Elon Musk pours more Kool-Aid into Powerwall

Output doubled, but capacity and likely poor user experience remains the same

Tesla powerwall

Elon Musk has responded to criticism of the specs of its Powerwall home battery, and says when it start shipping the system's output power will be doubled, without changing the price.

Vegan seat covers weren't the only hot button Elon wanted to clear up at the company's annual shareholder meeting.

“We actually took some of the negative feedback to heart,” he said, “and I am very happy to announce that we’ve dramatically increased the power capability of the Powerwall."

The original Tesla Powerwall spec of 2 kW continuous and 3.3 kW peak power output isn't enough to boil a kettle, so he told the AGM the new spec will be 5 kW continuous and 7 kW peak.

That means Tesla has “basically more than doubled the power output … and the price is going to stay the same.”

It seems to The Register that what the company has done is tweaked the battery management in the Powerwall so it pump out more electrons, faster.

However – the specs are here if you doubt us – the total storage capacity (10 kWh for “backup” applications, 7 kWh for “daily cycle” applications) remains the same.

That means a backup user – which is Elon's first priority for the home batteries – can now empty the batteries in two hours, if they so wish. To be fair, someone who already lives the off-grid solar life probably knows not to fire up a bunch of appliances after dark, but performance hype has been a feature of Powerwall coverage ever since the device's launch.

Another criticism Musk's taken to heart is the cost to end users, since early on it looked like having a Powerwall delivered through the channel, nailed to the wall, and plugged in would close to double the final price.

He told the AGM “the expectation” is that delivery and installation should be in the $US300 to $500 range.

“We're going to be prioritising delivery … to partners that minimise the costs to the end user,” he said.

That also means the home market Musk likes most is someone who already has solar panels and a power inverter installed, “so you don't need to buy an additional ac/dc inverter”.

He also told the shareholders as much as 80 per cent of the company's non-car battery business will be to utilities and large industrial customers – the Powerpack product, rather than the Powerwall.

That, perhaps, explains why the company reckons it's got wriggle-room to play with the Powerwall's specifications and the price through the channel – the residential power market is important for branding.

The Register notes that if there is any Tesla-driven “game change” in the offing, it's at the that level rather than the home-user level. For an enterprise or an electricity retailer, the attraction is to buy enough Powerpacks to minimise what they buy from the grid during expensive peak periods. ®




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