There is this big picture that Tesla is painting for all of us to see, but it might not be evident at first, so I’m going to break this whole thing down so you can see the big picture.
Tesla’s battery day got pushed back further once again, and to some of you, it didn’t come as a surprise, while others were quite disappointed by this decision.
These continued postponements may have more reason behind them than what Tesla is letting us know.
Tesla is known to have always something to show, and in this case, I think it may be to demonstrate a working battery cell factory line.
It may have been delayed due to the pandemic, as some parts needed for the battery line might not have arrived yet.
Another product that I believe Tesla would possibly demonstrate is a working version of a one million mile battery on a Model S.
But there’s a big piece to all of this that hasn’t been talked about, and that’s what I want to talk about today.
Tesla’s Auto Meter
What I’m talking about is Tesla’s Auto Meter. You may have already heard of it by now, but you may not have connected all the dots yet to see the big picture that Tesla is painting.
They haven’t publicized too much about it, which is why I think this is something that they will be sharing on the battery day to explain how this will benefit Tesla’s vehicle and power wall owners.
Let’s break this down and connect those dots. First, we need to understand what Auto Meter is and why it’s so important. Auto Meter is a software that is aimed at utility companies and not us the consumers.
Autobidder provides independent power producers utilities and capital partners the ability to monetize battery assets and trade in real-time autonomously. So what does this mean, and how does it affect you?
I’ll give you two examples.
Let’s say you have solar panels on your rooftop, and you’re storing free energy from the Sun into Tesla powerwall.
The software can sell a portion of that stored energy to where it’s needed during peak hours and earn you money while you do, well, nothing.
Most of the energy collected from the solar goes to waste because once the batteries are full and you’re not using the energy because you’re not home, the batteries will just sit there with max capacity.
In contrast, excess solar energy will go to waste. The same goes for your Tesla if you have one, which brings me to the second example.
You see, Tesla cars are like a small powerhouse on wheels. For instance, Tesla Model 3 has a 75-kilowatt hour battery over five times the energy capacity than in a power wall, and most of us don’t need all 75-kilowatt hours daily.
If you’re just driving to work and back, considering that more than 90% of cars are parked most of the day, which is a lot of energy just sitting there doing nothing.
What Tesla is visioning is to enable vehicle-to-grid charging or V2G in short. This will enable you to sell a portion of that energy back to the grid for profit while leaving enough power in the batteries for you to drive home safely.
You then plug your car into your V2G charger at home, and the auto meter would find the cheapest energy available to charge your vehicle back up to full charge.
This energy would come from renewable sources most of the time, which means you will save money.
This technology will allow managing your energy your way and potentially become energy self-sufficient, reducing everyone’s reliance on energy companies.
Just get solar panels fitted and then adopt a vehicle to grid technology, and your home could become a private mini power station.
This would provide energy to the grid when it’s needed taking the load off of power plants allowing them to operate at a nominal rate, which could bring down the cost of electricity when demand is high.
I know what you’re thinking. Wouldn’t this degrade the batteries a lot faster since you’re discharging and charging the battery every day?
Well, you’re right, it would, but remember the one million mile battery Tesla has been quietly successfully working on, this is where that comes in.
Tesla Battery Capacity
You see, the current 2170 battery cells in Tesla’s today would last about one to two thousand charging cycles before you start seeing 90% or less capacity in the very pack.
The range of your car will go down a lot faster because you’re almost emptying the battery each day, how much faster? I’ll get into the nitty-gritty and all the numbers in just a moment.
With the new batteries, Tesla has recorded over 5,000 charging cycles, even 6,000 charging cycles before the batteries see a 10% loss in capacity. That’s two to three times more than with the current batteries.
For example. Let’s say you arrive at work with your battery capacity at 90%, and during the day, the grid is pulling power out of your car battery.
You arrive home, and your battery is now down to 20%. In this example, you will have used 70% of the car’s battery capacity for that day.
Why did I say 90 percent charge and not 100%? When you charge from 20% back to 90 percent, it’s not a full cycle as it’s only 70%, but the next day when you repeat this whole process, you would technically be at 140 percent.
Meaning you’ve done a full cycle and an additional 40 percent toward the second cycle.
Remember, one full cycle is considered to be zero to 100%, so if you charge, let’s say from 50% to 100% that’s only a half a cycle.
With Tesla’s current batteries to get the best longevity, it’s recommended not to charge the batteries to 100% all the time unless you need to. It’s also recommended never to let it go below 20% either.
It’s just like with your smartphone. If you let the battery die almost every day over time within the first two years or so, you will see a significant drop in the battery’s capacity, which is why your phone dies much quicker than it did when you first got it.
This puts extra stress on the batteries, and over time, it will bring down the battery packs capacity much quicker than if you follow recommendations.
However, with the new dry electrode batteries Tesla has been working on with Maxwell technologies, this problem has been almost wholly dealt with and won’t be as big of a problem as it is today. Here’s why.
