Well, you could use it as a source of solar power (the company sells it for a few hundred dollars a watt, a tenth of what the grid requires). You could put lots of panels on your roof and then use them as solar panels. You could simply charge your phone or laptop or whatever power source and feed it back into your batteries. As of this writing, Tesla’s batteries cost less than $70 a gigawatt-hour (though you’re likely to lose money by doing that). That’s still only 15 bucks a month! Of course, as soon as the electricity is needed, someone else would have to dig up all of that dirt and pack the batteries. It would take years before there were enough to go around.
And then there’s the price of batteries, of course. Tesla’s is a few hundred dollars, but the competition is several hundred dollars a kilowatt-hour (say, with some extra money, you could build a couple hundred megawatt-hours of panels at twice the price of Tesla’s). That is huge.
At this point Elon Musk has already started to make a lot of money, and there still aren’t a lot of people that are paying attention.
So if you want to be the one to turn this on the world, it would be a good idea to build it yourself, or pay a company to do it. We’ve built some very large battery factories, and the most important thing about them — apart from scale — was that they always made it possible for us to charge our cars from home, instead of having to keep the batteries in the garage all the time. You could charge it at work, then go out and walk all over town without worrying about getting your car full of juice to start the next day.
The idea of plugging your laptop into Tesla’s new factory is cool (I’m hoping), and it would be awesome if that happened (just look at the list of tech sites that will be reporting on the announcement). But it will cost millions of dollars to start, and nobody will be paying it to build it. It will take a while, and we should wait for the economics to improve before we actually start using it, and that’s a good thing that nobody is doing.
Tesla started out as the cool startup, and they have a great market of potential customers, but these aren’t likely to buy a home battery, and nobody is going to pay for a Tesla Powerwall to turn their house to full
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