Tesla Motors CTO JB Straubel talked about the company’s vision of using clean energy storage options to bring a paradigm shift in transportation and everyday living. On Monday, speaking at a solar conference in San Francisco, Straubel noted that with more clean energy storage options, we will soon a witness a transition.
Battery prices still very high
Energy companies across the world are looking to innovate and enhance capacity with the intention of increasing supply and reducing costs through economies of scale. Thus, over the past decade, overall production costs of lithium-ion batteries have come down. Straubel believes battery costs will come down substantially compared to current cost levels, which are still high.
According to Straubel, a transition in every sense will be visible when vehicles running on batteries are cheaper than the gasoline guzzling ones. Similarly, when a combination of solar panels and batteries costs less for households and businesses compared to direct electricity from the grid, the transition will be evident. The Tesla executive stated that it could take around 10 years to achieve this.
As of now, gasoline prices are very low due to increased supply from oil producing nations. However, energy experts believe the price of oil will rebound and surge higher going forward. If gasoline prices rise and battery costs comes down, electric vehicle demand will rise substantially in the future. At present it is less than 1% of the entire American auto industry.
Tesla leading the change
Straubel stated that Tesla is leading this transformation and has become one of the world’s largest buyers of lithium-ion batteries. The executive stated that at present, the EV manufacturer buys around three to four gigawatt hours (GWh) worth of batteries each year and believes the internal demand of the company could grow to 35 GWh by the end of the current decade.
Tesla is looking to increase sales volumes for its electric vehicles, aiming at half a million every year by 2020, and this will require a huge amount of stored energy globally. There are around 60,000 Tesla vehicles on the road as of now, according to Straubel, but the company already boasts 5GWh of batteries connected to the national grid. This totals to more battery storage compared to all stationary storage applications currently used in households and businesses.