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« Oh no! It's DECC! | Main | Corporate worms starting to turn »
Monday
Mar212016

Game just changed again

It’s an absolute game-changer

The citation on the award of a Danish design prize to the Tesla powerwall battery in 2015

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.

Recent news report

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Reader Comments (67)

A change gamer?
==========

Mar 21, 2016 at 1:48 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

The problem is the cost of the maintenance agreement, which allows duff cells to be replaced when needed with a guaranteed repair time.

The statistics of cell failure are so bad that they can't make a profit with that technology.

At leat a car can be towed to the garage whereas a Tesla wall in Arizona might need a 400 mile round trip for repairs.

Mar 21, 2016 at 1:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

I have had prospective buyers going on about how wonderful Tesla is and the technology. I have had supporters saying they are game "changers".

The reality? The batteries they actually use? Standard Lithium 18650 batteries that appear in just about everything.

put "lithium 18650 tesla" into google images...

Mar 21, 2016 at 1:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterMedia Hoar

10 kVA battery @ 2.5 Ahr per 3 V cell = 10,000/7.5 cells = 1,333 cells.

Because these cells are dangerous if thermal runaway occurs, they have a built in device which fails quickly: http://www.sae.org/events/gim/presentations/2012/stephensbattelle.pdf

So, can't use such cells unless the battery pack is portable so can be carried to the repair shop.

This isn't rocket science which is why Airbus still use NiFe, unlike Boeing which sacrifices the whole aircraft instead!

Mar 21, 2016 at 2:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

I just went back and re-read the article in the DT from May 1st last year. Some great comments. Rubbish article.

Mar 21, 2016 at 2:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

At least when the battery technology on an electric car cause a fire, it is only the car that goes up in toxic clouds of heavy metal.

By contrast, "Smoke on the water" was written to describe the visual effect of certain sea mists, and is non toxic imagery of heavy metal.

Mar 21, 2016 at 2:50 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Harry Passfield, any chance of a follow-up article from the same expert science journalist? Or any of those hailing it as a breakthrough?

The important thing about this story is that we have been told for years that intermittent electricity generation from wind and solar, will not be a problem, as improved storage batteries become available. If the massive taxpayer funding of Tesla can't fix it, then taxpayers are going to have to be fleeced for another 30(?) years.

Presumably Elon Musk is not about to go bankrupt, so that's ok.

Mar 21, 2016 at 3:11 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Does anyone know how many cars Tesla have sold in the UK?

There's been a Tesla showroom at the end of my street for about a year and I cannot recollect ever seeing any signs of life..either salesman or punter in there. Lots of shiny motors hanging about, but no other activity.

And our new supermarket has the legally dictated required EV charging point in the car park..but, again, I have never seen a vehicle using it.

I am beginning to wonder if Tesla are quite the fantastic green success story they're cracked up to be?? Or am I being over cynical?

Mar 21, 2016 at 3:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

Forget Apples green bond.
Invest in Airbrushes. The rate the greenies are airbrushing stuff from history, you will make a fortune.

Mar 21, 2016 at 3:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterEternalOptimist

Latimer Alder ... In "tech heavy" Seattle, Washington, Tesla automobiles are common. In the US Midwest we still point to them and say, "Look. A Tesla." To a large extent, their popularity depends on having a local dealer -- common on the US west coast, not so much in the middle of the country.

Mar 21, 2016 at 4:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterSpeed

Greentech Media has some details.

Tesla Discontinues 10-Kilowatt-Hour Powerwall Home Battery
<I>The economics for backup power alone just aren’t that attractive.</I>

http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/Tesla-Discontinues-10kWh-Powerwall-Home-Battery

Mar 21, 2016 at 4:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterSpeed

Latimer, last time I was back in the UK I saw six Teslas in a couple of weeks, all in the Oxford area mostly in that area between the town and Summertown.

Here in Texas they have showrooms in shopping malls. The cars are very nice, all they need is a big V8.

Mar 21, 2016 at 4:56 PM | Unregistered Commenterrhoda

Or a big key to wind them up

Mar 21, 2016 at 5:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamspid

I do hear there is a new Station Wagon variant of the Tesla, with the rear part converted into a stable big enough for two mules to act as the motive power when the batteries fail.

