In May 2015, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, the leading global energy conservation manufacturer, announced the release of their latest fantastical invention: “Powerwall.”
The home battery, available this summer, provides a sustainable alternative source of energy, which you can use to power your home electrical appliances. The battery can be used to power your Tesla Motors Electric Car. The energy for the battery is supplied through Solar Panels which can be attached to the roof of your home.
The Powerwall is offered in an assortment of colors and can be stacked on top of each other. A single battery is approximately 51 inches in height, 34 inches in width, 7 inches in depth and weighs 220 pounds.
Musk delivered a keynote speech (powered by the Tesla battery, of course) where he presented the battery and further pressed the ever-growing need to switch to clean energy sources. He opened by saying, “What I’m going to talk about tonight is a fundamental transformation of how the world works, how energy is delivered across the Earth.”
Musk then began the presentation by projecting an image of the current state of global warming, followed by a graph of the Keeling Curve, which demonstrates the trend of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere.
The impact of both images is a visual representation of what the world could look like if we continue to release harmful chemicals into our atmosphere. Musk listed the existing ways of conserving energy: Coal, Natural Gas, Nuclear, Hydro, Wind and Solar.
An impactful and lasting solution, however, is not in any one of these methods, except in the Tesla Battery. And according to Musk, this solution exists in two parts:
first,get rid of carbon as a source of power; then, show people how easy it can be to do that.
An image of a blue square on the map of the United States, (occupying a very small portion of Texas) which represents that amount of land needed to power the whole country, communicated this message in the clearest and most powerful way.
Musk then zoomed in on the blue square, revealing an even smaller red pixel, which represents the amount of batteries needed to eliminate carbon as a source of energy
Musk addressed the inadequacy of existing batteries and described them as “expensive, unreliable, stinky, and ugly.” The Tesla battery is exceptionally powerful and relatively compact.
In order to make all transport, electricity and all heating renewable, we need 2 billion powerpacks releasing 200,000 gwh. Musk pointed out that currently, we have 2 billion cars and trucks on the road. The importance of that statement is to provide a comparison figure that people can relate to, suggesting that if we can do that, we can transition the world.
Aside from providing a cleaner source of energy, there are other benefits to purchasing the Tesla Battery. Firstly, it can be used as a backup energy source in the case of a power outage. It is also a solution for people who live in remote parts of the world, who don’t have electricity, or for whom it is too expensive. The battery works “off the grid.”
The fundamental question Elon Musk posed in the presentation was, in his words, “What do we need to transition the world to sustainable energy?” And the point he pressed in the presentation was that is was incredibly easy to do so.
According to the energy.gov, the average American spends $3,052 annually on energy. The Powerwall costs $3,500, (plus the cost of the panels and installation) and that’s a one-time purchase.
I believe that this solution is entirely feasible. With the Powerwall, sustainable energy sources become more accessible to people, and based on what they spend on electricity in a year, most would save money within a few years–specially if it’s permanent and if the government got involved to make the battery cheaper.
Musk also went beyond that, offering to share technology with other companies so the price of the battery goes down and everyone can participate in the transition to sustainable energy.
My only criticism of the presentation is that it leaves a lot of questions unanswered. The battery is one part of the package, but Musk didn’t make clear where the cables are coming from, how to install the battery, who will install the system, whether the solar panels are also Tesla, and so on.
Musk finished the presentation with this statement, “No incremental CO2, that’s the future we need to have, and the path that I’ve talked about, solar panels, that’s the only path I know that can do this. And I think it’s something we must do, and we can do and we will do.”
Watch the full presentation here: http://www.theverge.com/2015/5/1/8527543/elon-musk-tesla-battery-feels