Elon Musk draws comparisons to Steve Jobs whenever he steps on stage and the event to launch Tesla Energy was no different. After the event even his skeptics would agree that there are glimpses of Jobs in his approach.
When apple launched the iPod it was not the first digital music player in the market but a decade later it has become the default name for digital music player. The same is the story behind iPhone and even the iPad. What Jobs managed to do with these products was not invent something new but rather make the product appeal to people at all levels.
Fast forward to Elon Musk, Tesla motors has revolutionized electric mobility like no other company before it. The Japanese are automotive pioneers and had options in electric vehicles but Tesla stands apart. For sometime now we have come to know Elon Musk’s interest in solar energy (solarcity chairman, solaredge investor) and his plans to build batteries but little did we know that he would begin the process right at the bottom of the pyramid, the end user at distributed generation systems.
Watch Elon Musk’s talk during the launch of powerwall
He began his keynote presentation by talking about Keeling Curve (the curve that estimates the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere over a period) and the need to switch to renewable energy esp solar energy. He calls the sun a fusion reactor.
What Jobs managed to do with apple devices was to make people feel that they have something special in their hands. I’m a big fan of this concept and I believe renewable energy will reach its true potential only when people feel that they are in part responsible for its generation and also its consumption. And bingo, that is how Elon Musk presented his idea, the idea of US having a great potential to tap solar energy and most of it through rooftop solar systems. He then put the problems with current batteries and our energy consumption in simple words by describing how big a room we need to store batteries just because we don’t have sunlight at night. What followed next was the launch of Tesla Powerwall
Powerwall is a Lithium ion battery which can seamlessly integrate with the existing grid, solar power and power your loads. Of course this is not the first product which does this but this product is so compact in design that you would want to have it right away even though it costs you upwards of USD 3500.
It is so compact in design that it is smaller than a typical 300Wp solar module! It is smaller than the source that powers it.
The product is currently being launched in7kWh and 10kWh. The product is completely scalable and you could stack it. But the address also showed the first glimpse of battery pack with a capacity of 100kWh.
The event is just a preview of what Elon Musk plans to do in the future through Tesla Energy. The best part came in the end when the cameras zoomed to the energy meter of the building which showed zero consumption from the grid and all the energy coming from the powerwalls. Should I say trendy powerwalls? because you get to choose the colour of your battery to match the theme of your wall. This is customisation, it brings the consumer closer to the product even though he doesn’t understand the science behind its working. This is where Elon Musk aligns with Jobs style of thought; when the Germans are looking at industrial size Lithium Ion and Sodium Ion battery containers and the Chinese working on Lithium Ion batteries for electronic devices and mobility, Elon Musk went to the end consumer who is in turn a solar power generator and its consumer with a device that will make him feel proud