And the really neat aspect of this innovation is collection of the dung for use in an anaerobic methane generator with a fuel cell able to convert that chemical energy into electrons, thereby to replace the 'Tesla Wall'

Apparently, its product name is the 'Tesla Stall'

Mar 21, 2016 at 5:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

GC,

"Smoke on the Water" was written by Deep Purple about a fire at a Frank Zappa concert in Switzerland. The smoke from the blaze drifted across Lake Geneva, hence the title.

Mar 21, 2016 at 5:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterEd Moran

http://www.redeyechicago.com/viral/redeye-tesla-poop-craiglist-funny-chicago-20160204-story.html

No one on Bishophill condones vandlism obviously.

Headline says it all "Who pooped on the wind screen of this Chicago man,s Tesla"

He flattered the battery with the wind screen wipers cleaning it off.

Mar 21, 2016 at 5:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterNo sniggering

@Media Hoar: "The reality? The batteries they actually use? Standard Lithium 18650 batteries that appear in just about everything."

@NCC 1701e: "Because these cells are dangerous if thermal runaway occurs, they have a built in device which fails quickly: http://www.sae.org/events/gim/presentations/2012/stephensbattelle.pdf"

Although the batteries use the 18650 form factor and chemistry (to take advantage of volume production), they are far from being "standard lithium batteries that appear in just about everything". Among other things, they *don't* have the per-cell protection circuitry, but are assembled into modules (with several modules being combined to make up the full pack) that assume the responsibility for active thermal management. Furthermore, the cells are covered with a substance that acts to isolate single-cell thermal failures by solidifying and encasing the cell in a fire resistant "cocoon".

There are some interesting patents about the cell/module technology:

Cell cap assembly with recessed terminal and enlarged insulating gasket
Cell Thermal Runaway Propagation Resistance Using Dual Intumescent Material Layers

The proof is in the pudding -- how many Tesla thermal runaway battery fires have there been? So few that they are big news when it does happen. One in SoCal due to road debris being levered up into the battery (Tesla added Ti shields to prevent that) and two high-speed accidents that essentially ripped open the pack. The Norwegian supercharging fire started outside the pack (an improperly attached cable), and a Canadian fire was just bad house wiring.

Mar 21, 2016 at 5:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterObeliskToucher

The Powerwall is ahead of The Hyperloop.

Hype, hype.

Mar 21, 2016 at 5:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterCurious George

http://uk.businessinsider.com/man-posts-on-craigslist-after-tesla-gets-pooped-on-2016-2

NCC 1701E

The Tesla Stool

Mar 21, 2016 at 5:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamspid

"Although the batteries use the 18650 form factor and chemistry (to take advantage of volume production), they are far from being "standard lithium batteries that appear in just about everything". "

You own words just confirm my thoughts. I have researched this due to an interest in electric bikes (people make their own modules with circuit protection.) They are nothing special. The quality and quality control is undoubtedly good, but just use existing off the shelf technology.

The special features you mention are just engineering solutions to forcing crap technology into something not really fit for purpose.

It is like a moving iPad (and attracts the same sort of people). With just the same amount of hype over substance.

Mar 21, 2016 at 6:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterMedia Hoar

Curious George: the Hyperloop sounds absolutely fantastic. Maybe it'll work, maybe it'll remain sci-fi, who knows, but it's not an offence to dream.

Powerwall flop is a total humiliation for green blobbers everywhere.

Mar 21, 2016 at 6:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterCheshireRed

Tesla's main income is from selling co² credits and government subsidies.

Mar 21, 2016 at 7:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

In this part of the world (52 degrees N) the solar panels on the roof would be hard pressed to run the house in the winter, never mind having enough left over to charge the batteries.

Mar 21, 2016 at 7:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterOld Grumpy

The Bish & ChesireRed should flip down a few pages on the link before declaring a flop :
"
While the 10-kilowatt-hour option has been removed, the Powerwall website continues to offer specifications for Tesla’s 6.4-kilowatt-hour battery designed for daily cycling applications, such as load shifting. The battery is warrantied for 10 years, or roughly 5,000 cycles, with a 100 percent depth of discharge. The wholesale price to installers is $3,000.

The smaller battery is often marketed as 7 kilowatt-hours, which would appear to have a price of $429 per kilowatt-hour. In realty, it’s a 6.4 kilowatt-hour battery at a price of $469 per kilowatt-hour.

