Tesla CTO JB Straubel recently was the keynote speaker at the annual energy storage symposium put on by Joint Venture Silicon Valley.

It seems that Straubel sees the answer for the future in leveraging scale:

"We Should All Be Thinking Bigger"

"EVs for the mass market. We weren't founded to make sports cars; we were founded to drive a revolution. You have to sell millions of cars to move the needle."

In particular, on the Tesla giga factory, Straubel stated that stationary energy storage could grow faster than automotive batteries:

 "Maybe this whole group is not thinking in large enough scale for the market size of energy storage."

Current And Former Tesla Vehicles

Current And Former Tesla Vehicles

Batteries

Straubel noticed that in 1990s, the state-of-the-art EVs had lead-acid batteries, then came lithium-ion batteries, some prototype cars and low-volume production began in 2008 (Tesla Roadster). Now, almost every automaker has or is planning some kind of plug-in vehicle.

There is no single type of lithium-ion battery. We have many types of chemistries, most of which are improving over time. According to Straubel, over 10 years energy density has/will double. Some of this timeframe falls on the 5 years between Roadster and Model S, which has 40% "better performance," according to Straubel.

Energy density is still improving, but this is not continuous.  Rather, it's smaller or bigger jumps from time to time.

Stationary energy storage

Tesla's stationary energy storage (credit to <a href=Greentech Media)" draggable="false">

Tesla's stationary energy storage (credit to Greentech Media)

Tesla is using the "same architecture" for stationary energy storage systems as it does for its electric vehicles.

The Tesla factory in Fremont in 2013 got a 2 MWh battery pack to reduce peak demand by about 10% and, by fall, this system will be expanded to 4 MWh.

Some smaller system are installed for Supecharging stations and some by SolarCity with solar arrays:

"We've started piloting these applications," said the CTO, pointing out that there is a 400 kilowatt-hour battery pack at the Tejon Ranch supercharger site in Southern California. The "supercharger is the perfect application for energy storage" with its "incredibly peaky load." he added.

The important hurdle is the business model

"the value of backup power is hard to quantify."

"how you make a business case to the customer"

But Straubel expects that over the next decade, energy storage will grow because it's needed to increase the share of renewables on the grid.

*For more on Straubel's keynote speech, follow this link to Greentech Media's article.

Tesla's stationary energy storage (credit to <a href=Greentech Media)" draggable="false">

Tesla's stationary energy storage (credit to Greentech Media)

Source: Greentech Media