Tesla unveils details of massive 'gigafactory'
— By Tyler Falk on February 27, 2014, 5:40 AM PST
I think the next big thing in marketing Solar will be making the decision to go Solar much simpler by guaranteeing payback of the total install costs over a fixed number of years! This way homeowners (and other large roof owners) could plan on future savings and perhaps even borrow money now, based upon their future returns in order to install Solar ASAP.
Now imagine if Tesla tossed in a new car with each new 30 year Solar installation contract, think what that would do for both Tesla's and their Solar business's bottom line!
A Solar Win-Win for sure.
Previously posted here:
For Utilities, Tesla Is The Perfect Storm
For the last few generations, Utilities have been ever more pervasive in our lives doing everything they can to increase both their market share and their profits by making us ever more dependent upon them. Now with low cost Solar (of all flavors) self-generation becoming available to the masses along with the ability to use batteries to store that energy. Now mankind is on the cusp of transitioning from living as an energy slave completely dependent upon their Utilities to provide all their energy needs to becoming energy independent with no expensive energy bills after their initial payback period!
Tesla has proven that Renewables and especially Solar (of all flavors) are now so cool that they are becoming much more mainstream, as in, "What took you so long to embrace going Green?"
Thankfully we are no longer seeing the many variations of "weirdo tree hugger" labels being used to describe all those that now are adopting Green technology, something which in the past, has also slowed down the shift in the marketplace from various forms of energy generation that ever more ratepayers now realize are dirty as compared to Clean Green and/or Renewable energy.
A great example from our own past, is how the "Ice Men" that delivered and sold block ice for ice boxes tried to pooh-pooh the refrigerator when it was first introduced; now looking back, we can clearly see that it was all just a ploy to protect their market share, in the face of a fundamental change in the marketplace that made their own industry obsolete.
Big Nuclear is now suffering major market share loses because Fukushima has proven that nuclear can go BAD and when it does for any reason, it can affect a Countries economy, if not the health of the entire Planet. After Nuclear, both Big Coal and Big Oil are next in line because they too have huge health issues surrounding their usage. Soon even Big Gas will be faced with the same fate as Big Nuclear, Big Oil, Big Coal and all those Ice Men of Old, because Big Solar is not only here to stay, but is replacing an ever greater amount of what used to be their market share day by day!
This is why we are now seeing so many forward looking US Utilities establishing very long term contracts for solar energy they themselves provide, in the hopes that they can extend their business as far into the future as they can, in order to protect their market share for as long as possible. This may help the Big Utilities in the short term but as ever more ratepayers add their own solar generating capacity, I foresee these same Utilities beginning to shuttering their own generation assets in the next few decades because their capacity is either no long needed and/or it simply cannot compete against modern clean Solar, whose ever increasing efficiency and decreasing cost make owning it a no brainer.
One hopes this plan will leverage the new LiFePo4 technology, which is very well-suited to EV's. Above 2000 complete cycles, with increases from good battery management... NO fire risks! FLAT voltage discharges for most of the battery cycle... High amperage rates, both for charge and discharge, including VERY high burst ratings... Very good environmental sustainability / recycle-ability, with no toxins to worry about. The only thing LiFePo4 batteries need, is to be cheaper, which I think Tesla is working on...
My money is still on fuel cells. Its more user friendly and similar to today's gasoline operation. Fill a fuel tank w/ hydrogen in a few minutes at a filling station (faster than filling a tank w/ gasoline) and off you go creating potable water.
Where are Tesla going to get $2bn from, as they need to scale production by about 4 x and build a global network or hundreds/thousands of (Tesla only) Supercharger stations, unless they issue more stock to the eco-media/evangalist hyped suckers who have pushed their market cap to $30bn, for a company who have only shifted 20,000 units last year. Or is Elon Muck going to sub them an interest free loan?
Tesla are going to have a cashflow issue soon - Public Commitments v's Capital Investment requirements/financing. Bonds as mentioned, but the financials of Tesla need some scruitiny.
They really need to do some auto industry, utility industry deals, and stop trying to do everything themselves.
