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Battery price war sees Tesla Powerwall 2 beaten even before first deliveries

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TThe Australian battery storage industry is experiencing a surge of interest from global manufacturers of battery storage products, with a number of companies launching new products over the last 6 months.

Our Battery Comparison Table shows prices are trending downward due to new products such as the Powerwall 2 and the Ampetus Super Lithium hitting lower price points. Interestingly we are not seeing manufacturers lowering their prices of existing products to compete with these new offerings.

Powerwall 2 is beaten before it even arrives

The Tesla Powerwall 2 got a lot of press when it was announced at a retail price of $8,000 for 13kWh of storage. It currently offers a cost-per-warranted-kWh of $0.21. First installs were originally promised for February, then March, as of this week the Tesla Website has stopped giving an estimated install date. Read into that what you will…

I personally put down a deposit with Tesla for a Powerwall 2 for a promised March installation. If it gets installed in March I’ll eat my hat.

Tesla’s website has recently stopped giving an installation date for the Powerwall 2.

Ampetus Energy 

A relatively unknown Australian company, Ampetus Energy, have released a 3kWh “Super Lithium” battery retailing for $2,300 This is available to ship right now and beats Tesla with a cost-per-warranted-kWh of $0.19. This is mainly due to their 15 year warranty, which is also the best in the industry.

Before Ampetus, the longest product warranty for a battery that we saw was 10 years – so they must be very confident in their product.

Cost per warranted kWh of batteries on the Australian market (source)

BYD B-Box

The Australian launch of BYD’s “B-Box” last month demonstrates that the battery storage industry is still having trouble consistently breaking below a cost of $1,000 per kWh – as their B-Box is being launched for an estimated retail price of $9,900 for 10kWh of storage.

BYD is a massive Chinese company that manufactures Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries. In 2015 they were the 2nd largest battery manufacturer in the world. They have previously focused their efforts on electric cars and buses, but the fact that they mass-produce Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries makes expansion into the residential battery storage space a logical next step.

Their “B-Box” battery is offered as both low voltage (48v) and high voltage (over 200v) products.

Notably, the 10kWh battery can output an impressive 10kW of power (and a massive 20kW peak) – but this is limited by the inverter it is connected to. Currently it only works with the 2.5kW SMA Sunny Boy Storage.

If a company as large as BYD cannot sell cheaper than $1,000 per kWh to compete with the likes of Tesla (and Ampetus), this indicates that the battery storage industry still has a few years to go before prices drop to a level that makes batteries worth it for the average Aussie household.

Here’s a summary of other new battery storage products that have been added to our battery comparison table recently:

DCS PV 5.0

This currently ranks third, behind the Powerwall 2 and the Ampetus “Super lithium”, for the best cost-per-warranted-kWh on our comparison. Engineered in Australia, it offers 5.12kWh of storage for $5,900.

Delta Hybrid E5

Delta, a company that also makes inverters, has thrown their hat into the ring with the Hybrid E5. It is priced at $8,500 for 6kWh of storage.

Elmofo E-Cells

Developed in Australia using Kokam cells, it offers 5.5kWh of storage for $8,190. It can offer a whopping 40kW of peak power – but this is limited by the inverter, so it’s more of a theoretical benefit.

SENEC.home Li 10.0

A German-made product offering 10kWh of storage for $20,860. It is quite expensive compared to the competition, but offers an excellent cycle life (12,000 cycles).

Akasol Neeoqube

Another German-made product, offering 5.5kWh of storage for $12,000. It is only compatible with SMA inverters.

In Summary

Battery prices are coming down, with Tesla offering the lowest ‘per kWh’ cost and Ampetus winning on ‘cost per warranted kWh’. Recent rumors suggest that Tesla believe they can reduce their battery prices by another 35% as the Gigafactory comes online. But I’ll believe it when I see it because they haven’t delivered the Powerwall 2 yet.

Finn Peacock is Founder & CEO at SolarQuotes

This article was originally published on RenewEconomy sister site One Step Off The Grid. To sign up for the weekly newsletter, click here.  

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  • George Darroch

    Competition is good, and prices will come down.

  • DeeAgeaux

    Tesla includes inverter . Tesla power walls are made with Japanese and American environmental standards not Chinese throw every chemical into a river standards. Tesla does not use proto-slave labor. Tesla powerwalls come with a Tesla warranty not Joe Shmoe or Chinese warranty.

    Why do you include the price of installation for Tesla but not the competition?

    Tesla B slaps the competition.

    • The calc for the PW2 is without installation.

    • solarguy

      Sorry mate, but the Powerwall 2 doesn’t include inverter with the DC version and will only work with Solar Edge inverter.

      • Tesla announced yesterday the are no longer selling pw2-DC outside the USA, iirc. Only keeping dc version in USA for “legacy” reasons. Going forwards, all pw’s will include an inverter.

