Just about 4 months ago Tesla officially announced acquisition of SolarCity – click . Many people consider this as a giant leap towards bringing solar energy to the masses. Today we finally have a real-life case study of Tesla’s revolutionary solar system in use and it’s undeniable that Elon Musk’s company is on the right track to lead the solar energy revolution.
This week, a well-known consumer advocacy portal CHOICE – click, published an article describing the story of an Australian Tesla fan who used the Powerwall battery for the past year and experienced its saving potential.
Powerwall – click is a smart lithium-ion energy storage pack designed and produced by Tesla Inc. In short, this product is a battery pack for your home that stores energy from photovoltaic panels and delivers sustainable electricity, even when the sun isn’t shining. Powerwall is a great backup power device but it also gives the user the ability to sell excess of energy back to the grid. With its power management system, Powerwall is able to significantly decrease household energy bills spending.
The best proof for Tesla’s solar system cost cutting capabilities is the story of Nick Pfitzner described in CHOICE article – click. Nick lives with his family in a four-bedroom home in Kellyville Ridge, Australia. This large residence is equipped with atelier, laundry, outdoor entertainment area and its own pool. Powering this home with electricity in 2015 cost Nick $2289 but in January 2015 Nick decided to invest in sustainable energy system. Nick invested $16,790 in buying 7kW Powerwall battery, a 5kWp solar array, a SolarEdge inverter and a Reposit monitoring system.
Nick Pftitzner standing alongside his home solar system
After implementation of this system Nick’s average quarterly bill dropped from $572 in 2015 to $45 in 2016. After a year of using his new power system Nick was able to save 92% on his annual electricity expenses. His annual electricity bill has dropped from $2110 in 2015 to $178.71 in 2016. This level of efficiency surprised the owner himself: “Before I crunched the numbers I was looking at what would be my return on investment. If it saved me 80% of my power bill, [I thought] it would be pretty good,” he says. Outstanding efficiency of Nick’s system topped original Tesla Inc projections estimating that their solar systems can pay itself off within 14 to 18 years. If Nick’s solar system will continue operating at this rate it will payback in just 8 years.
Isn’t it marvelous?
Remarkable results of Nick’s power system will undoubtedly ignite already booming market of solar power systems. This combined with Tesla’s progressing plan of building 3 more Gigafactiories – click in order to increase supply and lower costs of batteries and photovoltaic panels only amplifies the strong belief that solar will power our future.
Couple weeks ago (28.10.2016)Tesla in cooperation with SolarCity presented new solar powered ecosystem for private houses and small businesses. Tesla’s new green energy system is entirely sustainable and more cost-effective than regular grid system.
Power generating Roof Tiles are more durable, less costly and almost indistinguishable from traditional roofs. With this design and cost-efficiency Tesla is undeniably a forerunner in emerging market of accessible photovoltaic roofs.
Tesla, Solar Roof tiles
That day Tesla also announced Powerwall 2, energy storing lithium-ion batteries for private use. Powerwall 2 is capable of powering a two-bedroom house for 24 hours entirely without power from the grid. Tesla’s approach to product design is also very visible with this one. Powerwall 2 has very aesthetical design making it the most elegant home battery on the market.
Tesla, Powerwall 2
Tesla’s solar system allows households to be more energy independent and save thousands dollars on their annual energy bill. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the Powerwall 2 “may be the cheapest lithium ion battery for the home ever made.” This is making Powerwall 2 an approachable home battery system of now and today.
Solar Roof and Powerwall 2 combined with Tesla’s electric cars creates cost-efficient, zero-emission ecosystem of the future.
Tesla, zero-emission ecosystem
Tesla new ecosystem presentation caused widespread buzz in the media and was a first sign of upcoming event.
Last Monday (21.11.2016) Tesla acquisition of SolarCity was officially announced.
SolarCity is the biggest provider of commercial solar panels in the United States. It has its own direct sales force and the best installation team in the industry. Moreover, SolarCity has developed innovative financing options making solar energy more accessible and affordable.
Just one day after the acquisition Tesla published this mind blowing one-minute video showing their new solar-powered microgrid that can supply whole energy demand of beautiful Tau Island located in American Samoa.
Thanks to combined effort of Tesla and SolarCity Tau Island is able now to entirely abandon diesel generators and become sustainable, remote Island powered fully by renewable energy.
Acquisition of SolarCity made Tesla a truly integrated sustainable energy company. They are now able to produce energy (Solar Roofs), storage it (Powerwall 2) and efficiently use it for transportation (Tesla cars). With those resources Tesla is giving people possibility of living zero-emission, entirely sustainable, green lifestyle.
This is the beginning of revolution in the way we produce and consume energy and Tesla just made another big step towards the world free of fossil fuels.