Well isn't this interesting timing? PT, excuse me I meant Elon, mentioned the Giga Factory in a answer to a softball question thrown by Morgan Stanley. The very next day the same analysis hypes the stock beyond belief and the shares soar. Then the next day Elon announces a $1.5B bond package with Morgan Stanley underwriting.
Seems like pay to play.
Sheep were made to be shorn.
Sorry to rehash a point from earlier in the week, but I'm still trying to figure out how this "disrupts" electric utilities, as the story's first sentence claims. This is a potential bonanza for utilities, who would sell more electricity than ever as more people buy electric cars with these super-dee-duper batteries. The Bloomberg piece linked at the bottom of the story suggests that people will buy solar panels to charge their cars batteries and then, rather than use the electricity for the car, they'll sell it to the grid. Huh!!?? If they really wanted to do something like that, why not buy the panels and the battery but forget the car? Otherwise, those $75,000 Teslas are really just $70,000 Duracells! Confounding things more: The many people who own a car to drive to work during the day would have to have access to a solar charging station while on the job. And so on and so forth, as articulated in the comments thread at http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/bulletin/will-tesla-disrupt-the-electric-utility-industry/. If this is disruption, disrupt me, please!!.
I hope they are correct and successful in reducing the cost. Uncertainty about the longevity and replacement cost of EV batteries will remain as the biggest barrier to EV acceptance after the "range anxiety" red herring.
I don't have a clue what you're writing about. First off, most utilities are franchised monopolies, therefore both their service territory and rate structures are regulated by the state Public Utilities Commission. They cannot increase "market share" or profits without first filing a rate case.
In nearly every state the payback from a solar array does not justify the up front costs, especially if you consider battery storage. But more on that later. High up front costs and long paybacks are why most solar companies have moved to a energy lease scheme. And why the solar industry remains significantly subsidized.
Do you really think with a solar array and some batteries you could be independent from your local utility? Your back up might, might last for 8 hours tops. What happens when the next polar vortex blows through. That sound you hear is the entire east coast and upper Midwest laughing this idea.
Solar may have some good applications but cutting the tie from the grid and depending on battery back up is nonsense.
How a $100,000 toy for rich folks proves renewables or solar are cool escapes me. Maybe that works for you but for those of us in middle America not so much. And your big oil, big gas, big nuclear...rant smacks of mindless occupy babble. Post again when you have a plan to go 100% renewable.
In your last paragraph you are describing what's known as utility death, a concept that's been around since the Carter Administration. The premiss is equally as empty as the theory of peak oil. Both belong in the dust bin of history.
@ken_r_mer That is a plan that fossil fuel providers love and environmentalists hate. Hydrogen is made from fossil fuels so fossil fuel companies will get richer. Making hydrogen from fossil fuels will release three times the CO2 into the environment than just burning the fossil fuel in a regular car will making those that care about the earth upset.
If you want to get your hydrogen from sunlight, remember that you lose half of the solar power doing so. If you want to be environmentally responsible you would put that solar power into the grid (which uses all of it) in order to offset the coal power plant electricity consumption. Once all energy sources are cleaner than solar power, only then would it make sense to run your car off it.
@Neil Postlethwaite On the positive side, I much prefer it when the "co-media/evangalist hyped suckers" are putting their own money into the scheme, instead of forcing me to.
@markhalper The idea is to push to cost of lithium batteries from around $400 per KWH to somewhere in the range of $150 to $200. At that price, it's believed that lithium batteries will become a viable large-scale storage option for intermittent renewables such as solar and wind which will finally make these systems an economic option for baseload power. For example, you would no longer need coal or gas plants to back up renewables.
If so, that most definitely would disrupt electric utilities and how they generate power. Most people are looking at this as purely an electric car play, but Tesla and its partners have much greater ambitions than that.
They will plug them into the mains at home, work, and a Supercharger if you can find one near you. End of story. much will be CO2 sourced electricity.
if you want to off-set it, suggest you buy a few tree's.
(oops that should read $70,000 Tesla, not $75,000; anyway, the point is that the car is just an expensive battery in this loopy notion of "disruptiveness")...
