If It’s Not a Car, Then What Is Elon Musk Creating?
Elon Musk, the enigmatic Tesla founder and CEO has announced a “major new product line” last April 30. Interestingly, it is the first product of the company that is not a car.
Musk is well-known for his ability to turn science fiction into reality. He has done it with his fully electric cars and reusable space rocket. Musk also had plans for Hyperloop, a train capable of peaking at 800 miles per hour. Speculation is therefore rife on what really is this major product.
After he made his announcement, the most persistent rumors is that it will be a battery pack for the home. This battery pack will take the place of mains electricity, cooking and heating gas.
In a February conference called by the company, Musk stated that his company will unveil the Tesla home battery, a consumer battery that is designed to be used in homes and businesses.
Major new Tesla product line — not a car — will be unveiled at our Hawthorne Design Studio on Thurs 8pm, April 30
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 30, 2015
“We are trying to figure out what would be a cool stationary [battery] pack. Some will be like the Model S pack; something flat, five inches off the wall, wall mounted, with a beautiful cover, an integrated bi-directional inverter, and plug and play,” Musk stated.
To further excite the rumor mill, Musk made an additional comment to Bloomberg saying that his company already completed the design of the Tesla home battery and the product will start production in about six months or so.
Musk is not treading on new ground. He is the current chairman of Solarcity, a company which has partnered with Tesla in providing home battery storage units. This company is now running a small pilot project of 300 systems in the San Francisco Bay Area.
But as soon as Tesla’s huge Giga Factory is operational at the end of this year, production of these systems will be at full speed.
The battery pack sold by Solarcity is designed to be attached to the interior wall of a garage. It comes with Tesla branding, and can power an entire house if the utility grid goes offline. This would be convenient especially after natural calamities such as an earthquake or other natural disasters.
If the home battery is fully charged, it can power the kitchen fridge, charge electrical devices such as smartphones, operate the lighting system of the home, and provide electricity to alarms and home security systems.
Solarcity has been requesting website visitors to “check back again in mid-2015 for a new and improved offering.” This ties in neatly with Musk’s announcement in late April.
Developing a home battery that will provide power to the entire house may be a bit optimistic even for a person like Elon Musk. A more conservative way is to create an accessory which allows Model S drivers to use their car to supply power for just the basics – such as security and light – and only during emergency situations.
The way Musk announced his new major product leaves everybody guessing if there will only be one product or a series of products. Those who want to know will only have a few months to wait before the big reveal.