Because the batteries today use the toxic wet solvent, this needs to be dried, and this process takes a lot of time and space.
The solvent makes the battery degrade whenever you charge them and reduces the battery’s effectiveness and capacity.
By eliminating this solvent, Maxwell has solved many problems all at once. The batteries take less energy to make, less time to make, less cost to make, are better for the employees, and the environment and take less space.
As I mentioned earlier, they’re better than the current batteries? There will be more energy-dense than the current ones Tesla has.
Tesla Terra Factories
This is how I see Tesla converting its existing Giga factories into Terra factories.
The facility’s footprint may stay the same, but the number of batteries they will be able to pump out will increase dramatically due to the things that I just mentioned.
Within the same space, Tesla could make more batteries because they require less space and less time due to the known drying needed. Less space and less time equal to more batteries per day.
As an example, let’s say your current Tesla was a part of this vehicle to grid network; the battery would get drained a lot quicker than it would normally.
Let’s say each day your car goes through one charging cycle, which it wouldn’t in normal circumstances, but to make the math easier, let’s assume it does.
That means you would complete 365 charging cycles in a year, and let’s assume you take care of your battery pack and never charge it about 90%, and never let it drop below 20%.
You get about 2000 charging cycles from your battery before you start seeing or 10% degradation. You would get about five and a half years of battery life.
Let’s round that up to six years. You probably wouldn’t want to change the battery pack every six years, would you? And most likely, you wouldn’t want your car to be a part of the vehicle to grid network, right?
With the one million mile battery, this changes the game entirely. If you can get six thousand charging cycles before degrading the battery pack to about ninety percent capacity, with this same math, it would take you over 16 years to do so.
Jeff Don, who is leading a research lab in Canada, has been working on new battery chemistries. His latest one is pointing toward a battery that isn’t as affected by charging up to 100%, or letting the battery drain to 0%.
In the existing Tesla vehicles, you’re technically just carrying extra weight and energy that you can’t use because you don’t charge to 100%. By not letting it drain to 0% to avoid damaging the batteries reducing their lifespan.
This new battery chemistry would make it so that all of the battery pack and its capacity is available for you to use without having to worry about battery decoration. The idea of the vehicle-to-grid starts to sound more appealing, doesn’t it?
When you piece this information together, you start to see where all this is heading to, but let’s keep going because there’s a lot more.
At this point, let’s consider how much money you can potentially make by having your car be part of the vehicle to the grid network.
The cost of electricity varies from state to state, but let’s round that up to ten cents per kilowatt-hour.
Auto Meter would buy one kilowatt-hour of battery energy for 10 cents and sell one kilowatt-hour during peak hours for 20 cents. You made 10 cents of profit by doing nothing.
Let’s say you have a Model 3, and you have 75-kilowatt hours stored in the battery pack, but you only need 35 kilowatt-hours on an average day.
This means you could let Auto Bidder sell the other 40 kilowatt-hours at peak hours, which could make you $4 in a day.
That’s one thousand four hundred and sixty dollars a year, and in 16 years, you’re looking at twenty-three thousand three hundred and sixty dollars.
Of course, Tesla would take their portion from this, and the numbers may vary depending on where you’re from, and what time, and at which price.
You can potentially have more than one Tesla and multiple power walls at home, sell a lot more energy this way, and make a lot more profit than a single-vehicle.
Over time, yes, you probably would be recycling the battery pack and getting a new one, which is a quick and easy process.
Batteries have come down a lot in price in the last ten years, and by the time you need to change the battery pack, the price would have come down more.
At today’s rate of about one hundred fifty-four dollars per kilowatt-hour, you would pay about $11,500 for a new battery pack.
Once EVs reach price parity with gasoline vehicles, you will be paying about seven thousand five hundred dollars for a new battery pack.
By 2030 it’s expected to be around sixty-five dollars per kilowatt-hour, so the pack would cost you less than five thousand dollars.
With the profit, you make you could easily afford any battery pack while making money and helping the environment.
What would happen to all the recycled batteries then? It seems Tesla has thought of this step as well.
One of Tesla’s co-founder and former Tesla CEO JB Straubel, started a battery recycling company called redwood materials back in 2017 and is located in Nevada.
The company has kept a very low profile and been very hush-hush about its existence and operations so far.
I think this company’s purpose will be to eventually recycle all the battery packs from all the test vehicles that would be upgraded to the new 1 million watt battery.
The company would take out the bad battery cells and reuse those that are in good condition to put them in a power pack for big utility storage systems.
Because the batteries will only be used for energy storage, it wouldn’t matter too much if the capacity is even 70%, because there’s no mileage or range to be worried about.
They’re just taking more space, which in most cases wouldn’t be a problem as these are usually built in large open areas where they can quickly scale up the system where needed.
Going back to what I was saying earlier about giving energy back to the grid.
To sell electricity back to the grid, your vehicle needs to be plugged into a vehicle to grid charger; for instance, when you plug in your car at home, you need to have a B2G charger.
