Why Tesla’s Powerwall Is Just Another Toy For Rich Green People

Posted: May 21, 2015 by oldbrew in Energy, innovation
Tags: ,

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It’s more than a rumour that batteries degrade within ten years.

NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT

By Paul Homewood

Musk with utility-scale “Powerpack.” (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

You may have heard about Elon Musk’s plans to save us all from climate apocalypse by selling us all Tesla batteries, so that we can store electricity from wonderful solar panels.

A couple of articles which go into the economic detail and find that the idea just does not stack up.

It sounds like an attempt to offset the losses from their core auto business.

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Comments
  1. oldbrew says:

    ‘Musk said Tesla’s 7 kwh capacity battery would cost $3,000, while the 10 kwh capacity one would be $3,500. (That doesn’t include the cost of a DC-AC inverter – about $2,000 – plus professional installation.)’

    Anyone with solar panels at home should already have an inverter. Presumably they wouldn’t need a second one? The battery could be a big seller in California…

    ‘Californians are bracing for power shortages and rolling blackouts into the summer as the peak demand for power is expected to exceed supplies from May through September.

    Today’s rolling blackouts came as Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham warned that summer blackouts would not be the end of California’s power problems.’
    http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=93795

    ‘Speaking before the Chamber of Commerce’s National Energy Summit in Washington D.C., Abraham said California’s energy crisis could affect the nation and last for decades to come.’

    Well, they do say ‘Today, California. Tomorrow, the World’
    http://www.deeproot.com/blog/blog-entries/today-california-tomorrow-the-world-the-future-of-the-urban-tree-key

  2. M Simon says:

    The last time California had an energy problem they got a “libertarian” governor. Whose wife was a staunch Democrat.

  3. Fanakapan says:

    Snake Oil, pure and simple🙂

    I’m guessing he’s using something other than lead/acid batteries ?, so what he gains in space will be more than made up for by the cost of replacing the batteries when they reach the end of their cycle life, and wont collectively hold 1/2 a Kw.

    So realistically it would be a much cheaper option to simply Buy electricity, but of course the draw back to that plan would mean that Mr Musk doesn’t get to make a few more million in Green Subsidies, and no doubt the mark up on the actual junk he sells.

    Its simply Bizzare that people dont see the guy for what he is ?

  4. Stephen Richards says:

    Too many idiot journalists in the world to see through such a cunning conman.

  5. ivan says:

    Fanakapan, in technical circles it is being said that these units have a double purpose. First as a way of using the degraded lithium-ion batteries from the electric cars and second as a way of ramping up production of said lithium-ion batteries.

  6. tom0mason says:

    As incredible as his current devices are to the credulous Elon Musk is one sharp guy —

    Elon Musk was born and grew up in South Africa, buying his first computer at age 10. He taught himself how to program, and when he was 12 he made his first software sale—of a game he created called Blaster. At age 17, in 1989, he moved to Canada to attend Queen’s University, but he left in 1992 to study business and physics at the University of Pennsylvania. He graduated with an undergraduate degree in economics and stayed for a second bachelor’s degree in physics.

    After leaving Penn, Elon Musk headed to Stanford University in California to pursue a PhD in energy physics. However, his move was timed perfectly with the Internet boom, and he dropped out of Stanford after just two days to become a part of it, launching his first company, Zip2 Corporation.

    An online city guide, Zip2 was soon providing content for the new Web sites of both the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune, and in 1999, a division of Compaq Computer bought Zip2 for $307 million in cash and $34 million in stock options.

    He went on to more early success launching PayPal via a 2000 merger, Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) in 2002, and Tesla Motors in 2003. Musk made headlines in May 2012 when SpaceX launched a rocket that would send the first commercial vehicle to the International Space Station.

    IMO though his finest attribute is as a salesman and marketeer. As such his raison d’être is to identify perceived gaps in the market, and offer a products appearing to fill those requirements. To a large degree he has a good talent in that area.

    Working from the idea that Mr. Musk’s big battery will save the ‘renewable’ energy sector by smoothing out its lumpy energy production is a reasonable marketing ploy. But that is all it is — a marketing ploy. It is in reality is it’s no more credible than his Telsa brand of electric vehicles being viable without a big government subsidy, but the faithful don’t want to hear that.
    This battery pack is expensive over its lifetime. Overall its not particularly efficient method of storing electrical energy, and it imposes probable hazards into the lives of the purchaser. But as those with high disposable incomes scramble to buy one, they will not be bothered by mere practicalities of ownership, for them its the latest ‘save the planet’ feel good product from the guru of green technology.

    I greatly admire Mr Musk for his real marketing skill. He has tapped into a rich seam of guilt-ridden emotional need of the ‘technically stupid but rich’, offering them a salve for their over-heighten emotional need to ‘save the planet’. He’s made a big steel box of rechargeable batteries into the latest ‘must-have’ chic product. I believe the salesman that he is will win yet another lucrative slice of the ‘technically stupid but rich’ marketplace.

    Next-up the ‘technically stupid but rich’ to lobby for a big government subsidy for installing such devices?

  7. Fanakapan says:

    Interesting points there on the ‘Technically Stupid’ and depleted Lithium batteries🙂

    Makes me wonder though, given that conventional wisdom suggests a link between Intelligence and earning potential, how can it be possible for there to be so many high earners with the readies to buy Mr Musks’ products, that are evidently so lacking in critical skills, that Musk is able to accrue his Millions ?

    Its a Puzzle indeed🙂

  8. oldbrew says:

    No puzzle Fanakapan – he sells the idea that his expensive and unnecessary products are status symbols.
    Wealthy suckers love that idea😉
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Status_symbol

  9. tallbloke says:

    Large piles of subsidy help Musk too…

  10. Keith Willshaw says:

    Real life calling Elon Musk.

    If you think I would ever agree to housing a highly flammable battery that emits extremely toxic fumes when it burns you must be out of your tiny mind. While nickel-manganese-cobalt batteries are less flammable than traditional lithium ion cells that’s rather like stating that paraffin is ‘safe’ because its less flammable than avgas.

  11. oldbrew says:

    TB: ‘Large piles of subsidy help Musk too…’ – correct…

    ‘Los Angeles entrepreneur Elon Musk has built a multi-billion-dollar fortune running companies that make electric cars, sell solar panels and launch rockets into space. And he’s built those companies with the help of billions in government subsidies.’

    http://www.thegwpf.com/crony-billionaire-elon-musk-received-4-9-billion-in-taxpayer-subsidies/