Almost every automaker working on electric cars is also currently looking at ways to leverage their battery technology development into other products. It started with Tesla’s launch of ‘Tesla Energy’ in 2015 and now BMW, Renault, Nissan, and several others have also launched similar products or even new energy divisions.
Daimler also launched its ‘Mercedes-Benz Energy’ subsidiary last year with a home battery pack to compete with Tesla’s Powerwall, but they are now killing the program.
Home Solar Power
At the time, Mercedes-Benz had taken a very similar approach to Tesla.
They partnered with Vivint, Tesla Energy’s biggest competitor in the residential solar market in the US, in order to deploy its energy storage system.
Tesla has been selling its battery packs independently since launching Tesla Energy in 2015, but it has focused on deployment through its own solar installations since its acquisition of SolarCity.
The company had been selling to other solar installers, but those companies had to find other alternatives since they would be helping the competition by buying from Tesla.
For example, Sunrun was carrying the Powerwall, but they switched to LG Chem after the SolarCity acquisition.
Vivint went with Mercedes, which was marketing its product like the Powerwall. Even its marketing images looked oddly similar to Tesla’s own advertising for solar and batteries:
But now a year later, Mercedes-Benz confirmed that they are killing the project.
A spokesperson told GTM that their product was too expensive for the market because it was overengineered to be a vehicle battery pack and not a stationary home battery pack:
It’s not necessary to have a car battery at home: they don’t move, they don’t freeze. It’s overdesigned.
It’s true that Mercedes’ battery solution was on the expensive side of the market.
Mercedes’ battery system is modular and offers from 2.5 kWh to 20 kWh in energy capacity. Vivint said that pricing ranged from about $5,000 to $13,000 after installation.
In comparison, Tesla’s Powerwall 2 starts at about $7,500 installed, but it’s for 14 kWh. It can also be stacked for higher energy capacity.
Tesla also leveraged a lot of its vehicle battery pack technology to create the Powerwall at the pack level, but the company also tuned it for stationary use – including the use of different battery cells.
Mercedes-Benz says that the team that was working on the energy storage division in the US will join other parts of the company’s operations.
The German automaker also had other energy storage projects, like its impressive energy storage facility built using electric Smart car battery packs.