A bigger, cheaper or more integrated battery product could soon be added to Tesla’s lineup. In January, CEO Elon Musk announced a new Powerwall option will be released this summer.

"We've got the Tesla Powerwall and Powerpack, which we have a lot of trials underway right now around the world. We've seen very good results," said Musk during a talk to Tesla car owners in Paris, The Verge reports. "We'll be coming out with version two of the Powerwall probably around July, August this year, which will see [a] further step-change in capabilities."

Mar 21, 2016 at 7:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

Don't tell the hippies:

https://issuu.com/tameraslan66/docs/mother_earth_news_-_may_2016

I love the fact that, even with online publishing, there is a two month lead time on magazines.

Mar 21, 2016 at 7:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterCaligula Jones

Latimer Alder
Try the How Many left website. It's fascinating for looking up cars you once own to see if any survived the scrappage scheme

https://www.howmanyleft.co.uk/

Mar 21, 2016 at 7:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Nothing to do with the price of lithium going from $6k to $14k per ton recently then?

Mar 21, 2016 at 7:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave_G

Presumably Elon Musk is not about to go bankrupt, so that's ok.

Mar 21, 2016 at 3:11 PM | golf charlie
======================================================

Hardly. I think that the Abominable Obamanoid, the only Christian to have been educated in a Madrassa, has passed him over $4 billion of taxpayers' money.

FUBAR.

Mar 21, 2016 at 8:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

I've only ever seen two electric cars while out and about. One was a BMW in a car park at Keele university and the other was a Nissan Leaf travelling north on the M1. There was a Tesla on display at the Manchester Triathlon Show last weekend, I'm not sure why.

Mar 21, 2016 at 8:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterStonyground

Here is a sobering view from an interesting perspective that I believe bears a great deal of scrutiny.

http://fabiusmaximus.com/2016/03/21/skeptics-willl-lose-the-climate-policy-debate-95155/

In short, skeptics may very well be correct in their questioning of the hype, but the hype is quite close to prevailing in the public square.
I believe we all need to ponder the implications of this.

Mar 21, 2016 at 8:34 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

The Tesla car weights 2 tonne. Nearly half of that is the battery (800kg). Range, if you're lucky and it's a warm day around 160 miles. Half that in winter conditions.
This means the Tesla is carrying a dead weight of the equivalent of eight people before anyone even gets in to drive it.

Now consider the infallible DECC who believe that all vehicles will soon be electric (they do, I kid you not). This must include all HGVs. So a current 40 tonner driven by diesel will become a 70 tonner driven by battery - which will presumably have to be carried in a second large trailer behind the main vehicle to avoid excessive axle loading. Again range before needed recharge - just 160 miles.

Mar 21, 2016 at 8:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhilip Foster

Stonyground

I've seen several out and about - the only time I saw more than one was at southbound Gloucester Services on the M5 where there were 4 Leafs queuing to use the solitary working charger - I think I detected a bit of despondency :-)

Chemical storage of electricity in batteries is a pretty fraught business when one accounts for all the operational variables and the robustness of the chemistry - nickel-iron looks like a good bet but a magnetically suspended flywheel in a vacuum tub buried in the garden looks even better voila

@Philip Foster
reckon DECC need a Heath Robinson on the staff - with thinking like they've got going on in *some* departments - that's the only way they can go.... "I'm going to call it The Electric Trolley Lorry"

Mar 21, 2016 at 8:53 PM | Registered Commentertomo

A key issue with batteries is that they are a mature technology so the expected gains are minimal.

It's amazing that people are still pouring money in; apart from flow redox cells, which do work, but are very large.

PS I have worked on electrochemistry for a long, long time, so I do have a good 'feel' for the technologies.

Mar 21, 2016 at 9:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

My own understanding is along your lines, Mr/Ms 1701E; batteries are as developed as they are likely to be. The reason why battery life has been extended in so many gadgets is not because of improvements in batteries, but because of more efficient use by the electronics. While there might be room for improvement in electric engines, I doubt that there is enough for revolutionary change; you cannot get more energy out of an engine than you put into it.

Mar 21, 2016 at 9:44 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Radical Rodent, vvussell above seems happy to promote Tesla's next new, improved, revolutionary, gimmick battery.. So powerful, and innovative, that it will not only be better than sliced bread, it will toast it too.

