LG Chem Trying To Steal Tesla’s Home Battery Storage Thunder?

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Branding is one thing Tesla has absolutely nailed. Well, one of many things. This week (or month) provided a rather obvious example of that for me. But first, a little background:

Top EV Battery ManufacturersAs I think anyone who follows Tesla rather closely knows, Panasonic is Tesla’s big battery partner. That makes it the top EV battery manufacturer in the world (in terms of 2014 output). AESC, majority owned by Nissan, is #2, providing batteries for the world’s top-selling electric car (the Nissan LEAF). #3 is LG Chem, which provides batteries for electric vehicles produced by General Motors (GM), Renault (which produces popular EV models for the European market), Ford, Volkswagen, Kia, Hyundai, Audi, and now Daimler (which was previously getting its batteries from Tesla/Panasonic). Obviously, LG Chem provides quite a competitive battery.

On to this month: As everyone in the universe knows (or so it seems), Elon Musk announced less than a month ago that Tesla would be announcing a “Major new Tesla product line” on April 30. It was rather obvious this would be a line of battery storage products, and that has recently been confirmed.

Interestingly, Eguana Technologies (which provides power control and conversion solutions for distributed energy storage systems) and LG Chem just announced a residential energy storage system for North America (3 days ago, on Earth Day). The “AC Battery” could also be used by commercial and industrial consumers, the companies note. So, basically, this is a direct competitor to what Tesla is about to announce.

Perhaps the timing is coincidence. Of course, Eguana and LG Chem must have been working on this deal for awhile, and Earth Day certainly seems like a good time to launch such a product. Still, though, I do wonder if they didn’t speed up their product launch in order to try to steal some thunder from Tesla’s announcement. The product won’t actually be available until the summer, according to the press release.


In the end, though, what we’re seeing is that Tesla holds a big advantage in terms of branding. There’s speculation running across the tech, investment, and green web about Tesla’s upcoming announcement, as well as on TV media. I’ve only seen the Eguana and LG Chem news on one site, Green Car Congress (which is pretty obsessive about nabbing press releases at all related to the green car market).

The big question is, “How will LG Chem’s and Tesla’s products compare?” That’s going to be hard to say without getting a lot more information from LG Chem (and Tesla, of course). But here are some of the initial details, via Green Car Congress:

  • Basic capacity = 6.4 kWh.
  • “The Eguana power control system manages system power flow and handles the core power conversion functions—AC→DC and DC→AC—as well as connectivity with power grid. It also hosts the consumer gateway and battery management system.”
  • “The AC Battery is pre-integrated and fully certified, and requires only a grid connection and a dispatch signal to provide a fully functional and durable energy storage installation to the consumer. The AC Battery provides flexibility for system aggregators which want to deploy it as part of new solar storage installations or as a retrofit to solar PV installations already in place.”

“The AC Battery can be used to store electricity from solar and use it during evening hours, or can be used by fleet aggregators to provide utility grid management services including voltage control, frequency regulation, demand response and load balancing,” Eguana and LG Chem write.

LG Chem Senior Vice President Sunghoon Jang also notes, “We are going to strengthen the partnership with Eguana and put our best effort to stand up as the No.1 battery maker in the North American ESS market.” No small aim, and very clearly in competition with Tesla (and many others).

Obviously, we’re going to have to see prices in order to compare the products, as well as battery lifetime expectations and other details. Anyone want to take the lead on that once Tesla and LG Chem announce more details?

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53 thoughts on “LG Chem Trying To Steal Tesla’s Home Battery Storage Thunder?

  • This is great news. An industry is always healthier when you have a competition.
    I’m looking forward to see how much it will cost!

  • “Tesla holds a big advantage in terms of branding.” Quite. What it doesn’t have is a lock on the technology. There is no one key patent generating a monopoly. There are alternative technological pathways to achieve a given result. This is good news.

    • Definitely.

      And I think it’s good that the media is obsessed with Tesla, just hoping it starts to give a little more attention to the competitors in this important space. 🙂

  • For sure a case of “the more the merrier”.

  • How do those systems compare: As in do they all use the same battery type ( chemistry)?
    Also interesting information LG chem is the provider for 8 companies, bur produce only about half as for the top selling EV (LEAF).
    Now can LG Chem ramp up production when sales take off?

