company is “hedging” towards these implementations now, many, many
    distributed energy integrations on the table already.
    Hope my career lasts long enough to see it happen.

  • Alain Samoun

    From the White House:
    On America’s path toward a clean energy future, solar power is an increasingly important building block.
    That’s why we installed solar panels on the roof of the White House — it’s a clear sign of our commitment to energy efficiency.
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/share/take-behind-scenes-look-solar-panels-white-house-roof?utm_source=email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=email330-video&utm_campaign=climate

    Next time an E-Cat in the basement?

    • Kahuna Bear

      Why in the world would anyone believe anything the WH has to say.

    • Donk970

      This president is too much under the influence of big money/big business and is likely to believe his advisors when they tell him that any sort of LENR device will be dangerous or too disruptive to allow.

  • Buck

    OZ,

    you presume too much about the ‘Good Character’ of the Oil/Gas industry and how it pursues the betterment of Mankind. Your picture does not jibe with reality and so you impugn the regulators as if that is the cause of the darker players in Oil/Gas.

    If the fracking fluids are as gentle as the chemicals to remove scale from heavy water buildup in one’s toilet as you suggest, then why did the Fracking Industry gain the benefit of Congress’ passing of legislation which precluded the Fracking Industry’s compliance with the Clean Water Act in the late ’90’s, if memory serves me? This effort is the source of the industry not needing to share the composition of fracking fluids.

    Wow . . .

    • Omega Z

      Buck
      I didn’t say the chemicals were gentle. They just work similar to. They dissolve a portion of the limestone during the hydraulic fracturing that allows Oil/Gas to flow easier to the main Well. Their also not as aggressive as many may think. That’s why they use ceramic balls. To slow the cracks gradual closing up. And they do close up.

      But the big problem with fracking is no different from most tasks. Someone Not doing their Job. You have dozens of people involved, but it only takes “1” who didn’t do his job to create problems. Sometimes in a catastrophic way.

      An Inspector preoccupied with texting. One employee who quits caring about the quality of his work Or just having a bad day. He’s tired & intentionally skips a step. Why not. It’s never been a problem before.(Complacency)

      All the Regulations in the World can’t prevent laziness, stupidity or Complacency from happening. You just do your best to keep it to a minimum.

      And Yes, People in corporations sometimes do despicable things, But most issues are people just not doing their job for whatever reason..

      But, The bottom line is you can’t just shut down all the coal, gas & oil without destroying society & killing Billions in short order. Everything stops. Food production, water, lights, medical, Everything. Society as we know it would end.

      • Buck

        OZ,

        Your assertions ring hollow . . . and your choice of words mislead. The industry lobbied for the exclusion to environmental protection acts . . . plain and simple. This only leaves the barn door open for aggressive predatory capitalism because of the legal shield and to presume that this does not occur ignores the industry’s own history.

        When you say “Chemicals not all that different then one uses for lime & descaling of toilets” your phrasing points to something common to the experience of consumers and therefore presumably safe and gentle. This is wildly different from the spectrum of toxic/carcinogenic chemicals described in stolen samples of fracking fluids.

        Do I think this aspect holds true for all within the industry . . . absolutely not. Nor would I even begin to suggest shutting down the industry because of an ideal.

        Finally, the above helps to explain why I am part of this LENR community . . . both you and I recognize the very broad benefits to humanity with the hopefully near term introduction.

        Pax

  • jousterusa

    Frank said, “Proponents of LENR have long held that it is a technology that is well suited for small-scale energy production,” and I am one of those proponents. But Rossi’s commitment to providing households the capacity to go off the grid is very tenuous, I think. It has not been a major issue in his research and it really needs to be if his dream is to be fully realized. There are enormous hurdles to overcome, starting with UL approval and with the concerted state-by-state effort of the Koch Brothers to stop providing benefits in the form of tax relief and compensation for solar and wind power users who can provide power back to the grid. And not the least of those hurdles, of course, is the electric utility industry itself, which enjoys monopolies in many states. Rossi better get started on electricity production in earnest if he is to become tomorrow’s Thomas Edison and a figure of historic importance, as I hope and believe he will.

  • jousterusa

    Frank said, “Proponents of LENR have long held that it is a technology that is well suited for small-scale energy production,” and I am one of those proponents. But Rossi’s commitment to providing households the capacity to go off the grid is very tenuous, I think. It has not been a major issue in his research and it really needs to be if his dream is to be fully realized. There are enormous hurdles to overcome, starting with UL approval and with the concerted state-by-state effort of the Koch Brothers to stop providing benefits in the form of tax relief and compensation for solar and wind power users who can provide power back to the grid. And not the least of those hurdles, of course, is the electric utility industry itself, which enjoys monopolies in many states. Rossi better get started on electricity production in earnest if he is to become tomorrow’s Thomas Edison and a figure of historic importance, as I hope and believe he will.

  • Allan Shura

    Important because nearly all uses or testing of new types devices to generate power by themselves in early stages of development run at either peak or delayed variable loads in a trade off between losses of the excess and or convenience. This is a great solution where the excess power is not always interfaced to sell the excess to the grid.

  • jousterusa

    Musk has gotten some very bad news. This is from The American Reporter:

    Toyota Drops Tesla for Hydrogen Fuel Cells

    In a striking demonstration that the era of hydrogen-fueled cars is finally here, the Toyota Motor Co. of Japan announced Monday that it would allow a contract for batteries with America’s vaunted Tesla Corp. to lapse in order to pursue a future with hydrogen fuel cells in its cars.

    “Toyota said on Monday that it would allow a battery-supply deal with Tesla Motors to expire this year and would focus instead on building cars running on hydrogen fuel cells, a next-generation technology that rivals Tesla’s all-electric systems,” the New York Times reported Tuesday morning.

    “Toyota Motor invested $50 million in Tesla to acquire a 3 percent stake in the Silicon Valley upstart in 2010, and signed a $100 million joint-development deal in 2011 for a version of Toyota’s RAV4 crossover sport utility vehicle that carried Tesla’s electric powertrains.

    “At the time, the two automakers suggested that the RAV4 electric vehicle could be the start of a wider collaboration,” the Times said. (12:45am ET, 5/13/14)