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Tesla Discontinues 10-Kilowatt-Hour Powerwall Home Battery

March 19, 2016

By Paul Homewood 




Tesla has quietly removed all references to its 10-kilowatt-hour residential battery from the Powerwall website, as well as the company’s press kit. The company’s smaller battery designed for daily cycling is all that remains.

The change was initially made without explanation, which prompted industry insiders to speculate. Today, a Tesla representative confirmed the 10-kilowatt-hour option has been discontinued.

"We have seen enormous interest in the Daily Powerwall worldwide," according to an emailed statement to GTM. "The Daily Powerwall supports daily use applications like solar self-consumption plus backup power applications, and can offer backup simply by modifying the way it is installed in a home. Due to the interest, we have decided to focus entirely on building and deploying the 7-kilowatt-hour Daily Powerwall at this time."

The 10-kilowatt-hour option was marketed as a backup power supply capable of 500 cycles, at a price to installers of $3,500. Tesla was angling to sell the battery to consumers that want peace of mind in the event the grid goes down, like during another Superstorm Sandy. The problem is that the economics for a lithium-ion backup battery just aren’t that attractive.

Even at Tesla’s low wholesale price, a 500-cycle battery just doesn’t pencil out against the alternatives, especially once the inverter and other system costs are included. State-of-the-art backup generators from companies like Generac and Cummins sell for $5,000 or less. These companies also offer financing, which removes any advantage Tesla might claim with that tactic, as GTM’s Jeff St. John pointed out last spring.

“Even some of the deep cycling lead acid batteries offer 1,000 cycles and cost less than half of the $3,500 price tag for Tesla Powerwall,” said Ravi Manghani, senior energy storage analyst at GTM Research. “For pure backup applications only providing 500 cycles, lead acid batteries or gensets are way more economical.”

    In California, batteries can benefit from the state’s Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP). But California regulators have indicated that battery systems need to be able to cycle five times a week in order to be eligible, which would exclude Tesla’s bigger battery.

“In current discussions on SGIP program overhaul, it is very likely that stronger performance requirements may get added, which will make a 10-kilowatt-hour/500 cycles product outright ineligible (if cycled only once a week), or last only 2 years (if cycled every weekday for about 500 cycles over 2 years),” said Manghani. “In short, the market’s expectation is that for a $3,500 price tag, the product needs to have more than just 500 cycles (i.e., only backup capabilities).”

Backup power alone simply doesn’t have as strong a case as using a battery for self-consumption. That said, the opportunities for self-consumption are still few and far between.

A GTM Research analysis for residential storage, purely for time-of-use shifting or self-consumption. found that the economics only pan out in certain conditions. In Hawaii, for instance, the economics of solar-plus-storage under the state’s new self supply tariff (PDF) looks only slightly more attractive than solar alone under the grid supply option.

“So it comes down to the question of customer adoption of a relatively new technology for only slightly improved economics,” said Manghani. “This doesn’t mean residential customers are not deploying energy storage," but he noted that these were the early adopters.


A reminder that battery technology has a long way to go.

  1. knutesea permalink
    March 19, 2016 6:51 pm

    A fine article.
    Thanks Paul.

  2. David Richardson permalink
    March 19, 2016 6:57 pm

    Well I was just thinking of buying a Tesla – only joking of course. Tesla’s cars are impressive unless you want to go on using them longer than a month or two.

    Now that diesel has been demonised, when does the assault on petrol cars start? I keep looking at new vehicles to replace my 8 year old diesel Honda, but the way that transport policy sew-saws about it is hard to know where to jump. The Honda is worth so little now, and is still reliable (touching wood) and comfortable, I am going to continue using it until it ceases to be a car I can depend on.

    • Ben Vorlich permalink
      March 19, 2016 8:08 pm

      I have a Citroen Xantia, the old 1.9 Turbo not the HDI version, it’s now 17 years old. Not worth a bean. But compared to other cars round this part of France it’s still quite new! So I think you might have quite a few years of motoring left in the Honda.

      The UK scrapage scheme took a lot of perfectly good vehicles off the road, I suspect the excess “carbon” used in their manufacture hasn’t been compensated for in the better fuel consumption.