    • Stop with the hype! this is ridiculous how people like yourself can be sucked in through hyper banding. Its a lithium battery !!!!!!!! with a pretty package

      • There are many variations of “Li-Ion” batteries chemistry wise. Seeing the difference in what LG Chem produces for this product could give insight into the next gen EV’s from non-Tesla offerings from GM and several other car manufacturers that have battery agreements with them rather than Panasonic.

      • Thank you blink. All of this storage hype is a non event. I’ve had a storage system running in my garage. protecting my critical loads since 1999. All this hype is like getting excited about the release of Compact Disks in 2015. Been there done that. It’s yesterday’s news.

      • Li-Ion may be far from perfect but they are already good enough for most cases. And they are getting better (and most importantly cheaper) by the minute. So please stop with the FUD. What do you want to accomplish with that anyways?

  • The market is so HUGE, Tesla could have 10 other competitors and still be a massive success in the field.
    And only it has a GigaFactory.

    • Stop drinking the kool aide. Its a lithium battery in a package. You are going to end up paying for the name and nothing more, there is other technology that will come in cheaper and perform better, but there you go. American’s are easy

      • Easy and gullible. Some guy just launched a video on youtube bragging about how his home still had some lights on during a power outage because he had a battery pack installed. I’d be embarrassed ! Where has he been living, under a rock ? Grid tie battery backup systems are old news. Yesteryears technology.

        • What is really sad is someone criticizing another’s happiness in an attempt to make themselves look smart or sophisticated. Or complaining about a product that they quite obviously has never tried because it isn’t even being sold yet.
          Add something to the conversation,, suggest a product that is provable less expensive or easier to use, then you will get the respect that is so desperately desired.

  • Battery manufacturers should be forced by law to label the cycle life and price per kwh and lifespan. It is comparable to car manufacturers with GPM. Or appliances with their kwh/year labels. LED bulbs lumens per watt, thousands of hours lifespan etc. Batteries are still secretive and arcane, come out into the sunshine!

    • why, its simple math. You’ve got no business ptuting one of these in if you don’t understand how it works and what the numbers mean

      • If it is simple math then no reason not to put it on the label. Lots of people can not do even simple math and yet they use electricity, so for their sake everything needs to be dead straightforward. There is liable to be a lot of snake oil for sale soon with battery storage so some consumer protection has to take place before the avalanche begins.

      • Why all of the negativity? Yes of course it is fairly simple math to work out once LG Chem or Tesla provide some numbers on these products, but they aren’t available yet. And what would be wrong with a verification/certification system similar to what is provided for cars or home appliances?
        Yes you think that flow batteries are going to be less expensive, but can you provide me a link where it is possible to buy one for a small residential or offgrid system in the US. When I last tried they were still wanting to sell the systems based on avoided costs and not providing to many specifics as to actual per Kwh price.

      • Different batteries have different chemistries that have different characteristics. Stop hate trolling and learn some facts

      • It’s not simple math if you haven’t tested the battery. There’s huge variation in how different lithium-ion batteries perform and their costs.

      • Consumers don’t understand “simple math”. If you want your batteries to be a widely accepted commodity don’t make that a requirement.

      • Yes I agree too, but then just like C02 emission for production on electronic, led lamps PV’s need labelling too, no one willing to take that step forward, consumers would prefer to know these thing then guessing. Manufactures are just not ready to make that move.

  • EGT is also supplying Sonnenbatterie, which has the most installed, proven, and technically advanced system to date (optimization of self consumption/sales in accordance to weather forecast and usage patterns. Sonnenbatterie just released a new version of its low-cost Eco system which is rated for a nearly 30 year lifespan, and has full depth of discharge due to a cooperation with Sony for the LiFePo they use.

    …so EGT has multiple cooperations with storage manufacturers, and in their last quarterly update stated that there are around a dozen other storage startups intending to implement their system.

    As EGT just released a UL-certified 5kw community-scale inverter and tesla has also made it clear that they intend to do so, I also suspect that Tesla might announce them as a supplier.

    In short, I think standing behind the commoditization of storage technologies with a proprietary inverter tech. might prove to be the winning strategy in this, in terms of company success. I think EGT will soon become much better known, and accumulate a great deal in share price.

    Note: I do own a considerable stake in that company, though the above is all public information.

