The new Tesla battery technology dubbed "Powerwall" seems to have taken the world by storm with the current supply of devices sold out until mid-2016. Available in two different sizes, 7 kW and 10 kW, it seems that consumers rather than businesses are showing the first interest in these products. This certainly bodes well for the future of the electric vehicle market and indeed has added an extra string to the bow of Tesla.
Sales so far
At this point in time around 38,000 "Powerwall" units have been sold, with just 2,800 going to the business community. This comes at a time when Tesla has reported increased sales of its leading electric vehicles and plans to introduce another model by mid-2016. While the company had automatically assumed that the battery technology would be secondary to its electric vehicles offered, it seems that the technology itself could be groundbreaking.
Is this the game changer people have been looking for?
The efficiency and the way in which energy is stored in the new "Powerwall" system is groundbreaking and has surprised many with the speed at which it has caught on with consumers. The fact that these systems can be used to power an array of different products means that in theory it should be easier to push this technology when compared to electric vehicles. However if we focus wholly upon electric vehicles this could be a serious game changer going forward.
Quote from ElectricForum.com:- "I'm developing a research that involves the simulation of urban traffic scenarios with electric vehicles. I'm working over a method to route choice. To experiment my method I need an important information: How many time drivers are willing to spend for the sake of saving energy? I use this information in terms of percentages. In this case, 40% of drivers are willing to spend 10% more time; 35% of drivers are willing to spend 20% more time; and 25% of drivers are willing to pay 50% more time."
Electric vehicle sales continue to rise
When you bear in mind that Tesla delivered just over 10,000 Tesla model S sedans in the first quarter of 2015, a 55% jump on the same period last year, this just about says everything. Even though the company saw its net loss widened to around $154 million, first-quarter revenues now stand at just under $940 million. It is easy to forget that Tesla is a company which has ploughed income back into the business to develop new technology, produce new vehicles, and make a smoother route from manufacturer to market.
The company itself is valued at around $29 billion which is phenomenal for a company yet to make an annual profit. At some point we will see the company move into profitability and indeed if technology investment was stopped tomorrow there would be an immediate bounce into profitability. However entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk tend to look longer term than most "normal business people" and are willing to forego short-term riches for the long-term good of their companies.
Initially Tesla was seen as a niche electric vehicle manufacturer, then the company broadened its horizons into more popular vehicle styles such as sedans and now we have the introduction of groundbreaking battery technology. The move away from the image of a "niche player" has taken many years and significant public relations activities but the company now stands on the verge of dominating a variety of different areas of the electric vehicle market.
Will we look back in years to come and realise that this new battery technology was in fact the game changer the industry was waiting for?