Renault/Nissan have attempted this in the UK, but the 1-5 year Battery Leasing Deal pricing is little different to fuel costs for a frugal eco Turbo-Diesel on a normal Clio/Micra/Qashqai/Megane etc v's a Renault Zoe/Nissan Leaf.
@EVdeath Think ahead, not in the past.
Where was solar just a decade ago vs where is solar now?
Where was nuclear 4 decades ago vs where it is now...?
We need to start looking ahead and building for the future, instead of trying to rebuild the past.
Utilities are losing market share each and every time a ratepayers adds solar to their roof and they are doing so at ever greater rates (pun intended)! If Tesla and/or someone else develops a storage battery that is affordable then expect the Utilities to lose exponentially more of their current market share, especially if those same ratepayers buy a eVehicle!
In CA ratepayers pay a separate fee on their monthly bills for the Grid so your claim that the Utility is going to get "stuck" for something is just so much hot air, Utilities NEVER get stuck, their shareholders always come out ahead unless you are talking about Japanese owners of what used to be TEPCO, then yes they have lost big.
There are going to be ever more eVehicles selling for all kinds of prices which will allow their owners to commute without using gasoline or diesel fuel, which will be recharged by the panels on their rooftops because the prices of PV and soon PV storage are falling monthly! Therefore using the $100,000 figure is yet another attempt to sidestep what is coming in the future. BTW: I know people that use electric bicycles to commute and anyone with credit can get a new Nissan Leaf for about $200 per month on a multi-year lease, so therefore using the $100,000 figure is yet another attempt to sidestep what is coming in the future. I'll also mention that nobody needs to go 100% renewable at least at the present unless they live in a remote location or because they want to for some reason; for most ratepayers if they can pay only a fraction of what they are currently paying they will be overjoyed!
As far as your Utility Death statement, please remember that President Carter also put solar panels on the White House and that the World has really evolved since his term in office! One only has to think about the price and power of personal computer and/or mobile phones "back then" to see that we are living in a much different world in which like personal computers and mobile phones, Solar (of all flavors) is now coming of age, which is a great thing for mankind, since the Earth does have limited resources which are now in demand by ever more people globally... the XL pipeline which will help Canada ship its natural resources to Asia is a perfect example!
@EVdeath Well, you can't deny that it would be "cool" for "rich folk". Not so much for the rest of us.
This whole scheme is also in denial of the fact that the utilities still have to bear the cost of maintaining generating capacity for "peak load". This basically means that not only will your energy bill have to reflect the cost of the solar and battery installation, it will also be bearing the cost of the existing generation infrastructure that will not be going away.
Surprisingly little of the cost of your energy bill is actually for the energy. It's for all of the infrastructure that has to be maintained and build out to deliver it to you when you need it.
I have no idea where in the world you're getting your data from but you need to revisit. Merchant hydrogen is produced from natural gas via steam methane reformation (SMR) please refer to literature from the IEA, EPA and DOE for the correct analysis.
@zackers @markhalper Yup. Better, cheaper battery technology - or energy storage of any sort- could indeed help justify more wind and solar. That would open the possibility for some off-grid, non-utility generation. But utilities could be the source of that wind and solar, too. They will also continue to be the source of fossil fuel electricity for those batteries. There's that bonanza again. Batteries (themselves not a purely clean/green tech but I'll hold off on that discussion) will improve; Musk ain't the only guy working on this, and lithium-ion ain't the only game in town.
But I still don't buy the notion that the world's motorists will turn their $70,000 cars into $70,ooo Duracells that feed the grid that fed them in the first place! They'll keep the juice for themselves. If they get it from an off-grid source in the first place, like at-home solar panels, then I can see where the utilities might potentially lose, although I can imagine utilities getting into the business of selling those panels and supporting/servicing theming. I'm all for off-grid where/when it makes sense. But the majority of EV owners will charge up the good old fashioned way - by plugging into the grid and its centrally produced electricity.