    • Yes, that is a fascinating battery by Sony. They claim 6000 cycles to 100% degree of discharge. (In other claims they say 8000 cycles to 100% Dod with 70% remaining) And, I quote: “Over 90% capacity expected after 10 years” regarding lifespan parameters. In small print also: “The data after one year is based on simulation”.
      Well, there you have it. Price, is $13,000 for 10.8 kwh battery all inclusive of battery management charger and inverter. This suggests over 20 years lifespan. And they claim it is very, very, Germanically, safe!
      If we do the math at 8000 cycles of 10.8 kwh at $13,000 we get about 15cents kwh. Pretty good. About what top quality flooded lead acid batteries cost per kwh ( without including the inverter, by the way!) Now what I want to see is that Sonnenbatterie for $6000 not $13000 (7cents kwh) And I want a 20 year warranty, not just vague promises of “simulated” lifespans!

      • Tom, I just checked out the Sonnenbatterie site and I have to say someone at Cleantechnica needs to do an article on this battery!! It claims 10,000 cycles, 100% Depth of discharge. 10 year warranty. Complete elegantly engineered package and more than 20 year life expectancy. Range from 4 kwh to 16kwh. There is a bit of confusion around the price. They say the 5000 cycle model which preceded this one cost 18cents kwh but this new battery costs the same but has 10,000 cycles….my guess at what they mean is it costs 9cents kwh. If so, I’m in!
        Spectacular, they have sold 4000 units already and will market in the UK in 2016. What about North America? This would be very difficult to compete with even by Tesla.

        • Here’s another one from Germany that I heard about on BBC radio a few weeks back . . .


          Sorry in advance if the inclusion of this one also ruffles the feathers of experts that have been doing it on their own for the past decade and a half! People were converting old gasoline cars to electric for decades before you could buy an OEM EV. I don’t remember seeing all that many EV DIY types getting annoyed about that fact back in 2011.

          • Thank you for another source, but I think you might be mistaken about whose feathers might get ruffled. Those of us actually doing offgrid are always happy to learn something new even if it doesn’t apply to our situation right away. It’s those that are trying to play up how hard it is, or how expensive in support of a business model that get bothered.

          • Yes, I’m sure. But I was surprised to read comments of a few posters here who characterized the story as old hat and anyone marketing a product like this as basically reinventing the wheel. A battery backup for grid-tied solar PV is certainly not new. It’s the compactness of the lithium cells and a turn key offering of a complete product that puts a new twist on things. I think it’s great news, actually.

          • Wow, that battery sells on looks alone. We usually think about these batteries as utilitarian things to be hidden, but this one is nicer than a high end refrigerator, which by the way is another kind of storage battery which we display proudly. These are small German companies doing gorgeous design and ingenious electrical engineering, let the floodgates open.

        • Yes, 10K cycles at 100% DoD.

          EGT is also supplying their inverters to system integrators (eg. Hawaii deal), effectively staying above the fray in case a new, disruptive storage tech. comes along. Interestingly, some Sonnenbatterie execs have been hired off by Tesla. Not a peep on collaboration, but EGT also has others also jumping for its inverters.

        • Per kwh over the rated lifespan of the battery – not storage capacity. Lifespan x2/same price=half price For a thing intended to sit in your basement for 25-28 years saving you from purchasing electricity, thats the feature that matters, as well as intelligent software, UI, and footprint.

          • Excellent video. Germany is so far ahead of our crude storage devices. One interesting point: 20 year warranty!!! That is the longest warranty I have ever heard of for lithium batteries. That just settles a lot of arguments right there. Apparently Sonnen battery is in the U.S. now. Bring it out soon before Tesla drowns you.

    • Thanks for the context. I’d never run across this company (from what I remember), but I figured it was good if LG Chem is teaming up with it.

    • That a big statement to make 30 years, I very much doubt it, a lot of talk on battery life and DOD and I put it down to prediction of life expectancy and lost in translation.
      When the corporation comes forth and proven the 30 years life expectancy than I believe it, until then I doubt that information is credible.

      • 10 year warranty, which, I imagine will be the same as the Tesla unit. Bosch has a 15 year warranty. But you are right. Simulated lifespan estimates are not reliable.

  • “LG Chem Trying To Steal Tesla”

    LG Chem isn’t stealing anything.
    LG Chem has been manufacturing batteries for some time.

