Tesla says it is increasing production of its Powerwall 2 residential battery storage product, as it locks in higher deliveries of its Model 3 electric vehicle and seeks to address the backlog on the household battery.
Powerwall 2 customers – in Australia, and elsewhere – have experienced significant delays due to Tesla’s decision to focus on the Model 3 EV, which has been crucial to stop the cash-drain and deliver sustainable profits for the company.
That looks like it is being achieved, with Model 3 delivering record numbers of vehicles in the third quarter, the highest sales by value of any car in the US, and helping the company defy predictions and return a profit per share for the quarter.
Tesla said in its earnings statement that it has increased Powerwall 2 production “so that we can continue to work through our order backlog.” Tesla also recently released a significant price increase for the battery – from around $A12,000 to $A14,000 – as a result of an upgrade to its software, such as its “storm watch” that automatically recharges in case of storm forecast, and other issues.
Tesla says its energy storage deployments – which include big batteries like the one in South Australia – grew to 239MWh, more than double the same quarter last year. It expects total installation in 2018 to be triple that of calendar 2017.
Tesla is nearly finished the installation and testing of another battery storage facility in Australia, the 25MW/50MWh battery at the Gannawarra solar farm in Victoria, and is also working on a 25MW/52MWh battery at the Lake Bonney wind farm in South Australia and a smaller 4MWh battery at the Kennedy wind-solar-storage project in Queensland.
It’s still working on the solar roof, the integrated roof tiles that Musk confidently predicts will be cheaper than a normal roof, and provide electricity to boot.
“Due to the complexity of Solar Roof, we continue to iterate on the design of the product via intensive reliability testing, and we also continue to refine the installation process,” Tesla said. “Accordingly, we expect to ramp production more quickly during the first half of 2019.”
Tesla says it is now channeling its orders for solar and storage through its own website and stores rather than through third-party channels.
“This has helped us to significantly lower our customer acquisition costs,” it says. And it expects its EV customers to form the rump of its solar and storage business.
“At the end of Q3, there were almost 450,000 Tesla vehicle owners around the world. Ultimately, we believe this group will become the largest demand generator for our residential solar and Powerwall business.”