Tesla boosts power output of its home battery, keeps prices the same

CEO said installation of the Powerwall battery should cost about $500

Tesla today announced that its line of home Powerwall batteries will be upgraded to more than double their initial output, while the price remains the same.

The decision to upgrade the power output of the batteries followed some "negative" feedback after the Powerwall products were first announced, according to Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

"We actually took some of the negative feedback to heart, and I'm happy to announce we've dramatically increased the power capability of the Powerwall," Musk told investors at the company's annual shareholders meeting in Mountain View, Calif. today.

The Powerwall batteries will go from having a two-kilowatt (kW) steady power output and 3.3kW peak output to a 5kW steady output and 7kW peak output, Musk said.

The price of the batteries will remain the same: $3,000 for the 7kW/hour (KWh) daily cycle version and $3,500 for the 10kWh backup UPS version.

Tesla Powerwall Tesla

The Tesla Powerwall battery can be installed inside or outside.

"The daily cycler is sort of more about economics or getting off the grid completely, whereas the backup UPS is just there to ensure your house has power if there's ever a power outage," Musk said.

Homeowners who've signed up for solar panel installations or homes that already have them will receive "priority" treatment for delivery of the new Powerwall batteries, Musk said.

"It doesn't have to be SolarCity," Musk quipped, referring to the largest U.S. installer of residential solar systems, of which Musk is the chairman. "SolarCity is, of course, preferred, if you like the best."

Musk explained the "preferential" treatment has to do with the fact that solar systems already have direct current to alternating current inverters, which enable the Powerwalls to be more easily installed.

"We're also going to be prioritizing delivery of the Powerwall to partners that minimize the cost to the end user," he said. "So that the net result is we're expecting people to be able to purchase and install the Powerwall for about $4,000."

The Powerwall batteries, announced in May, are about 51-in. x 34-in. x 7.5-in. in size. The batteries come with a 10-year warranty.

Up to nine Powerwall battery units can be daisy-chained together on a wall to provide up to 90kWh of power. The average U.S. household uses about 20 kWh to 25 kWh of power every day, according to GTM Research.

Tesla announced last year that it partnered with Panasonic to make its lithium-ion batteries in what it calls "Gigafactories," the first one of which is under construction in Reno, Nevada.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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