Tesla has long touted its use of its battery packs as a means of accelerating the adoption of electric cars — or at least helping bring down the cost of the initial purchase. The company’s battery packs have been used successfully in other car companies, including BMW and Daimler, so they’re not new technology. They’re also relatively big — the Tesla P85D packs are almost three times the size of the Chevy Bolt and are about 13 kilowatt-hours.
“At some point there are going to be a lot of Tesla cars out there,” Tesla CEO Elon Musk told investors earlier this year. But until then, “all the power in the world will not move a Tesla car.”
Now, if Tesla doesn’t have a big battery pack, it can still squeeze more juice from the network of solar rooftops it generates when it’s sunny. If you were buying a Tesla for transportation, you might want the extra juice that a big, powerful battery pack provides. But when you’re buying a Tesla for home, it might make too much sense to add more power to your roof than one can provide.
“You can build a large battery from the rooftops and the wires don’t take up space,” says Jeffrey Brown, senior analyst at Lux Research. “If you just hang a few solar panels on the roof, that creates a significant energy storage component.”
“All the power in the world won’t move a Tesla car.”
And while Tesla’s Superchargers can serve as a temporary means of getting from location to location without using a car, they don’t necessarily work the same if you’re trying to travel long distances over a course of time. A battery pack might offer more than just a short-term boost, says Brown. When you’re trying to travel from Los Angeles to New York City and back again, a fast-charging pack can be enough to get you there.
“If you’re on the West Coast of North America in the spring, you don’t need a lot of juice to get to the West Coast in the fall,” he says. “But if you’re on the East Coast in the winter, you do. I would not be afraid to build a battery pack from the rooftops of a large residential building.”
While it might sound crazy, Brown predicts the adoption of new energy technologies could accelerate a lot more quickly if there are larger batteries to store them in place of a vehicle’s battery — and the network of rooftop solar installations they
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