National / International News

Tesla is disrupting more than just the car business

Marketplace - American Public Media - Sat, 2016-02-06 16:01

Tesla Motors is building the world's biggest battery factory just outside of Reno, Nevada. The company is calling it the “gigafactory,” and when it’s up and running in 2016 it’s expected to make Tesla’s electric cars much more affordable. 

“In a single factory we're doubling the worldwide capacity to manufacture lithium-ion batteries,” says J.B. Straubel, Tesla's chief technology officer. 

That's significant enough. But the company also plans to develop batteries for use with solar-power generation – giving Tesla a shot at challenging public utilities as an energy source, Straubel says.

“At the price points that we're expecting to achieve with the gigafactory ... we see a market that is well in excess of the production capability of the factory,” says Straubel.

The market for batteries is an offshoot of the booming business for solar panels, particularly in states such as California, where solar is becoming commonplace.

“We sign up approximately one new customer every minute of the workday," says Will Craven, director of public affairs at California-based SolarCity.

Much of the excess energy harnessed by solar panels is returned to the power grid, Cravens says. This means homeowners and businesses may earn a credit from their power companies, but have no say over when and how that energy is used.

The partnership with SolarCity will use rooftop solar panels fitted with Tesla’s battery packs to allow customers to keep that energy in-house. That means they can use it however, and whenever, they want. The concept puts Tesla in direct competition with utility companies.

“Stationary storage, or backup storage, is really being considered the ‘Holy Grail’ of renewable electricity generation,” says Ben Kallo, an analyst with the Robert W. Baird financial services firm.

Kallo points out that the intermittent nature of renewable energy sources makes them less reliable because the wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine.  But with the ability to store that energy, renewable energy sources can compete head-to-head with utility companies for customers.

“There are still many utilities out there who kind of have their head stuck in the sand and just hope that this goes away. What we're seeing is really building momentum,” Kallo says.

Forward-minded utilities might look at Tesla’s business model as an opportunity, he says.  Energy-storage technology could be used to build capacity in their existing grids, and also build new infrastructure for battery-powered cars and homes.

 

Like 'Dynasty' On Ice: The Nancy Kerrigan And Tonya Harding Museum

NPR News - 1 hour 24 min ago

Why would a couple of comedians build a museum in their hallway dedicated to figure skaters in 1994? Because the story of their rivalry, Kerrigan's attack and the media frenzy is just so American.

» E-Mail This

Congo Monkey Spotted Decades After Species' Alleged Demise

NPR News - 2 hours 27 min ago

Bouvier's red colobus monkey — thought to have disappeared for good from the forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo sometime in the 1970s — has been photographed by two researchers.

» E-Mail This

How Sherwood made heroes of Villans

BBC - 2 hours 41 min ago
Accused of being more style than substance, Tim Sherwood has fumigated the air at Aston Villa and revitalised his players.

Migrant deaths renew pressure on EU

BBC - 3 hours 7 min ago
Italy's PM leads calls for more EU action on migrants after the latest boat capsize in the Mediterranean leaves hundreds feared dead.

Livingstone smashes world record 350

BBC - 4 hours 12 min ago
All-rounder Liam Livingstone hits a world record 350 from just 138 balls for Nantwich in a National Club Championship match against Caldy.

VIDEO: Missing family 'bound for Syria'

BBC - 4 hours 48 min ago
A family of six who have been reported missing may be travelling to a part of Syria controlled by Islamic State militants, police have said.

Wiz Khalifa tops UK singles chart

BBC - 4 hours 57 min ago
US rapper Wiz Khalifa tops the UK singles chart with his track See You Again, which features on the Fast & Furious 7 soundtrack.

VIDEO: Italian PM condemns 'new slave trade'

BBC - 5 hours 17 min ago
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi says the trafficking of migrants across the Med amounts to "a new slave trade".

UKIP accuses PM over migrant deaths

BBC - 5 hours 27 min ago
David Cameron's bombing of Libya has "directly caused" migrant disasters in the Mediterranean Sea, UKIP leader Nigel Farage says.

VIDEO: Hundreds join S Africa peace march

BBC - 5 hours 27 min ago
A march in protest at violence against immigrants from other African nations is held in South Africa.

Newcastle United 1-3 Tottenham Hotspur

BBC - 5 hours 46 min ago
Harry Kane's 30th goal of the season helps Tottenham's Europa League qualification chances as they win at Newcastle.

VIDEO: Police release CCTV footage of Peter Fox

BBC - 5 hours 51 min ago
Police have released CCTV footage of Peter Fox, the man they want to speak to in connection with the murders of his mother and sister in Bootle, Merseyside.

Hamilton cruises to Bahrain win

BBC - 6 hours 1 min ago
Lewis Hamilton takes a controlled win in the Bahrain GP as team-mate Nico Rosberg was beaten for second by Kimi Raikkonen.

Two Decades Later, 168 Victims Of Oklahoma City Attack Are Remembered

NPR News - 6 hours 11 min ago

Former President Bill Clinton and Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin spoke at a ceremony remembering the April 19, 1995 bombing — the deadliest act of domestic terrorism in U.S. history.

» E-Mail This

Toulon 25-20 Leinster (aet)

BBC - 6 hours 16 min ago
Toulon will go for a hat-trick of European titles after Bryan Habana's interception try secures an extra-time win over Leinster.

Thousands 'boycott' Newcastle match

BBC - 6 hours 19 min ago
Thousands of Newcastle fans appear to have boycotted the home game with Tottenham in a protest against owner Mike Ashley.

F1 is too expensive, says Ecclestone

BBC - 7 hours 31 min ago
Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone says the sport is too expensive and claims that it has many problems that need to be resolved.

VIDEO: 'Migrants cross vast stretch of sea'

BBC - 7 hours 31 min ago
Richard Bilton, on a boat south of the Italian island of Lampedusa, explains the scale of the journey that migrants face as they attempt to cross the Mediterranean.

Boy, 15, held in McDonald's incident

BBC - 7 hours 40 min ago
A 15-year-old boy is arrested after a young girl was sexually assaulted at a McDonald's in Carmarthen.

Pages