Earlier this month on the blog presented was Chinas elevated bus, Mercedes first fully electric transport truck and Tesla’s Gigafactory. It seems like electric cars field gets more and more fruitful as during the last couple of weeks we learned about many new innovations and cars getting ready to hit the market.
Tesla’s Model S P100D with0–100 km/h in 2.5sec- as fast as Bugatti Veyron Super Sport
Tesla has presented an upgraded Model S with a new larger battery of 100kWh. This upgraded battery makes it fastest accelerating production car at the moment. The only faster cars where LaFerrari 4 and Porsche 918 Spyder which is no longer being produced. The cost of current fastest accelerating production car is $134,500 which is over 6 times less than the price of Porsche 918 Spyder of $847,000.
This version of Model S does not only give stunning acceleration but also increases the range of car to total 315 miles (~507 km) which are 20 miles (~32km) more than previous strongest Model S version.
Plugless wireless charger for Tesla Model S
The Evatron is almost ready to ship their new wireless charger for Tesla Model S called Plugless. The innovation allows charging a car without attaching any cables to it simply driving on the pad providing induction power to Tesla. The only thing that needs to be done is installing an add-on module to Model S itself. The good thing is that such a module does not affect Tesla’s warranty. On top of it, the company gives their own 3-year warranty that covers any costs in a case when vehicle manufacturer voids a warranty as a result of use or installation of the Plugless wireless charger.
That is not the first add-on wireless charger company is offering. Until now they had in offer chargers for Chevrolet Volt, Chevrolet Volt Gen 2, Nissan Leaf and Cadillac ELR.
The cost of an add-on to Tesla Model S stands at the moment at $2440 including free shipping and vehicle installation. The one hour charging gives at least 20 miles of range(7.2kWh).
Affordable Volkswagen 2019 electric car with 300 miles range on 15-minute charge
According to Herbert Diess, the chairman of Volkswagen company is going to put on the market in 2019 electric car with incredible fast charging speed. Similarly, to technology being introduced in modern smartphones quick charging technology is going to hit electric car market. This VW is going to get 300 miles range on just 15-minute charge. To see how big a difference it makes, let’s compare it to Tesla’s best model with the fastest charging speed which in 45 minutes is able to charge 80% of its batteries giving it ~252 miles range.
This charging speed requires 800-volt charging station which is yet to be widely implemented. But it is possible that adapted charging stations will be quite common in a couple of years as Volkswagen is actively looking into it (in the US and central-west Europe).
The car is said not only to have good range and very fast charging speed but also to be affordable as VW wants it to cost less than traditional cars with combustion engines.
The car will be presented this year on Paris motor show.
Uber and Volvo join forces to put on the market in 2021 self-driving cars.
Uber and Volvo decided to join forces and invest jointly $300 million in order to create production self-driving car which is going to be based on XC90 SUV.
Probably even more interesting fact is that Uber testing the cars in a real environment right now in Pittsburgh, PA where Uber clients can have a free ride in the self-driving car while an engineer will sit in the front in order to monitor performance and when needed take control of the car.
Volvo and Uber are not only team trying to set up self-driving driverless taxi fleet. For the same year 2021, Ford set the date to put on the market cars without a steering wheel.
Yandex to build self-driving 12-seat passenger bus
Yandex the Russia’s leading search engine similarly to Google wants to be a part of autonomous electric cars market. Yandex in partnership with truck producer Kamaz, Daimler, and NAMI a government-funded research organization is building a self-driving minibus.
The shuttle bus will be able to fit up to 12 people and have a travel range of 200 km. The car will also allow passengers to specify their destination via an app on their smartphone. This may mean that it will work similarly to uberPOOL allowing to cut costs of the ride even further.
Small additional information: Baidu Chinese biggest search engine provider is not far behind Google or Yandex as it is on a way to have its own self-driving electric car based on modified Chery eQ.
Which of the presented news do You think has the biggest potential to make a big impact on the market?
On July 29th Tesla held the grand opening of their new factory, the Gigafactory. When it will be finished in 2020 it is supposed to have the largest footprint of any building in the world. As of now, it has only 3 of the final 16 sections build (the 4th one consist of raw steel beam frame) this translates to 14 percent of the expected final factory size. By this time Tesla in partnership with Panasonic had spent $431 million on Gigafactory while the planned total investment is estimated to be around $5 billion.
The factory is being built in stages.
The first sector is fully operational with machines on one side (robotic arms and very big machines responsible for cathode or anode processing) and designers on the other (separated only by hip-height dividing wall).
The second sector consist of fully prepared space (painted walls in place) and machines being assembled.
The third section is construction site where walls are being painted and assembled.
The third as mentioned earlier consist only of raw steel beam frames.
What is so innovative in this factory is the pursuit of manufacturing perfection. The huge design team working on the site, next to robots, is planning how to space out everything as efficient as possible.