Mar 21, 2016 at 10:07 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

GC, 10:07pm: russell obviously lives on tofu on toast. It certainly won't roast a leg of lamb or a chicken, or even give you a decent hot shower.

Mar 21, 2016 at 10:42 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

I like my toast done on one side

Mar 21, 2016 at 11:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterEternalOptimist

Ah! a marriage made in Nordic heaven

Say Hej! to BatWind h/t Tallbloke

Will Elon license it I wonder?

Mar 21, 2016 at 11:20 PM | Registered Commentertomo

tomo, 11:20pm: Scary, what if one these, breaks its moorings? It won't just be a birdmasher but, potentially, a shipmasher.

Mar 21, 2016 at 11:32 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

30 kW micro-turbine, burns pretty much anything flammable.

http://www.capstoneturbine.com/products/c30

Mar 21, 2016 at 11:41 PM | Unregistered Commentermojo

the ecat is still alive and kicking , but that one doesnt live from HYPE.
anyway for now TWR, Thorium, nuclear is way to go

Mar 22, 2016 at 12:15 AM | Unregistered Commentervenus

Nothing to do with his upcoming divorce, by any chance?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3503228/Elon-Musks-wife-files-divorce-billionaire.html

Mar 22, 2016 at 12:19 AM | Registered CommenterSalopian

Salopian

The Noggies have plenty of experience with offshore mooring - I think it'll have multiple redundancy on the "tether" - far more likely is an incompetent crew of a dodgy registered tub simply running into it.

Norway has money to burn on both virtue signalling and daft projects - their CCS at Mongstadt was an example of both - this is just another example of pols looking to burn public money - like (massively) bribing Yasser Arafat to come to a conference they organised...

Mar 22, 2016 at 12:24 AM | Registered Commentertomo

tesla anagrams: steal, least, stale and tales

Mar 22, 2016 at 1:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterZT

Salopian & tomo, electrocuting fish is proven technology. Will such deaths have a preservative effect? It will be interesting for ornithologists to observe how long it takes sea gulls to learn when it is safe for them to harvest battery kill from the waves, and still avoid being minced by the spinning blades above. Indiana Jones and Lara Croft will have nothing on the aerobatic skill required.

Rooks and crows have only learned about harvesting road kill, because the slow learners get killed by a subsequent vehicle. There must be some rapidly acquired instinct, that has "evolved" over recent years. The RSPB could learn so much about the preservation of birds (and fish) from this scheme.

Mar 22, 2016 at 1:23 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

GC. 1:23am: Electrofishing (if that's what you mean) uses a relatively low current and voltage to partially stun fish and cause them to float to the surface. A major outage from a floating solar array, which are generally linked in series and hence at 600-1000V, would not only fry any fish in the reservoir, but also anybody who happened to be standing in it.

Mar 22, 2016 at 2:17 AM | Registered CommenterSalopian

Electro-fishing is not as much fun as dynamite fishing, but it is certainly less demanding on those fishing.
However Salopian makes the important point that high voltage accidental electro-fishing could be pretty tough on anyone in the circuit, and not just little fishies...

Mar 22, 2016 at 2:53 AM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Frying fish does not act as a deterrent to hungry seagulls in seaside resorts. Fried seagull may not be attractive to scavenging fish.

A fried whale might set some form of new record, but you would need a lot of paper to wrap it.

Mar 22, 2016 at 3:18 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

It's not a bad thing that Tesla should walk away from an unprofitable and distracting product, you get the feeling the Powerwall line are kinda a 'throw it out there and see if it sticks' product anyway.

The household backup-battery application is one in which the Tesla battery technology has one advantage (it's reasonably compact) and several disadvantages (it's expensive to install, requires specialized service in case of component failure, short-lived) compared to lower-tech battery alternatives, all of which are vastly more expensive than a Honda generator from Costco and an extension cord anyway.

And it won't do 0-60 in 4 seconds.

Mar 22, 2016 at 5:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterJEM

@JEM - which neatly brings us around to the matter of subsidy harvesting ... is the little 'un being kept alive directly to harvest nature's subsidy bounty?

Mar 22, 2016 at 7:18 AM | Registered Commentertomo

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