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Tesla Motors to Unveil Home and Utility Batteries April 30

Tesla Motors to Unveil Home and Utility Batteries April 30 Bloomberg Business


Tesla Motors Inc. will announce a home battery and a “very large” utility-scale battery on April 30, according to an e-mail sent to investors and analysts.

The e-mail Tuesday from Jeffrey Evanson, Tesla’s head of investor relations, said the company “will explain the advantages of our solutions and why past battery options were not compelling.” Khobi Brooklyn, a Tesla spokeswoman, said that “we’ll share more information next week,” without confirming the e-mail.

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Already being tested in 11 Walmarts and 300 homes:

Tesla's move into batteries has been long expected. Tesla CEO Elon Musk hinted back in February at the company's intentions to build batteries, and in March he tweeted that a "major new Tesla product line — not a car" was to be unveiled on April 30.

In an email to analysts and investors, also seen by BuzzFeed News, Tesla head of investor relations Jeffrey Evanson confirmed that the company planned to introduce the "Tesla home battery and a very large utility scale battery."

Evanson added: "We will explain the advantages of our solutions and why past battery options are not compelling."

Bloomberg has more detail on Tesla's intentions, revealing that the company is already actively testing out the batteries in a pilot program in California. Some 300 homes have been fitted with the home batteries, along with 11 Wal-Mart stores. Cargill is another company planning to use the batteries.

Other commercial plans include "powering its factories ... [and] reducing electric bills at schools and wineries."

Read more:

The batteries connect, in a bigger way, Tesla with SolarCity, a company that Musk is chairman of. 

Tesla has developed some considerable skill in electric storage and power management, as the company has developed electric cars that can serve up 200-plus miles of range on a single charge.

Bringing this line of business into the picture, at a larger scale, makes a certain amount of sense for Tesla. But the core business isn't yet batteries – it's cars. Over time, Tesla may be building so many batteries that it becomes like an electric Standard Oil.

But for now, Tesla needs to move past its current, and only, car, the Model S sedan. The Model X SUV needs to arrive by the third quarter of this year. And the Model 3 mass-market car needs to hit by 2017.

A home battery isn't going to achieve those objectives. Getting better at building lots of cars will. That's something that investor need to keep in mind, next week and heading into Tesla's first-quarter earnings announcement in early May.

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CEO Elon Musk thinks rivals' batteries "suck," according to the note from Jeff Evanson, Tesla's investor relations director. 

Home batteries power up overnight, when energy companies typically charge less for electricity. Then, they can be turned on during the day to power a home. Though home batteries cost thousands of dollars, many utility companies will offer rebates.


Those batteries start at about $13,000, though California's Pacific Gas and Electric Co. offers customers a 50% rebate. Tesla's batteries are three-feet high by 2.5-feet wide, and they need to be installed at least a foot and a half off the ground. They can be controlled with a Web app and a smartphone app.

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