Elon Musk On Tesla “Powerwall 2 Plus”

Elon Musk - Tesla Powerwall 2 Plus

Elon Musk image: Duncan.Hull, CC BY-SA 4.0

During Tesla’s Q1 2021 earnings call, Elon Musk provided some detail on what he referred to as “Powerwall 2 Plus”.

In the Tesla Q1 2021 update, the company noted its energy storage deployments grew 71% year over year, mainly driven by the popularity of its Powerwall battery system.

Supply of Powerwall has always been an issue and looks like it will continue to be for the foreseeable future as Tesla says demand continues to far exceed its production.

No Powerwall For You!

Many existing U.S. solar owners looking to retrofit a Powerwall battery to their system will be disappointed.

“As a result, we recently shifted Powerwall deliveries to solar customers only,” states Tesla – and meaning *Tesla* solar customers. “As we increase our production rate, we may make it available once again as a stand-alone product.”

So, that’s the situation in the USA. Given Tesla solar products aren’t available in Australia, it’s not clear what that means for buyers here. Tesla has arrangements with some local solar installers and whether this means Australians will generally only be able to buy a Powerwall 2 with a new solar system for a while remains to be seen.

But Powerwall isn’t the only show in town. Ongoing supply issues coupled with significant Powerwall price rises in the last six months in Australia might see more Australians start looking at other solar batteries. The choice of batteries available in Australia has certainly grown over the past couple of years, but manufacturers still have a lot of work to do not only on price, but also reliability.

About The “Tesla Powerwall 2 Plus”

During the earnings call subsequent to release of the update, Tesla CEO Elon Musk made reference to “Powerwall 2 Plus”, which as it turns out is already being installed and has been for a while.

So basically, all Powerwalls made since roughly November of last year have a lot more peak power capability than the specification on the website,” he said.

The current specification noted on the Tesla website is 7kW peak / 5kW continuous. As for the new claimed capability:

“It’s actually ‘Powerwall 2 Plus’, if you will. They have about twice the power capability roughly. It depends on how you count power, but about twice the peak power and about arguably twice the steady-state power of the specification of the website.”

Energy storage capacity  – 13.5 kWh – remains the same (learn more about the difference between power and energy).

The extra power capability will be unleashed with a yet to be released software update.

Prior to the earnings call, Musk gave a heads-up about “Powerwall 2 Plus” via Twitter, stating:

“Depending on production date, power increase power may be >50% at 30C ambient temp.”

Calling the change “profound”, Elon Musk said this was necessary as the world moves towards electric vehicles and power needs increase. It also serves Tesla’s aspirations relating to the provision of grid services, with Musk pointing to assisting in situations such as what occurred in Texas in February.

How a bunch of Powerwall batteries would perform in such extreme conditions isn’t clear. Tesla notes elsewhere that when temperatures are below freezing, the Powerwall’s “Preconditioning” feature turns on to heat the battery to improve performance – and during winter months a small amount of the battery’s capacity is reserved for this purpose. Tesla says the Powerwall’s operating temperature range is  –20°C to 50°. During the Texas event, temperatures went as low as −19 °C.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

Comments

  1. Elon also claimed that only selling Powerwalls with solar will make installation easier. But what he said made no sense to me as someone that understands how a Powerwall is installed. If anyone understands what he’s on about please enlighten me:

    “The difficulty of the installation will be much less. It will be much easier because the power from the solar roof, Solarglass Roof or the solar panels, will only ever go directly into the Powerwall. And the Powerwall will only ever go between the utility and the main power panel of the house, which means you never need to touch the main circuit breakers of the house.”

    “Effectively, almost every house, therefore, looks the same electrically instead of being a unique work of art and requiring exceptional ability to rewire the main panel. So this is extremely important for scalability. It’s the only way to do it, really. And this also means that every solar and Powerwall installation at a house, or whatever the case may be, will be its own utility.”

    • Hey Finn,

      I believe Elon is reffering to the systems only being installed as a “whole house backup” rather then partial house backup. This would make installation easier as youre only swinging a Sub-main to the backup box and back instead of individual Final Sub-Circuits and potential internal rewiring of circuits to remove unwanted loads.

