Tesla Energy Vice President Mateo Jaramillo and Chief Sales & Marketing Officer of Sonnen Philipp Schröder had an interesting talk onstage at the U.S. Energy Storage Summit recently. Schröder was an executive at the electric car maker until late 2015. The two companies have been battling in the energy storage space.
Why Sonnen’s batteries are more expensive than Tesla
Sonnen, also called sonnenBatterie, has been able to poach many Tesla managers over the last year since the German company hired Schröder, who was Tesla’s head in Germany at the time. In addition, Sonnen announced the appointment of Blake Richetta last week. Richetta, who is the former North American sales manager for Tesla Energy, will be Sonnen’s new VP of sales in the U.S., says Electrek.
Earlier this year, the energy startup announced an $85 million round of financing to support an expansion in the United States. In the residential energy storage market, the German company is directly competing with Tesla’s Powerwall 2. Sonnen’s own product, the sonnenBatterie Eco Compact, is about three times more expensive than the Powerwall 2.
Sonnen has sold more than 15,000 lithium-ion storage batteries to businesses and homes, mostly in Germany. During the summit, Schröder addressed Tesla’s price advantage, saying that their company is focused on getting more value out of its home battery packs via more revenue streams.
Similar products but divergent strategies
Further, Schröder underlined the fact that the energy startup is “battery cell agnostic” and is ready to work with any company having the best tech available. Sonnen is very confident in its software systems, which assist consumers in managing business and home energy use. Schroder said as the market for solar rooftop grows, people will not make money by selling power, but they will make money by managing power.
Jaramillo, however, emphasized the more energy storage, the better it will be for renewable energy. He compared it to the production of lettuce and how cold storage aided the industry, notes Electrek. Jaramillo said the EV firm is working with regulators and utilities to accelerate deployment and expand the market.
Tesla is envisioning a large network of retail stores where consumers can shop for a battery, a solar roof and an electric car. The EV firm is making batteries at a large factory in Nevada, but Sonnen will buy them from suppliers. Both companies see a large market ahead.
“We don’t care where the battery is coming from, from Panasonic or anyone else,” said Schroder.