Elon Musk expressed that if the designer’s team would concentrate their efforts on improving batteries itself their success would be marginal but when they were used to improve the efficiency of production their impact improved the performance by a factor of 3.
This only shows that not only designing innovation is important but also its manufacturing process as it might decide whether it will be cost-effective or not and potentially by used even in marketing like it is in this caseJ.
What brings the progress, in this case, is not the fact of building batteries but rather building batteries with zero defects and best possible efficiency. Those processes are as much important as improving the quality of cars or rockets (the two other things managed by Musk).
The scale and efficiency of this project will decrease the cost of batteries and in turn, decrease the cost of electric cars. This might lead to the popularization of all electric cars as more and more people will find them affordable.
Ps. I used Gigafactory 1 in the title as Musk plans to open more of them around the world to cut the costs of transporting batteries.
Joshua Neally a 37-year-old attorney from Springfield claims that his new Tesla Model X saved his life thanks to its autopilot feature.
One day he was in a hurry from work to be on time for his daughter birthday. Suddenly he felt something like steel pole going through his chest. By that time, he didn’t know that he had a pulmonary embolism. Neally had problems with concentrating on the road but calculated that it is going to be much faster to drive on his own rather than waiting on the side of the road for an ambulance. Thanks to built-in autopilot he was able to let his Model X take the steer for more than 20 miles of highway ride. He took over the steering on the final stretch when he reached off-ramp near the hospital in Branson. After reaching hospital he made his way to emergency room.
He survived and it might be partly thanks to autopilot as pulmonary embolism kills 50 thousand people a year with seventy percent of those deaths coming within an hour from first symptoms.
Neally says “I’m very thankful I had it for this experience,” and expresses that he is unsure how this story would end if he didn’t buy a car with autopilot a week prior the incident.
In June Joshua Brown a 40-year-old from Canton, Ohio was killed in an accident while using autopilot of his Tesla Model S.
Before accident brown used to say “I do drive it a LOT,” as he was using Autopilot feature to drive on highways to his work. During first 9 months he has put more than 45 thousand miles on his car. During that time, he uploaded to YouTube several videos of him driving long distances on autopilot.
The fatal accident happened when Brown’s Tesla on autopilot crashed into track later hitting a fence and a power pole. By the time of an accident, he was supposedly watching harry potter on a D.V.D. player (found later by police in his car).
Why did accident happen:
Brown was not paying any attention to road
car’s sensor system failed to distinguish truck against a bright sky (similar color of a truck to sky color)
tesla is using cameras, radar(microwaves) and ultrasonic sensors. The emergency braking is used when both radar and vision system agrees that there is an obstacle.
It any of the mentioned points will not be present accident would not happen. As for the third point adding or exchanging to laser scanner should trigger emergency breaking even in such a situation (this technology with name Lidar is used by Google in their cars).
Everybody know Mercedes have one of the best exclusive cars in the world but not many people know they just made first electric heavy urban transport truck.
Now both demand and supply for ecologically friendly electric cars are growing as new companies are joining the market showing their propositions. Tesla was the pioneer in the case of passenger though in the case of tracks Mercedes decided it will not give them the firs mover advantage and designed the first big rig of its kind.
The all-electric truck was presented in Stuttgart at the end of past month. It is especially designed for urban purposes. It is meant to be used at the final kilometers of transport shipping cycle. That is because of both: its advantages and disadvantages. The first being good acceleration and better energy efficiency when often stopping and accelerating (which is how it often looks in the cities full of traffic jams and lights). Moreover, in some places it might be used in city centers where petrol cars are forbidden to ride while hybrid and electric can (for example Warsaw). By use of electrical engine, Mercedes wants to reduce noise which is important when driving in cities (everybody knows how noisy they can be.) The disadvantage of this truck, on the other hand, is its limited range of only 200 kilometers with total maximum weight of 26 tons.
The competition on this market will be for sure visible as two weeks ago Elon Mask, CEO of Tesla revealed that company is working on Semi transport track and is planning to present it as early as next year.
Mercedes-Benz is still waiting for close-up to start production for world scale. Daimler said the prices of batteries between 1997 and 2025 got 2.5 times smaller and batteries performance are expected to keep the same proportion.
Do you like idea of replacing all trucks in cities with those fully electric ones?
Videomakers Freise Brothers filmed the commercial for Tesla in the imaginary world of the future, independent of the fuel is in short supply. Electric car looks stranger in it, but the local take it surprisingly easy, refusing fuel to power electricity.
Voiceover (Jonathan David Dixon) read out some of the sayings of Nikola Tesla on the benefits of electricity.
It is not known whether the company itself ordered the video clip from Freise Brothers, but his twitter Tesla Motors share it with the caption, “We can not accept.”