A few weeks ago, Tesla Motors launched “Tesla Energy” by unveiling a new product series of home battery packs and energy storage products for commercial and utility scale use. JB Straubel, Tesla’s CTO, said Tesla has been working on the project for a long time. We now learn that the project might have been longer in the making than we originally thought. We uncover a blog post by former Tesla CEO, Martin Eberhard, dating May 22nd, 2007 that was removed from Tesla’s website. The post is titled “Introducing Tesla Energy Group”.
It’s not clear at which point the post has been removed from Tesla’s website. We have uncovered a version from the “Wayback Machine” from 2009 and in the next capture of the url in 2013, the post is gone.
In the post, Tesla’s former CEO goes in details about the motivation behind the new venture with context at the company in 2007.
Eberhard explains the goal of the new Tesla division:
Tesla Energy Group is a group within Tesla Motors, Inc. created to allow us to design and sell Energy Storage Systems (ESSes) to other companies.
Eberhard explains that the idea originated from cell manufacturers referring Tesla when they were asked about energy storage systems. Especially interest from the manufacturer of the now defunct “TH!NK car“.
Bernard Tse, a member of Tesla board of directors at the time, resigned from the board to lead the Tesla Energy Group. Unfortunately, not everything was going well at Tesla in 2007-2008 and Eberhard was replaced as CEO, then left Tesla not long after. The company killed the project to focus their limited resources on the Roadster that had yet to start production.
Tse also left Tesla not long after and founded Atieva to develop and sell battery packs to car manufacturers. Atieva has since changed its focus and is expected to announce an electric car soon.
You can read to full blog post introducing the “Tesla Energy Group” here.