Tesla Cars Could Soon Power Your Home — and the Grid

Getty Images / Kevork Djansezian

Getting a Tesla definitely saves you money on gas, and soon it might save your electricity bill as well.

After Tesla’s SolarCity acquisition, the electric car company is reportedly trying to make it possible for your Tesla to power your home. Vehicle-to-grid capacity would enable Tesla owners to plug their homes into their Tesla, and have its battery run appliances. CEO Elon Musk, it seems, wants his Tesla owners to make a profit: When not in use, the cars might soon taxi people around for you. Sooner, it looks like they’ll store and supply energy from and to the grid.

Ben Hill, Tesla’s vice president for energy in Europe and Africa, spoke at the Intersolar conference in Dubai on Tuesday. During his presentation, Gulf News reports, he spoke about V2G tech, saying that it would arrive and be functional “very, very soon.” Right now, he said, the technology needs fine-tuning and development, but the fact that Hill told a solar power conference to expect it soon is promising.

When batteries are overused, they become less effective at storing energy, and this has been the longstanding roadblock for V2G. But lithium-ion batteries are getting cheaper to manufacture and becoming more disposable, and electric vehicles are steadily — but surely — taking over the roads. As these trends continue, V2G will be all the more feasible. An average U.S. household will use about 30 kWh of electricity per day, and Tesla’s smallest battery stores 60 kWh of energy.

Elon Musk unveiling the Tesla Powerwall.

Getty Images / Kevork Djansezian

The basic idea, for non-solar cars, is to store energy when electricity is cheap, and then to use this stored energy to power — or to sell it back to the grid — when electricity costs are peaking.

It would be a sensible move by Musk, who’s been criticized for his decision to merge SolarCity and Tesla. The former company once just existed to provide homes with solar energy, and to sell some energy back to the grid (which energy tycoons don’t exactly like); the latter company once just existed to provide people with electric vehicles. With the Tesla Powerwall, the symbiosis began, but now, post-merger, V2G is the logical next step.

Related Tags