      • Cheers Jake – that makes sense. I guess Elon’s assumption is that – if you have a solar array, whole house backup is the default. I don’t agree with that view personally. But that would explain why the Tesla site is so eager to recommend multiple Powerwalls to lowish usage homes.

    • Dem Pisstoff says

      Elon has a finger in 3 pies at least. With the EV’s and the Powerwall I think he is prone to guilding the lily, or not meeting expectations (still waiting for the electric prime mover trucks promised so londgago!}

  2. I guess when demand exceeds supply, you can shift the goalposts / change the rules. To do so, however, may encourage competitors, especially when Tesla fails to consider the Australian market. (Yeah, I know, we’re tiny… .)

    But Musk has global (even inter-global) goals, at a time when American leadership is positively-driven to assist green initiatives, and US companies; while reducing climate crises.

    We are currently considering the purchase of _two_ BEVs, one LR, one SR. Two competitors appeal. Will we proceed with our TM-CT purchase from a company which has crossed Australia off its list? I doubt it… .

  3. I got a power-wall 2 for 10k plus 2k for the gateway about 3 years ago.And just want to know what a power bill is. I get paid monthly for my power usage and the ppl before me get 4 x what i get…

  4. Well Brett, good to know… keeping in mind that the BYD and LG Chem RESU are DC batteries, requiring a more expensive PV Hybrid inverter or BMS which you didn’t factor into the price.

    Deceptively so. The install cost for that $0.22c/kWh is likely $1500/kW which is factored into the viable lifespan of the inverter, BMS and battery, whichever will lose warranty first.

    BYD aside (because they are almost an OEM like LG Chem), the package price and usable lifetime is the most important factor to compare usable c/kWh. It’s like comparing child slaves to adults because they eat less and gain value. Or if you prefer the modern take, undergraduate positions and apprentices versus certified workers.

    The value of the Powerwall 2 is strategic

    In 5 to 10 years, it will still be a valued product. And the residential budget can be raised to stretch from the $5k investment to $15k. But it’s going to be a tougher process investing $4k to $25k for an unknown brand in order to mitigate 50% of $2k/year of energy bills.

    Making it 60% isn’t the answer. You need investment or mitigation to cover the gap in the short term so that people aren’t buying a ~$10-20,000 beige box, it’s mitigating the impact of inflation and utility bills over the same period.

    The reality is that for most consumers, Storage would take 15 years to return value if you factor maintenance and depreciation, Aging and capacity loss.

    PW2 isn’t a great deal for most people, but it’s not the badge and logo. It’s because BYD/LG RESU and SonnenBatterie/Enpase and Red Flow Z cells are not competition, they aren’t cheaper and they don’t offer the same value or solution value. Especially if you don’t fit the Solar or consumption ideal or need something with better value and longevity.

    The reality is that batteries aren’t a mature solution, because we don’t have a mature grid able to handle PV or storage without a tax to help pay for the upgrades.

    Everything about the future of residential energy, on paper, is ready to go for mass adoption of a VPP, except for every single step requiring someone else to foot the bill. Which is probably why not happening.

    Most cheap AC batteries /AC inverters can’t handle the peak or continuous load of a larger home, unless you cap or have a secondary sub circuit cut off/move/switch the heavy loads onto a separate grid or metered circuit. Especially with 3 phase motors and Heating/Cooling, Controlled Load, EV/Battery charging circuits, etc.

    That said, people want the All-In-One box to take care of everything, and the PW2 does fit that for a small group of people.

    If Redflow or Sonnen or Enphase, LG Chem or other battery companies want the business, they are going to have to build the incentive model or improve the Value, $5000 is where the market exists now due to the influence of Chinese panels and Chinese PV inverters.

    And trying to sell $15k packages to people who are expecting similar to $5k value is a Pyrrhic effort. Obviously, because it’s a mitigating argument, paying $3k/year to save $500/year isn’t

  5. david milne says

    great article
    just the information australian need as they want to charge household who pump power back into the grid
    now is the the for time for all the sustralian companies in competion with power wall
    to get there pricing down as there will be a big demand for batteries as households and mabe companies look to teduce running costs
    thankyou David Milne

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