Phillip Schröder, Tesla’s Country Director for Germany and Austria, has resigned from his position at Tesla to return to his former employer, Sonnenbatterie, as Head of Operations and Marketing. The move is effective from October 1, 2015.
Sonnenbatterie is a German market leader in lithium-ion energy storage systems. The company employs over 100 staff, and was established in 2010. As a key European player, the company has sold over 4,000 large-scale storage systems in Europe.
Schröder has a been a significant part of Tesla’s European operations since his appointment as Country Director in February 2014. In the role, he was responsible for sales revenue development and expansion planning for Tesla Motors in the region.
He leaves his Tesla position having seen regional registrations for the Model S surpass those of the BMW 7 Series and Porsche Panamera for the first time in March 2015.
The first quarter 2015 saw 373 Model S electric sedans sold in Austria and Germany (294). Those sales represent a sharp rise compared to 183 registrations in Germany in 2013. As of June 2015, Germany has over 1,700 Model S registrations.
In addition, Schröder supported Tesla’s recruitment of staff, and fostered growth of customer support services including all important Tesla charging stations. On this front, the rapid rise in Tesla charging stations in the region over recent years has undoubtedly aided sales in the two countries — Superchargers now provide widespread coverage for Germany and Austria via 45 and 7 stations, respectively.
The move back to Sonnenbatterie is not without a hint of irony. Since Schröder’s departure, Tesla itself has moved into the battery and energy storage industry after introduction of Tesla Energy, which unveiled the Powerwall and Powerpack storage systems in April this year and consequently stands as a direct competitor to Sonnenbatterie.
Schröder’s return to Sonnenbatterie, where he was previously Director of Sales & Business Development, will likely have a significant impact on the company’s recent endeavors to expand their field of operations into the US storage market.
Prominent amongst the Sonnenbatterie’s product portfolio is a software platform to integrate solar panels, lithium-ion batteries and home energy management systems into an ‘intelligent’ system. These systems, which were developed in-house, range in price from around $13,000 for a 4.5-kilowatt-hour storage system to about $21,000 for a 10-kilowatt-hour system. Sonnenbatterie also offer modular systems up to 60 kWh.
Here’s a video of Schröder speaking at ECO14 Berlin: