There’s booming demand for one of the product categories Tesla makes that gets far less focus than its cars. Residential-energy storage has been surging in the U.S., with more capacity installed in the second quarter than in all of last year. Tesla sells its Powerwall to homeowners.
“People [who] really solved the problem, they know exactly how they solved it,” Musk explained. “They know the little details.” These candidates are able to talk in-depth about the struggles that they faced and the strategies they used. Says Musk, great candidates can answer this question on “multiple levels.”
Tesla is among the automakers staying ahead of the trend. While McKinsey projects that battery pack prices will be below $190/kWh by the end of the decade, Tesla claims to be below $190/kWh since early 2016.
That’s how the automaker manages to achieve close to 30% gross margin on its flagship electric sedan, the Model S.
This is the first big project from Tesla and SolarCity since the acquisition. Both companies believe this station is the biggest combination solar panel and storage facility in the world. With approximately 55,000 solar cells spread over about 45 acres, it’ll be tough to find anything larger.
But prices for lithium-ion batteries have fallen fast—by almost half just since 2014. Electric cars are largely responsible, increasing demand and requiring a new scale of manufacturing for the same battery cells used in grid storage. California is mandating that its utilities begin testing batteries by adding more than 1.32 gigawatts by 2020. For context, consider this: In 2016, the global market for storage was less than a gigawatt.
It turns out that, according to the data Tesla gave investigators, installing Autopilot prevents crashes—by an astonishing 40 percent.
In October, the company began shipping new Autopilot hardware with enhanced sensors that it says will eventually enable fully autonomous driving. Every car now ships with eight cameras and a dozen sensors to give 360-degree visibility. The company is rolling out new features that make use of the sensor suite in regular over-the-air updates.