The Powerwall does have its detractors, with one commentary piece in Forbes
calling it “just another toy for rich green people.” And when considering cost alone, an analysis showed the Powerwall isn’t competitive with a gas generator.
But Tesla, which announced the new battery in April, has already received pre-orders worth over $800 million for the Powerwall and Powerpack, the 100-kwh version capable of stacking together to power utility-scale installations.
Before electric cars started gaining traction five years ago, lithium-ion batteries were good primarily for powering laptops and cell phones for a few hours. By plugging them into cars and squeezing nearly 300 miles out of a single charge, Tesla helped drive battery technology, and a reluctant auto industry, forward. Now Musk is betting on a solar energy future in which we can keep our lights on long after our rooftops have gone dark.