Tesla’s Schröder Moving Back To Sonnenbatterie

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Tesla’s Schröder Moving Back To SonnenbatteriePhillip 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:

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9 thoughts on “Tesla’s Schröder Moving Back To Sonnenbatterie

  • $21,000 for a 10-kilowatt-hour system is a super pricey system.

    Why don’t GM move into this space? They can have a Battery Storage System with Range Extender. Just use the Volt’s 18 kWh storage system and the range extender, and you have one hell of a super battery storage system that beats out all the other competitions out there right now!!! The Volt retails for $33K, subtract the body of the car, the wheels, the electric motor, the paint job and other bells and whistle. I figured that that would be about $15K just for the batteries and the generator set. And it would provide true power, 115 burst kW plus a sustained 55 kW generator for an extended period of time! Dark cloudy windless days for weeks at a time no problemo! Plus of course, a day or more worth of storage from the 18 kWh battery storage alone.

    GM should really dig into this energy storage business as it will become bigger than the car industry.

    • Why don’t they?

      I suspect because GM is focused on the internal combustion engine. It’s going to be hard for companies that have made their profits from the ICE for decades to open up and start thinking creatively about the replacement technology.

      The Volt was the child of Bob Lutz, not General Motors, Inc. A project pushed by, basically, a single individual who has since moved on.

      Compare that to Tesla who manufactures nothing but electric cars. Totally different perspective.

  • You can buy 30KWh with a new Nissan leaf attached to it for less then then Sonnenbatterier offerings. The niche market and it’s niche market pricing will simply not weather the economy of scale storm that the mass market auto industry is bringing to the table.

    I would bet other car makers and their battery partners will soon start entering the general energy storage market following Tesla’s lead. I think it’s going to be a blood bath for start ups. A lucky few will be bought out by big boys for their patents. I simple do not see any miracle IPO’s out of this sector . The auto industry is simply doing the batteries better then these little startups and when venture capital market realizes this the money is going to stop.

  • Sonnenbatterie must have something in the works that will outperform Tesla’s batteries. Whatever it is will have to reach the market within a few months of whenever Tesla starts delivering. I’m very interested to know in what way it will be competitive. Hopefully it will be useful to off grid consumers instead of industrial sized installations or somehow tied into specialized markets that have strange highly unique tax incentives.

    • It was a 10,000 cycle NMC(same chemistry as 7kWh Powerwall 5,000 cycle).
      Paying for 20-25 year warranty is foolish though as within 5 years they’ll half in price.
      It’d be like buying a 15 year warrantied Cell phone.. Soon outdated and not worth the cost.
      Tesla was right to go with 5,000 cycle 10 year warranties(to 80% capacity) at half the price, batteries which will probly be useful for 15-23 years.
      10 years is a lot of warranty time to the battery world, 20-25 years is eons.

  • I think the prices are out of date. Sonnenbatterie Ceo said in 2015 they have cut their price by 50% and that the larger batteries – 10kwh- will be about $850 kwh. That is $8500 for a 10 kwh pack plus inverter. The sonnenbatteries is 10,000 cycles, double what the Tesla 7 kwh nickel manganese is. So if, (and lets hope they are correct), the figures are correct, per kwh it is about the same as the Tesla. The Tesla 7 kwh is $428 kwh without the inverter and 5000 cycles. Some of those cycles will be less than 100% capacity. The sonnenbatterie is 10,000 cycles at 100%…or so they say.

    • Hey there! Thanks for your comments, and adding to the discussion. I wanted to respond to your comment about the price range I noted for Sonnnenbatterie devices.

      You certainly have a point. There has been talk of lowered prices from Sonnenbatterie, even before Tesla came out with Powerwall and Powerpack in April. The Sonnenbatterie/Sungevity partnership will no doubt be keeping a close eye on Tesla/SolarCity system prices and work accordingly.

      The $13,000 (4.5 kWh) to $21,000 (10 kWh) pricing range was included simply as a historical figure within which the majority of Sonnenbatterie’s units have been sold to date. By no means meant to mislead.

      The article was, after all, not an exploration of pricing wars and/or relative system advantages of Tesla Energy vs. Sonnnenbatterie – this is of course is a much more complicated story to tell. I was just providing context on Sonnenbatterie relative to covering Schröder’s return.

      Having said that, I’m sure that as the storage market develops in the near future, much will have to said of the price competitiveness (and related developments) of Sonnenbatterie, Tesla Energy’s and other’s devices. I look forward to it!

    • Interesting! What size battery system would be needed for a 500kW Solar PV system that discharges 100% daily? And, at what cost for a Sonnenbatterie system?

      • Sorry, I cannot understand what you are asking exactly. A 500kw pv system is at least commercial scale, not residential. A very large residential PV array would be perhaps 10kw. (I have a 12 kw array and 40kwh battery bank for a residence with 12 people). A typical well planned German house uses, on average, 3500kwh per year. They would need only about 3kw PV and and 4.5 kwh sonnenbatterie to self produce and self consume 90% of their electricity. The payback would be rather quick at German grid prices of 30cents kwh. But that means Sonnenbatterie price needs to be about $900 kwh or less to compete with Tesla, so about $4300 for the 4.5 kwh pack. That includes the inverter by the way.

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