        • Damien Buckley

          Anyone else as outraged about this as I am? Seems a ridiculous decision. SolarEdge must be fuming

  • Simon

    My understanding re the delivery time slip on the Powerwall 2 is that subsequent to the initial PW2 launch, Tesla picked up the 20MWh Southern California Edison job and all manufacturing capacity went to fulfilling that order first – which has now been completed and commissioned. So would expect PW2 production to be well underway. Happy to be corrected however…

    • trackdaze

      Apparently the case. Powerwall shipments began last week of february.

      Exactly where Australia fits in allocation and how they will be shipped could mean 1 week (air) to 2 months from being produced.

  • Bobmn

    Tesla includes inverter – let’s put this aside.
    Tesla $8000/14 = $571/kWh
    Ampetus Energy $2300/3 = $766/kWh
    Why do you think Ampetus is cheaper?

    A car with 5 year warranty doesn’t mean it will last 5 years. It may last 20 years.
    A battery pack with 15 year warranty doesn’t mean it will last 15 years. It may only last 8 years, or could last 25 years.

    I would trust Tesla’s products and it’s warranty over any other suppliers, especially over those new companies with no history.

    My suggestion for the author, why not cancel your Tesla order, and buy the Ampeturs instead??

    • As the article clearly says, “Tesla offers the lowest ‘per kWh’ cost and Ampetus are winning on ‘cost per warranted kWh’” by having a longer warranty despite the higher per kWh price.

      • Brunel

        I am afraid your website should say “cost of storage”.

        Per kWh does not make sense – as the cost of making electrons is added to the cost of storing electrons.

        Like a packet of spice in a small grocery shop – the cost of making the spice and then the cost of keeping it on the shelf for 12 months as it gathers dust and nears the expiry date.

    • Damien Buckley

      Appears that usage data is more important to Tesla than saving the environment or its potential customers. What other explanation is there for dropping the add-on battery capability at the last moment? Hardly a reliable trustworthy consumer focussed company…

    • rexalfielee

      Absolutely, so would I. Wouldn’t trust anyone undercutting Musk…

  • DJR96

    All these other makes and models that aren’t price competitive simply won’t sell unless they drop their prices. Prices which are generously inflated in the Australian market too.

    And quite frankly, the Tesla PW2 is the only thing worthwhile at the moment. And the price for them will drop too in time. Tesla is making cells for under $250/kWh now. Ramped up supply will bring that down.

  • Chris A

    Fortunately or unfortunately retail prices will go up 20% in the next 18months which will make a heap of these things more cost effective.

  • Gavin

    I just checked the energy website and they are saying May install

  • Geoff James

    Great work Finn, thanks. I guess there is no fire sale of existing products because of (i) uncertainty about delivery time frames for the new products and (ii) there is a sufficient early-adopter market for them to be attractive at the present price? Geoff.

  • Miles Harding

    Good work Finn.

    I would be concerned about any lithium battery maker claiming a 15 year operating life, particularly also with a deep depth of discharge. I expect this will be a recipe for disappointment.

    None the less, I am impressed to see another supplier down in Tesla territory, at least until the Powerwall III appears. 🙂

    It’s possible thay they don’t care too much about today’s performance claims, expecting that the industry will grow exponentially, making it easy to pacify the early adopters should the product not live up to expectations.

  • Mark Roest

    I wonder whether companies like Tesla and LG Chem simply don’t choose to drop their prices because they don’t have to because the vast majority of the competition is higher. They don’t need to kick off the chasm Theory Tornado of Demand until they have completed the Gigafactory, are starting another, and are easily supplying all the cars they can make. Then they can swoop in suddenly and take over the market.
    Retail battery prices will then be forced down until the price war is won. Then, if someone comes out with a battery that has lower cost, the price war will reignite or continue. But all those batteries to the right on the chart will either reinvent themselves or be out of business.
    Note to Brunel, this price is probably the cost of storage, to which must be added the cost of electricity, from which they may subtract what they are willing to pay in terms of insurance that they will have basic electricity during a prolonged blackout. All of this must be compared to the outrageous price of electricity in most of Australia.
    I would make an analogy to a pack of bicycle racers, of which the stronger ones are all waiting for the moment when they can sprint out of the pack and have a hope of maintaining their speed long enough to win the race. Meanwhile they may not be going fast at all!

    • humanitarian solar

      The powerwall is a poor product in terms of ethics and humanitarian considerations. Most other companies cooperate (around 48V) so batteries and inverters can be mixed and matched by installers and this is important because some battery chemistries are best suited to specific applications (e.g. high current) and some inverters are best suited to specific applications (e.g. three phase or co-generation renewable installs). Hence horizontally oriented companies cooperating (versus vertical integration) produces greater energy security and flexibility. The powerwall also steers the industry increasingly towards AC only solar systems, as the DC voltage is far different from previous industry standards for DC applications and the DC voltage is not accessible for use. Allot of communications equipment, security alarms, routers, computers, phones have the facility for DC battery backup and DC charging. Waterpumps can run on DC. Most things in a house run on DC internally. A push towards AC is part of an economic imperialism for domination by a particular paradigm away from simple systems that could be much more widespread throughout humanity. Engineers are tied to marketing platforms, often primarily motivated to extract wealth from humanity rather than primarily concerned for simplicity and cost effectiveness. So much of the current technology is for control of battery voltages dominating an industry. The companies who cooperate mixing and matching inverters and batteries are creating much better and more customisable systems. What I think will eventually happen, is companies will cooperate around industry standards for battery voltages and DC applications will rise, reducing inverter cost or eliminating it for many applications. Elimination would produce a solar system involving merely PV, regulator and battery running for example refrigeration, communications, water pumps and other critical systems wherever possible. This could drop the price of systems by another third and rural people would have more secure power when long vulnerable runs of poles and wires go down. An evolutionary perspective takes account of human development improving, and eventually leading to more authentic products.