It's important therefore that utilities emphasize low-CO2 generation, like nuclear, which operates steadily around the clock and requires no storage. And wind, solar and other renewables, especially if they can get dedicated storage, rather than rely on some scattered volunteer army of EV owners. Last I looked, Japan was planning to install a whopper of a battery to store electricity generated by photovoltaic farms http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/bulletin/worlds-biggest-battery-will-store-solar-electricity-in-japan/. But then, many of Japan's large scale PV projects are going nowhere fast http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/bulletin/sunset-for-japans-big-solar-projects/. So Japan will return to nuclear http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/bulletin/japan-drafts-return-to-nuclear/.
One other related thought: "Molten salts." They're useful for storing heat at solar thermal plants (the ones that generate electricity not via photovoltaics, but by using the sun to heat a liquid to turn to steam to drive a turbine), and they're also key to the eponymous "molten salt nuclear reactors", one of several alternative reactor types that are safer, more efficient, less costly, less waste-producing and less weapons-prone than conventional reactors http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/bulletin/business-innovation-startups-it-must-be-nuclear/. So there is a potential for solar and nuclear to develop in tandem. And that's just one example.
@Neil Postlethwaite @JohnMcGrew You're right. Nissan Leaf owners here last year were anxiously awaiting to find out what Nissan was going to charge for replacement batteries when the cells in their Leafs started aging out. They collectively shook their heads when it was finally announced that they wouldn't be able to buy replacements, but could "lease" them from Nissan for $100/month. All of a sudden the TCO (total cost of ownership) for a Leaf didn't look all that much better than that for other microcars.
@CaptD @Neil Postlethwaite@JohnMcGrew@adornoe
Notice the use of the word, "if" in your suggestion that, perhaps it could turn out successful.
If the word "if" were a way to look at the real world,
"If" socialism ever worked as proposed, then the whole world would be full of people living happily ever after, and poverty would not exist, and all world problems would have been solved. But that "if" world is a fantasy, and it could never really exist, especially since, for socialism to work, people would be expected to allow themselves to be controlled as simple robots with their brains disengaged, and personal ambitions discarded.
"If" is not a four letter word, but, it's used far too often to rationalize and justify foolhardy projects.
The Tesla battery is just a necessary part of EVs, but it's the most problematic to get right. Musk believes that with a larger scale manufacturing process, that the vehicles will become more practical because batteries might have dropped in price. But, the problems with the vehicles will remain for a lot longer, those being the range anxiety and the short life-span for the batteries, and the continuing problem with batteries holding less and less of a charge with each new charge applied to them. A component that is destined to die within a few years, and that is the costliest part of the vehicle, will still make the vehicle very impractical. Sure, vehicles have components that wear out within a few years and even months, but they're not as expensive to replace as a $8,000 or $10,000 battery.
Musk will be rich, one way or another. But, most of the "earnings" that Tesla has shown, are not from vehicle sales or battery sales. The only growth that Tesla has shown, is in its market cap, which is mostly about irrational expectations from its shareholders. In real terms, Tesla is a failure, and it's been one from the beginning.
@Neil Postlethwaite @JohnMcGrew @adornoe If his battery works out as planned, then he will "make another even larger was of money" and probably then be the richest man on the Planet, since everyone will want to have batteries that allow them to store their own Solar (of all flavors) energy instead of having to pay some Utility for it, especially if they also own eVehicles!
@Neil Postlethwaite @JohnMcGrew @adornoe To be fair, the Zeppelin initially failed because of geopolitics. (We wouldn't sell the Nazis helium) But the technology was an economic dead-end.
Ford survived the Edsel, and Coke survived "New Coke".
But that's all the greatest part about capitalism; "creative destruction"; Bad or unworkable ideas die entirely on their own, unlike those promulgated by governments, which can keep bad ideas running for generations, like zombies; consuming brains and resources that would have been much better deployed elsewhere.