This would allow you to charge your car faster at the lowest possible rate, but you can make it work the other way around, giving energy back to the grid.
This two-way system is what is being talked about everywhere around the globe right now, and some countries are heavily investing in a vehicle to Grid infrastructure.
Some countries, such as the UK, have invested over 20 million pounds into vehicle-to-grid chargers.
This means that once the infrastructure is there to support this, people with EVs capable of vehicle-to-grid will be able to do this almost anywhere.
EV Charging Plugs
There are many different kinds of plug types worldwide, and this is starting to remind us of all the different types of charging cables we have with cell phones.
But just like the type C is slowly becoming standard today, aside from Apple’s lightning port, I’m sure over time a common standard will get adopted by the world for EV’s.
Imagine having your car park at your workplace and connect it to a vehicle to grid charger, or spending a few hours at the shopping mall while having your car plugged into a V2D charger.
You’ll be making money while you’re spending money, you, of course, would have full control over this to make sure you always have enough mileage left in the battery pack to get you back home.
This could easily be enabled and disabled through an app; it’s almost like this new norm that we’ve come to expect from today’s technologies where your phone makes everything easily accessible.
Virtual Power Plants
The entire system is managed by Tesla’s Auto Meter software and is already any use in South Australia by the foreign sale battery and a VPP.
What is VPP? VPP is a virtual power plant that manages the power usage across the grid and supplies power to where it’s needed during peak hours by accessing virtual power plants.
That can be spread across communities and cities to access energy storage systems, such as power walls and Tesla vehicles. These could permanently replace peaker plants once there are enough renewables and batteries available for VPP.
As it’s written on their website quote, “Auto Meter has hundreds of megawatt-hours of assets under management that have supplied gigawatt-hours of grid services globally.
Autobidder operates at every scale: from aggregations of behind the meter residential systems to 100-megawatt utility-scale installations.
With seamless integration between hardware and software, Auto Meter can be trusted to capture revenues immediately after project energization and 24/7 in dynamic environments.”
The most significant advantage of this system relies on our ability to capture and store energy, unlike the traditional power plants that produce energy but cannot store it for later use.
Because the world has been transitioning more toward renewables, such as wind and solar, it’s already massively helping the grid during the day and bringing down the cost of electricity tremendously.
There has been one piece missing from this entire puzzle, energy storage, and Tesla has solved it.
There’s so much energy coming from the Sun that if we were able to capture all of the Sun’s energy hitting the entire earth, even just one second, it could power the entire United States for one year.
Even if we can capture a small portion of that energy when the Sun is up during the day, and store that energy for later use, we can solve the energy crisis almost instantly, making electricity cheaper and available to everyone.
As we build more solar farms and wind farms and swapped from traditional rooftops, to solar roofs, we are slowly transitioning to a more sustainable future.
The auto bidder would tap into every source of stored energy whenever and wherever it is available and make traditional power plants almost obsolete.
If every house had a solar roof, and every rooftop, such as parking lots, skyscrapers, etc. Has solar power on their roof in a sound battery storage system, this would be the case.
The journey to get there might take some time, but I don’t see why we couldn’t do it.
With solar panels becoming cheaper and more efficient, and the same with batteries, this seems much more like a possibility today than it was less than ten years ago.
To drive my point home and connect the remaining dots, let’s take a look at how Tesla is approaching to enter the utility market.
Tesla has applied for a utility license in the UK, and because of what they have created, the long-lasting batteries, the energy storage systems,vehicle-to-grid charging.
And now the software they wouldn’t just be a part of a utility solution, they would be a power utility.
Because the energy sector could be much bigger and more profitable for Tesla, it would make sense for them to consider leasing out their batteries. Let’s take the Model 3 as an example.
Today the Model 3 costs about $39,000. Tesla could lease the battery pack to you and install the V2G charger in your home for free, and you could buy the model three for just $29,000.
Yes, you will save a lot of money upfront, but the catch is Tesla would most likely require you to have your car plugged into a V2G charger for several hours every day, and all the profit would go to Tesla.
To some people, this might be fine because they’re getting a brand new Model 3 for a lower price than having to buy it with the battery pack.
Not everyone cares about making money with their car, so this solution could be a win-win for both the buyer and Tesla.
This way, Tesla could have more cars on the roads and make money from V2G and a VPP and thus accelerating the world toward a more sustainable future.
Whenever you need to place the batter, Teala would do it for you at no cost, and then just recycle the old one.
Tesla vehicle-to-grid will allow cars and power walls to distribute energy back to the grid, allowing you to save and make money while you do nothing.
Or you could save money when buying a Tesla vehicle by leasing out the battery, either way, you as a Tesla customer will win, and the environment would also see positive results
As Tesla ramps up its production and more people buy Tesla vehicles, peaker power plants will begin to shut down, and renewables will have tons of new storage roaming the streets. Can you see the big picture now?
Tesla’s lead in the battery market is becoming so big that they’re winning in every sector, unless someone traces and repeats Tesla’s footsteps.