    • Richard

      Good point. The giga factory wont be fully operational for a few years. Meanwhile, everyone else is ramping up production as quickly as they can. I will wager that ultimately a tesla/panasonic battery may not be the cheapest offering but it will probably offer the best performance/cost over life of battery.

      Added to this are chemistry changes and new technologies coming through. So your bicycle analogy is pretty good. I would expand on that and say we are in the early stages of the first Tour de France, battery wise. We have some early sprinters out front with major teams backing them. But we don’t know who will emerge as the front runners in the mountains, when the going gets really tough. Or, who will ultimately end up winning.

      This race has a long way to run. But it will burn off fossil fuels in the process.

  • ChrisEcoSouth

    No mention of either LG RESU (Korea), or GCL (China).
    Also, RRPs can be large compared to street prices for some manufacturers.
    Ie, you may well get a street price for an installed LG or Delta package, less than the comparable Tesla price.

  • Michael

    Hi Finn thanks for the overview great snapshot. Do you think it is a possability that Tesla will release a Powerwall 3 for next year with a proper Solar DC to AC inverter as part of the Solar City acquisition and roof tiles ? and will this lead to a direct purchase to other countries other than the US ? Is it worth waiting another year for these potential improvements or purchasing the solar + storage this year.

  • Chris Marshalk

    Excellent article. This should be a sticky note for RE.

  • Ian

    Nice work Finn, my calculations estimate the world needs at least 200 GF just to cover the car market and there are many other applications for battery storage. Tesla and the like have three competing pricing impetuses. 1. Build a market by offering the best possible price. 2. Enjoy a manufacturer’s advantage by being amongst the few to serve such a potentially huge market and charging whatever pleases them. 3. Compete on the existing lithium battery demand.

    Tesla, I think stands out as a visionary company. They see oil,coal and gas as their market competitors, they see a need for quintillions of their little lithium cells, their market is worth all the money in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Russia, and the other FF states. It’s as big as Donald Trump’s ‘Yuge’, they know that they need to give the very best price they can to get their market going.

    To some, they see battery storage as a niche market, for Chardonnay- Sipping greenies, tiny, and willing to pay top dollar for their offering. They price their product according to the annoyance factor towards the grid and naivety of those first-adopters. These are the German ( and dare I say it ) Australian manufacturers.;)

    The third group are the Far Eastern Manufacturers, they see the existing market only in its existing infancy form and try beat out the likes of Tesla with their slightly-cheaper-than-thou offering.

    Fortunately for us, the Asian Manufacturers are able to copy, match and then beat the other two groups, putting a fire-cracker under their laurels. The only hope though, is they don’t Crush the fledgling Tesla-like manufacturers who have the real vision for battery storage.

    This is why the powerwall 2 is delayed while Tesla juggles its other market demands, trying to grow into uncharted territory. And why the Asian offerings beat them on price before they have even landed the Powerwall 2 on our shores.

    My guess is that many Australians will Barrack for Tesla’s success, admire and feel pride for Australia’s innovation and academic prowess, long for the designer European Products, but buy Chinese!

    • Ian

      Silly Trump is still looking at the FF horse’s arse whilst his battery manufacturers struggle, only to have his worse nightmare nation take the energy storage prize, how funny. For the price of totally subsidising one little gigafactory, the USA could have dropped a few less bombs on Syria, just saying, that’s all.

      • Brunel

        The Iraq war of 2002 was unnecessary. Tony Blair is a disgrace.

  • Robin_Harrison

    Great article although your headline probably owes a bit to your understandable frustration. It’s still the most attractive offering. They’ve certainly got form with missed deadlines, hope they do better with Model ≡.

  • Damien Buckley

    Not much discussion or mention here that Powerwall 2 will not be available to customers with existing inverters as they are not selling DC-coupled into Australia. I know as I had one ordered and cancelled. Seems a bizarre move but this article should be updated to reflect that it is not a direct comparison with the other batteries.

  • rexalfielee

    I wonder what happens when their battery fails early. Elon Musk would definitely back up his guarantee because everything he has rides on it. The other would be less likely & more likely to just up & bolt & “I don’t give a fuck about you”…

  • rexalfielee

    As always & in line with Telstra’s prior history, they can’t be fucking trusted…ever…

  • Mark Leonard Reynolds

    What irritates me about this article, is the Ampetus prices are quoted ‘not including GST’. So you need to add 10%
    I quote Bernie Gill of Ampetus “Price for batteries is $2300 plus GST , cabinet is $890 + which will take up to 5 batteries .”