Tesla Energy executive talks ‘next gen inverter’, hints at upcoming Vehicle-to-Grid capacity for Tesla


Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G), the capacity to power your home with your electric car’s battery pack, is something Tesla has been experimenting with for a long time. The Roadster, Tesla’s first vehicle, actually had the capacity to act as a home battery pack.

But the technology wasn’t implemented in Tesla’s second generation vehicles, the Model S and X. Though this week, a Tesla Energy executive hinted at an upcoming Vehicle-to-Grid capacity for Tesla and briefly mentioned Tesla’s next generation inverter.

Ben Hill, former President of Trina Solar and now Tesla Energy Vice President for EMEA, presented at the Inter Solar Middle East conference in Dubai yesterday.

The executive was at the conference to talk about energy storage. Tesla doesn’t have a strong presence in the middle east right now whether it be for its vehicles or for its energy storage division, but the company has been looking to expand in the region since last year.

Hill gave the usual pitch that energy storage systems can offset peak demand with renewable energies, which are becoming increasingly popular in the United Arab Emirates, but interestingly, Hill also mentioned Vehicle-to-Grid – Gulf News reported:

“There is a lot of pilots [programmes] going around the world right now, the ability… [for] battery systems, which are connected to the grid, whether there[sic] in a vehicle or not, that ability is coming very, very soon.”

He reportedly refused to elaborate further.

We previously reported that Tesla has been flirting with the idea of Vehicle-to-Grid with a bi-directional home charging station for a while now. However, recently during Tesla’s Shareholders Meeting earlier this summer and the Gigafactory opening, executives Elon Musk and JB Straubel threw some cold water on the idea saying that it is not a priority.

Of course, Tesla owners can still use third-party inverters – like a 1000W power inverter with AC outlets to draw energy from the battery pack and power appliances in outages or camping/Off grid-type of situations. Just like ICE vehicles, Tesla have a 12V battery system that powers the lights and electronics in the car. The system is powered by a separate 12V deep cycle Lead battery usually found in Marine use cases. The battery is charged from the huge Lithium battery bank (not through an alternator in the case of ICE vehicles) so theoretically it can use the whole 60-100kWh pack though it isn’t clear at what Amperage the vehicle can sustain.  Think Vampire drain on steroids. We published a great how-to post about it on our sister-site 9to5Toys.

Others are pushing the technology. Nissan announced an important trial with 100 V2G units for Nissan LEAF and e-NV200 owners in the UK earlier this year.

During his presentation at the Dubai World trade center, Hill also mentioned Tesla’s upcoming new inverter technology. The new inverter is expected to better integrate Tesla’s energy storage products. He hinted at higher efficiency and customized for utility-scale projects. Currently SolarEdge is the preferred vendor for Tesla’s consumer storage products but the relationship has been strained. SolarEdge has also been late in delivering its next generation HD-Wave Inverters which promise similar reductions in size/cost coupled with greater efficiency.

After Tesla’s second quarter earnings reported last month, CEO Elon Musk said that Tesla was working on the technology ahead of the merger with SolarCity.

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