Remember that $5 billion Tesla "gigafactory" that states in the Southwest were fighting over last year? Turns out CEO Elon Musk has plans for Tesla's lithium-ion production that go far beyond electric cars.
Musk said in the company's fourth-quarter earnings call that Tesla plans to start producing a home battery as soon as six months from now, Quartz reported. Tesla's new plant in Nevada will purportedly cut the company's overall battery costs for its electric cars by a third.
"We're going to unveil the Tesla home battery, or the sort of consumer battery that will be for use in people's houses or businesses, fairly soon," Musk said. "We have the design done, and it should start going to production, probably in about six months, or so. We're trying to figure out a date to have the product unveiling, but it's probably in the next month or two months. And it's really great; I'm really excited about it."
Tesla home batteries would theoretically allow consumers to collect energy from a solar panel and store it, giving them energy reserves for days without sunshine. While the potential effects of Tesla's batteries have inspired a lot of hype, consumer batteries are unlikely to replace the current power grid any time soon.
The automaker has actually been in talks with utility companies for advice on its upcoming home battery.
"There's a lot of interest, and a lot of utilities working in this space, and we're talking to almost all of them," Tesla chief technology officer JB Straubel said during the earnings call, as quoted by Quartz.
Besides Tesla's chumminess with utilities, it's just too soon to consider whether or not Tesla batteries will replace the grid. After all, this is the company that has taken its sweet time with the Model X sport-utility vehicle originally slated for release in late 2013.