Posted on April 30, 2015 by Matt Pressman
Much has been teased thus far regarding the big announcement scheduled tonight (8pm PST / 11pm EST) from Tesla Motors. Invites to the event are impossible to come by... but, we think we might have some intriguing clues leading up to the event.
First, we stumbled across this curious photo on Instagram. Judging by the user's other posted images (source: @highris3_g3netics), he may have either hallucinated this in a dream-state, or (just maybe) this is real... we have no idea which, but here it is anyhow...
Source: Instagram User @highris3_g3netics
Next, we have some clues from two members on the Board of Directors from Tesla Motors -- each was revealed in the past 24 hours. First, Tesla CEO Elon Musk's brother, Kimbal Musk, gave an exclusive interview with CNN Money. Kimbal Musk provided some unique insight into what's coming with Tesla's stationary storage initiative, "It's quite a profound thing... you'll be paying one-quarter of the price for electricity." We have the video footage from the interview below.
Source: CNN Money
Also, another member of the Board of Directors for Tesla Motors, Steve Jurvetson, sat down for a fascinating interview with Alison van Diggelen. Jurvetson reveals, "Now the troika of perhaps SolarCity, and the Gigafactory (which is an incredible initiative underway in Nevada right now), and Tesla comes into light for the first time: There is synergy. Say 20 years out, there’ll be a distributed utility where Solarcity has the solar cell installation, leasing and basically ownership, installation and the whole shebang, actually building panels as well for solar on homes, everywhere. Well, once you get enough of that (last I checked they have around 40% market share in the US) you start to generate so much energy that you are like a variety of utilities combined, but it’s ephemeral. If you’re not using that energy when generated, it goes away. So right now, you push it to the grid and it’s expected the utility can use it, especially since solar is produced at peak hours. But what if you wanted to get rid of the grid altogether? You’d need distributed storage …if every solar cell came with a big battery that could smooth out your daily needs, then you could just disconnect from the grid. You could certainly lower the generation capacity of the grid…that pushes on fossil fuels and nuclear."
In fact, media outlets, like ComputerWorld, have even gone so far as to claim "Without Tesla's batteries, the power grid could fail."
Source: Fresh Dialogues, seen above (left) Steve Jurvetson, Tesla Motors Board Member, and (right) J.B. Straubel, Tesla Motors Founder and CTO at Tesla Gigafactory construction site
But, let's get back to Tesla Board member Jurvetson, when referring to the stationary storage market for Tesla, he explains, "there’s a whole cascade of markets: everything from consumers for their home, businesses and utilities themselves... Tesla’s approach is just leveraging what they know best which is lithium ion chemistry and batteries and a battery management system…so you can potentially address a whole range of these."
All of these clues point to the potential that Tesla may be transforming (and growing) it's business model. So much so, that Teslarati noted that the domain name “teslaenergy.com” was purchased by the Tesla Motors way back in 2004 further validating that the company has always seen itself as more than just a maker of electric vehicles. In fact, our favorite writer covering the Tesla beat, Daniel Sparks (@danielsparks) predicts, "Given the scale and importance of Tesla’s new venture into battery storage, it may make sense to launch its new business under a new name in order to drive home how seriously the company is taking it. Whether the exact change will be a move to drop 'Motors' from the corporate name or simply to introduce a new division, perhaps called 'Tesla Energy,' is unclear. Indeed, no change is certain. But it certainly wouldn’t be surprising to see a new name pop at some point in the near future."