Tesla Motors Plans “Major” Product Launch in April

On Monday, Tesla Motors co-founder and chief product architect Elon Musk tweeted that Tesla plans to unveil a major new product at its Hawthorne Design Studio at the end of next month. Although the new product launch will be held at the company’s automotive design studio, it will not be a new vehicle. Musk’s reference to a “major” new product has many speculating that it will do more than augment the current capabilities of Tesla’s all-electric vehicles – whatever it is.

Some are speculating that the new product will be a home-based supercharger that will allow for faster charging times, and allow the Tesla Model S’s 85kWH battery pack to actually provide the electrical needs of the average household in an emergency – all without the need for new, heavy duty wiring of the residence.

In a recent article, www.extremetech.com discussed how personal superchargers might allow Tesla owners to recharge their vehicle batteries at home without the need for extensive rewiring of their residences.

According to a 2010 World Energy Council report, the average U.S. home uses ~32kWH of electricity per day.  The Tesla Model S’s 85kWH battery pack appears to be an ideal fit for a home-based charging system, and could conceivably provide the energy typically used by the typical U.S. household for up to 2.5 days before being completely drained.

Tesla has previously stated that it has considered recycling used Model S battery packs for home use, in addition to offering brand new or slightly-used battery packs for that purpose.

SolarCity last week announced that it will begin making its GridLogic microgrids available to municipalities.  The microgrids can be used to provide emergency electrical power to communities in the event of a blackout.  These types of systems have been used in the past in a number of remote areas, and as storage battery prices have fallen in recent years, many communities now see the cost benefit of deploying them in communities that are susceptible to power outages caused by natural disasters and extreme weather events.  Studies have shown that it typically takes 10 days for local utility companies to completely restore electrical power to their customers following outages caused by major hurricanes.  Power outages caused by hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Andrew and Sandy all left thousands of people in the dark for months.

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