No question that there's a cult behind Elon Musk and Tesla. Personally, I like him because he symbolizes what can be great about becoming mega-wealthy in America. Instead of following the script and walking off with his money to mindlessly blow it all off on mansions, jumbo jets and mega yachts like some Arab oil sheikh, he's doing creative and out-there things with his billions; creating the kind of jobs that America likes to be known for, and creating actual technology. We can certainly debate how viable some of what he creates might be in the long term, but at least he's doing something proactive and positive. He's a great antidote to the popular Progressive narrative that all rich people are Paris Hilton, and should have their wealth seized so that politicians can dole out more food stamps.
@JohnMcGrew @adornoe@Neil PostlethwaiteNot being cynical at all; it's called, calling it as it is, and looking at the reality.
Basically, Musk would not even be thought of as a "genius", and Tesla wouldn't even exist, if it weren't for government subsidies and the stupidity of carbon credits keeping him and his company aloft; that and the irrational exuberance exhibited by Tesla investors, who dream big about Tesla actually being worth it and making a killing for them.
So, I'll repeat: a fool and his money are soon parted.
If you want, I'm sure I could do an anecdotal list of 'failures' too - Zeppelin, Ford Edsel, New Coke, MySpace, Ronald Wayne, Webvan etc... and countless others
Not being cynical, just trying to get some context, and reality into Tesla which has the all hallmarks of being over-valued/hyped on a dotcom scale. Someone the other day I saw even called Elon Musk the real Iron Man - FFS !!!
He was someone in the right place at the right time of Zip2, made a bit of money, and again though the X-Com/PayPal merger, made a huge wad more. Once you have significant money, it's not hard to make more. I'm sure if he was behind Webvan, he'd be on a list of famous failures.
I just want the choice of which seemingly foolhardy technology I'm going to invest in. Historically, the government has almost always been wrong.
@CaptD @JohnMcGrew @adornoe @Neil Postlethwaite Well, good luck with that. The marketplace will need some pioneers willing to take that kind of risk.
But the idea that a private company is going to giving stuff like that away is a bit of a fantasy. To date, only the government has the (ability to seize and redirect) resources to do that. I really don't see company would do something like live away their very expensive product with their own money.
It's why I almost leased an EV; the government was literally giving it away.
@JohnMcGrew @adornoe @Neil Postlethwaite I'm looking forward to getting a second hand eVehicle and I know many others are also! I would not be a bit surprised if they start giving an eVehicle away with a new solar roof installation as eVehicles become less expensive since what home owner would not add extra capacity required to charge their own eVehicle, especially if one or more batteries help save them even more money! People are now commuting on electric bicycles and electric motorcycles, so the "shift" to a large eVehicle is a no brainer!
@adornoe @JohnMcGrew @Neil Postlethwaite Actually, a very large percentage of all new-car buyers don't think in terms of TCO in the long-run. It's not limited to EV buyers. Many car buyers purchase based on vanity over any sound economic reason. And many who do think they are purchasing based on economics are just bad at math. For all new car buyers, depreciation is the greatest single component of TCO.
What the marketplace for used EVs is going to be has yet to be determined. It's largely going to be determined by the battery issue. Other than for the battery, EVs should have a very long life, given their relative mechanical simplicity over conventional ICE cars. If batteries can be replaced inexpensively, EV will retain substantial value compared to ICE cars. If not, you may be right; they will be toast. Musk is not an idiot. I'm pretty sure that he fully understands this problem.
We will have to wait to see.
@JohnMcGrew @Neil Postlethwaite Unfortunately, most car or EV buyers don't think in terms of TCO for the long-run. Many are "sold" on the immediate savings in regard to fuel costs. They don't worry about the future, and many will "cross that bridge when they get to it", but, many don't realize that crossing that bridge is a lot closer than they realize, when they start having problems a lot sooner than they expected. To a large portion of those EV purchasers, shock will overtake them if they decide to trade in an EV earlier than the vehicles lifespan. Those vehicles are estimated to have lost 1/2 to 3/4 of their value after only 2-3 years. And they won't be able to sue Nissan nor BMW nor Tesla for having sold them a rapidly aged clunker. If any dealer does take in one of those vehicles for trade-in, they won't be able to get rid of them, unless they give them away, but even then, the people who get them, will have big burdens on their hands.
EVs: a solution that hurts more than the problem.