      • David Richardson permalink
        March 20, 2016 5:18 pm

        A friend of mine had the same model Xantia for years and I was always impressed with the rear seat legroom and the apparent consumption. My Honda is an Accord Tourer 2.2 diesel and has done 105k miles now – should be good for another 50k plus as long as the turbo hold out – I don’t push it too hard so it should. By far the best car I have ever had.

        Totally agree with your comment re the scrapage scheme and of course it was supposed to help with the recession – well it did, but mostly in Germany and France where 80% of the cars came from. Dictating that only UK made cars were purchased would have been against EU law of course.

    • Tweed permalink
      March 19, 2016 8:10 pm

      Love diesels. Hang onto it. Maligning of Diesel engines was just the latest latte set thought bubble. A barrel of oil produces a zillion products in set percentages. Heating Oil, petrol and diesel are the primary products. Don’t get one without the other.

  3. Tweed permalink
    March 19, 2016 8:06 pm

    A guy who is spectacularly unsuccessful manufacturing electric cars even with massive government subsidies now says he can change the world buy making batteries. Join the long line of manufacturers who have been making Lithium Ion batteries for years. Elon Musk has a task ahead one would think.

  4. Dave Ward permalink
    March 19, 2016 8:17 pm

    Just remember that “cycles” is relative to the Depth Of Discharge. Any battery manufacturer should be able to supply charts/graphs explaining how many cycles their products can be expected to withstand, at various discharge states. As far as lead/acid types are concerned, figures of 1000 cycles will rarely be achieved if the DOD exceeds 50% of the stated capacity. IIRC Tesla was talking about using ex car cells in the Powerwall – with the age reduced capacity taken into account. To make any valid comparisons you need to bear this in mind.

  5. THX1138 permalink
    March 19, 2016 9:42 pm

    Building a solar, wind or other renewable energy system for a home or business can be discouraging if lead acid batteries need to be used. Lead acid batteries are “consumables” and last only a fraction of lifespan of your solar panels or other electricity sources. Massive battery banks of lead acid batteries need to be replaced every 10 years or less. However a better solution has been available since about 1911 using the almost forgotten storage battery that contains no toxic heavy metals and may outlast you or your house.

    The Nickel Iron battery often lasts in excess of 40 years and makes a perfect match for solar panels which also last for about 40 years or more. (Many people are still using original Edison-made batteries at about 80% charge capacity).

    All you have to do is top-up the electrolyte with distilled water every once in a while, perhaps replace the electrolyte with new potassium hydroxide solution every few years, and keep right on going.

    • spetzer86 permalink
      March 20, 2016 1:25 am

      A brief web search says 30 years is pretty optimistic for solar cells. Also, cheaper Chinese units estimated to not last that long.

      • knutesea permalink
        March 20, 2016 2:27 am

        15 is the most common lifespan I hear on the net and in real life from homeowners.

    • knutesea permalink
      March 20, 2016 2:35 am

      Wow …. pricey

      The average American home needs 30 kwh/day. Yes, I’m sure many are less but that’s the average. If I correctly read that’s about 35K in NiFe batteries to be able to run an average house for one day.

    • David Richardson permalink
      March 20, 2016 5:26 pm

      Also many tests of the cheaper ones report an efficiency die off of around 5% per annum, and worse if you don’t keep them clean. Do the math for a decade even.

  6. March 20, 2016 12:17 pm

    Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    Tesla Powerwall hits the wall. Ouch.

    The viability of large capacity (base load) renewable energy largely depends on the ability to store its energy for when the wind don’t blow and the sun don’t shine.
    If Tesla can’t get the home-economic model right, how are renewables ever to replace cheap, efficient, reliable carbon based energy?!

    Answer. They can’t, don’t and won’t. The age of collective green energy eco madness will soon grind to an embarrassing halt.

  7. Laurence Schlanger permalink
    March 20, 2016 8:30 pm

    I would not recommend Generac generators. The motors are poorly constructed and rarely function when needed. I have had a Generac generator for 10 years and even with numerous tune-ups, battery changes, part replacements and inspections by Generac-certified mechanics and electricians, it has not worked a single time during a power outage! And, even worse, the company will not assume responsibility for their failures.

  8. March 21, 2016 10:35 pm

    interesting site, use anything you want from this

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