Tesla's Next Big Product Won't be a Car
Elon Musk is announcing a "major new Tesla product line" that's not a car next month.
Next month, Tesla will unveil a new product that has nothing to do with cars, CEO Elon Musk tweeted today.
It's a poorly kept secret that Musk has been looking to diversify Tesla's offerings, and, though he didn't specifically say what the company would be showing off, it's a safe bet that the April 30 event will be all about a new Tesla rechargeable lithium-ion battery (used in Teslas and in smartphones) that will power your home. If Tesla unveils something else entirely, it'd be a complete shock.
Basically, the battery is expected to be similar to those used in Tesla cars, but much larger and more powerful. We don't have any details yet, but the company has already tested using solar panels to charge an at-home battery that can be used to power your appliances and be wired to your outlets.
In February, Musk let slip during an earnings call that a battery is indeed in the works.
"We're going to unveil the Tesla home battery, or consumer battery, that will be for use in people's houses or businesses, fairly soon," he said. "We have the design done and it should start going into production probably in about six months or so. We're trying to figure out a date to have the product unveiling—it's probably in the next month or two. It's really great. I'm really excited about it."
Musk is also on the board of SolarCity, a solar energy company that has been piloting a home energy storage system over the past year, using Tesla-made batteries.
It's no secret that Musk sees Tesla as more of an energy company than a car one—he released all of the Tesla design patents in part to create a more robust ecosystem for electric cars.
Musk's Gigafactory, the largest battery factory in the world, is currently being built in Nevada. Something's got to be built there, and by all accounts, it's big enough to make more than just car batteries. Tesla has said that, by 2020, it wants to create more lithium-ion batteries in that one factory than were created in the entire world in 2013.
So, what would you do with a Tesla home battery? That remains to be seen, but, if you're already using solar power, it may be possible to pull your home completely off the standard power grid. Solar panels would charge the Tesla battery during the day, you'd use the battery to power your house at night.
In the Solar City pilot program, a fully charged Tesla battery is able to power a house for two full days. Musk has promised to make batteries cheaper, more powerful, and more efficient using the scale of his gigafactory—if it works, he may be on the cusp of creating a new market full of people who are their own power companies.