    “AUG 2013. Completed expansion of polymer battery(10,000,000cells/month) plant in Nanjing, China “

    “AOR 2002. Completed expansion of the Cheongju plant, doubling the capacity of rechargeable batteries with KRW 100 billion investment”

    “OCT 1999. Completed construction of IT & electronic materials (lithium-ion batteries, optical materials, and MBL negatives) plant”


    • “Steal Its Thunder” (an idiom that maybe I shouldn’t have used with our international readership)

      I know LG Chem is a leader in this space — tried to make that clear at the beginning. But the timing of this announcement, especially considering the product isn’t available till the summer and no price was announced, is… interesting.

  • They have no thunder. Lower cost grid tie battery back systems consist of off the shelf technology with virtually no barriers to entry. Every Chuck in a truck contractor in the U.S. will be offering these systems soon.

    • Good idea, now we need is a kick starter company that supplies parts, plans, and software for an open source home power storage.
      I’m have Kowalski, Rico, and Private get cracking on it.

    • All the more reason that they get treated like any other home appliance and get an energy star rating then. Right?

    • We currently have small contractors building energy storage systems for off grid use here in Australia and a large drawback are the very short warranties these systems have. The reason why the warranties on these systems are so poor is because the people who put them together have no real control over how the batteries and other components will be treated. But when home energy storage comes as a sealed integrated system that will only operate in a way that maximises battery life, then the manufacturers will be able to offer much better warranties as they will be able to control how it is used.

      • Warranties most likely the least of the problem never had an issue with deep cycle, the US has a very low cost production line of lead acid battery per capita in the world, yet only 6 percent in a recent survey found battery storage and efficiency were tied for acceptance, with 7 percent of respondents saying they would buy battery backup in the coming year, but I doubt it.
        If you look closer at the US market you find that US people aren’t flocking to battery storage in the next decade there might be 0.1 percent up take of that 7 percent survey, in fact it only the off grid market that driving down the price.

        Battery exported to Australia cost 3-4 time the price of that in the US, and you think that the US people would be racing for storage but the aren’t doing it, for the Australian point of view cost of energy is high, but storage cost is also high, so the economic aren’t play apart into the battery market, even when the AUS-Dollar was trading higher then the US, the battery storage market didn’t take off, even battery price remained fixed in the Australian market, while US battery cost drop.

      • These small beautifully engineered lifepo4 units should arrive in Australia soon because shipping costs are small compared to weighty lead acid. As well, no middle men fiddling with inverters etc. Basically these units are plug and play with 10-15 year warranties. A price drop of 25% would be welcome though.

  • Thanks for the PDF, but it is still the same thing that I was running into a couple of years ago. Comparisons to diesel generation (which I don’t need because my solar and wind are fairly well balanced already) and no statement of costs. And as you said we will be offering them very soon, much the same as we are hearing from Tesla or LG Chem at the moment. When you can provide some actual details and not just hype about the product that you have decided to promote please let me know.

  • The bigger story is job creation. The joint Tesla/ Panasonic Gigafactory will use materials mined by US workers, processed in US centers and assembled in the largest single battery factory in the world by US workers. The supply chain feeding this in Nevada alone could equal 15 to 20,000.

    LG cannot claim any of that. If we are so excited about the development of stationary storage and edge of the grid capacity try pushing for these companies to build factories here in the US instead of China. Shipping and transporting cells from Asia is one of the major cost factors that aren’t coming down and are subject to delays should there be any further port issues.

    Make these companies put some local skin in the game.

  • Juicebox made an announcement last week on their 8.6kwh storage system. Juiceboxsolar.com. No price to be found but there is a really good spec sheet that notes that the batteries are from S Korea.

    • Yes, Juicebox was on Cleantechnica and was duly noted, last week, I think. It was probably announced in an attempt to get a little name recognition before Tesla overwhelms the market. It is going to difficult to compete for smaller companies. Maybe Sony can pull it off with their high quality lithium.
      We are still waiting for a competive Vanadium or Imergy battery to step in to the residential market. They have tremendous possibilities but their prices are still in the $1000 kwh. Despite their enormous cycle life there is still some maintenance issues etc. But good healthy competition will benefit us all.

  • I hope is will be able to buy in Canada soon

  • im installing LG Chem here in Australia and they are simply awesome. Telsa is just hype. Im shorting them on the stock market.

    • Short away. Someone’s going to make some money.

      (Odds are it won’t be you….)

      • Already done!

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