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The Tesla Powerwall: A Glimpse into the Future

So yesterday, Elon Musk revealed the Tesla Powerwall. In an 18 minute keynote speech, Musk gives us a glimpse into the future of clean energy. If you have the time, I encourage you all to check it out. It’s inspiring stuff.

The Powerwall is a sleek, wall-mounted battery that comes in two models: a 10 kWh (kilowatt per hour) model optimized for backup use and a 7 kWh model optimized for daily cycling. The average American household’s power usage is 30 kWh. Currently, a single Powerwall cannot store enough energy to completely replace the power in a home. Fortunately, up to 9 separate units can be linked together to increase storage capacity, which means that you can have a maximum of either 63 kWh or 90 kWh per household depending on the model. . The flooded batteries that are used now are extremely heavy and take up a lot of space. You need a large closet or small room for storage. Even worse, they need to be checked weekly (yuck). In comparison, the Tesla Powerwall is maintenance free, roughly the size of a 60” flatscreen TV and just 220 pounds.

The price for one of these babies? $3000-3500 per unit. To put that price in context, let’s say that we wanted to completely switch a single household from the grid to Powerwalls. Using the 7 kWh model, we would need 4-5 (28-35 kWh) units, costing approximately $12,000-15,000 before factoring in the installation costs. That’s not exactly “affordable” per se, but it’s definitely within reach.

For a more in-depth look at the capabilities and specs of the Powerwall, check out the Tesla website and this post on extremetech.com.

For me, the most exciting thing about the Powerwall is that it can be connected to solar energy. In his keynote, Musk mentions that the Sun has an enormous potential for use as an energy source, but just how massive are we talking? Well, the Earth uses about 400 quads of Btu (British Thermal Units) energy per year. In comparison, the Earth receives roughly 8.2 million quads of Btu energy per year. That’s over 20,000 times more than all the energy that everyone uses each year. (Source)

Of course, we’ve still got a ways to go before we can truly capitalize on the power of the Sun. Solar cells are not yet efficient enough at converting all this free energy, but the Powerwall is a huge step in the right direction. This isn’t to say that the Powerwall will solve the global energy crisis, or even to say that this product will change the world (though it certainly seems that way). But, as cliched as this might sound, Elon Musk is doing something equally important, he’s inspiring people with hope for a better future.

Becoming Batman is really a just a metaphor for becoming your best self, and crafting the life that you want to live. I think a big part of that process is finding a purpose greater than yourself. Your purpose acts as a compass, and by constantly grounding and re-grounding yourself in your purpose you can ensure that your actions are taking you in the right direction.

The Powerwall is a great example of a product that is aligned with such a purpose. I look to Elon Musk as someone who embodies the bold pursuit of results as part of a higher cause. His projects and products tackle problems that I find hard to even dream about solving. I think all of us could take a page out of Musk’s book and start thinking about our purpose, dreaming a little bigger and reaching a little further.

Till’ Next Time

Becoming Batman

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