Tesla claims new battery is world-changing

To hear the company chief tell it, Tesla’s new battery will change the world.

Tesla Motors Inc. CEO Elon Musk announced the release, at an event live-streamed online, of a new Tesla battery design he described as “like a beautiful sculpture on a wall,” and of a scalable technology Musk said is capable of providing clean power for all human needs globally.

The Tesla "Powerwall" battery.

The Tesla “Powerwall” battery.

The need to store renewable energy was the missing piece for a carbon-free future world, Musk told a cheering audience in Hawthorne, California. All previous battery designs “suck,” said Musk. “They’re stinky … They’re bad in every way.”

A company press release said Tesla’s batteries are based on systems in Tesla electric vehicles. It described them as turn-key energy storage systems that integrate batteries, power electronics, thermal management and controls, and essentially plug into solar panels.

Tesla said its lithium-ion batteries are immediately for sale via its web site, teslaenergy.com, for $3,500 (U.S.) for a home unit, not including installation  provided in the U.S. by a list of approved partners. Purchased batteries will be delivered later this year, said Tesla.

The company said the batteries will allow residences, businesses and utilities “to store sustainable and renewable energy to manage power demand, provide backup power and increase grid resilience.”

“You don’t need to have a battery room. A normal household can mount it on their garage, or the outside wall of their house,” said Musk. “You can, if you want, go completely off grid,” or provide inexpensive, convenient power in remote areas far from electricity transmission lines.

Musk said larger versions of the battery technology, called Power Packs, can fuel entire cities — and 2 billion of them could provide all the electrical energy needed for the entire world.

Two billion sounds like a lot, said Musk, but noted there are already some 2 billion cars and trucks globally. “This is actually within the power of humanity to do. We have done things like this before. It’s not impossible.”

The patents on the technology are open, Musk announced to cheers, so any other company can use them to build the batteries, and move the world to sustainable energy.

“That’s the future we need to have,” said Musk. “It’s something that we must do, that we can do, and we will do.”

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