Speaking on the company’s quarterly earnings call, Musk said Tesla had taken reservations (non-binding agreements) which led him to believe the company would sell $50m of storage in the fourth quarter of 2015, and up to $500m in both 2016 and 2017.

Musk said: “If you just take the reservations that have been made thus far, it’s well over $1 billion worth of Powerpacks and Powerwalls. And that’s with no marketing, no advertising, no sales force to speak of, really, we’re not trying to sell it”.

Tesla chief technology officer Jeffrey Straubel, who was also on the call, said that around 70% of the reservations were for the larger 1MW Powerpack system, which is focused at commercial users and large-scale energy generators.

However he added that the domestic-focused Powerwall had also proved more popular than expected.

Musk said the biggest order taken had been for 250 Powerpacks, with an average of 5-10 per order. The average order for the Powerwall system was 1.5.


Going forward, Musk said he expected to see more demand for the larger system because of its ability to save money for power generators.

He said the Powerpack would allow power plants to buffer – operate at the average energy demand – storing energy at periods of low demand, then releasing it at peak demand.

“In principle, you could shutdown half of the world’s power plants if you had stationary storage,” he said.

“This is independent of renewable energy. It does not matter whether you have solar panels, this is just being able to shut down half of your power plants if you have buffering, because you can then have your power plant output at the average of what is needed by the consumers.

“It seems like sometimes people link this too much to renewable energy. Of course we’re huge believers in renewable energy, but that is not the gating function of demand for stationary storage.”

Ramp up

Tesla energy products are already being manufactured at a factory in California, but Musk said Tesla’s enormous Gigafactory would be producing batteries on a much larger scale in the first quarter of 2016.

Musk’s optimism about future sales is not unfounded. The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) released a report last week claiming there will be an international ‘megashift’ towards energy storage within the next 10 years as the cost of batteries falls by up to 60%.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has also called for the planet’s energy storage capacity to be tripled by 2030, with 325GW of pumped-storage hydroelec­tricity, and 150GW of battery storage installed.


In related news, on the same day as the earnings call, Tesla released a video of its ground-breaking ‘snakecharger’.

The 30-second clip shows a robotic snake-like charger plugging itself into Tesla’s Model S, and has picked up almost 3.5 million views in the last week. 

Tesla has released no other information about the device, which connects to the charging port with no human help.

Elon Musk first mooted the idea of an autonomous charger back in December 2014, with this tweet.

Model S owners can currently charge their cars at home, or take advantage of Tesla’s 500 supercharging points around the globe, including 27 in the UK. The superchargers can reportedly provide 170 miles of range in as little as 30 minutes.

The problem of how to increase the range of electric vehicles is inspiring a whole range of innovative solutions. The UK Department of Transport announced on Tuesday it would be trialling a way of charging cars through the very roads they drive on.

Brad Allen

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