3 Home Battery Startups Competing with Tesla’s Powerwall
In a previous article, we wrote about the Tesla “Powerwall” battery, a rechargeable lithium-ion battery in 7kWh and 10kWh configurations that can be installed in your home to store electricity generated from solar panels, or when utility rates are low. Tesla has prioritized Australia as the first market to enter, and they’ll soon need to compete with Panasonic which has announced that they will begin selling a 2kWh home battery in New Zealand later this year. Samsung SDI recently unveiled two residential energy storage systems, 5.5kWh and 8.0kWh, at Intersolar Europe 2015. Mercedes was also at the same fair, at which they announced their 2.5kWh home battery pack which can be stacked up to 8 high. While these are the larger players in the market, there are some startups looking to enter the home battery market. Here are three such companies.
Founded in 2012, British startup Powervault has raised a total of $1.8 million USD so far in crowdfunding and grants. Their most recent crowdfunding round raised over $1 million in just 4 days. The Powervault is a battery which is not overly focused on aesthetics. Compared to a Tesla Powerwall at 220 lbs, the Powervault home battery weighs a whopping 379 lbs and is apparently the size of a dishwasher:
Powervault is partnering with solar PV companies and is said to be already closing sales of these massive lead-acid battery systems in two configurations of 2kWh and 4 kWh with an installed price of $3,073 to $4,302. The Company is also said to be working on a lithium-ion version of their home battery which hopefully will weight significantly less.
Orison wants to be the “the Nest of the energy industry”. The Orison home batteries are described as lightweight, affordable, and extremely easy to install. The battery, which weighs just 40 lbs, can be simply plugged into your existing wall outlet, and it works. The batteries will come in the below two configurations:
Both units come with inverters and are already built. The Orison Panel is priced at $1,600 and the Orison Tower is priced at $1,950. Orison plans to launch a Kickstarter event soon which will allow you to plunk down money upfront to get your hands on one of these batteries. As we’ve written before about crowdfunding, great ideas are easy to come by, but the ability of a company to execute and produce a product to spec is not a given. Even with a fully-funded Kickstarter campaign, nothing will guarantee the product is brought to market as planned. You can sign up on their website if you want to be notified when the funding campaign kicks off.
Recently said to have “emerged from stealth mode”, this is in fact just appears to be a re-branding exercise. The Company’s previous name was OES (Optimized Energy Storage) and they have been building Lithium Ferrous Phosphate (LFP) batteries since 2002. They started out providing battery solutions for filming movies and then moved on to selling batteries for government and industry applications. Here’s a look at the before and after of their emergence from stealth:
Click here for the full spec sheet on their home battery. While the new website doesn’t contain much information, there is plenty of information about “Simpliphi” and all their products which can be found on the old website.
With Orison and Powervault seeking their funding through crowdfunding platforms, it seems like they have a great deal of ramping up to do before being able to deliver units at a meaningful scale. The “Simpliphi”‘ re-branding exercise has certainly raised awareness but now they need to show that they can sell their batteries to homeowners. While all of these companies are positioning to challenge Tesla, they don’t seem to pose much of a threat. It would be great to see some institutional money invest in any one of these companies as that would help validate their value proposition and give some glimmer of hope for an eventual IPO exit.
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