Tesla Updates Powerwall Software For Easier EV Charging During A Blackout

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Let’s say you have a Tesla electric car that you typically charge at home. Everything goes swimmingly until the electricity goes out. Now what? If you have a Tesla Powerwall installed at your home, you can use it to recharge your car, but at some point all the stored electricity can go into the battery of your car, leaving none left over to power your home.

Tesla Powerwall app
Not to worry, though. Elon Musk and his minions have figured out a way to let you program how much of your Powerwall’s capacity should be devoted to charging your car and how much should be reserved for domestic use, thanks to a new software upgrade to the Powerwall app.

The change only applies to Model 3 and Model Y cars in North America for the moment, but Tesla plans to make it work with Model S and Model X vehicles soon and expects to expand it to other parts of the world shortly.

Here’s how the company explains the new software upgrade: “Powerwall now coordinates with Tesla vehicles during a power outage to charge your car without exceeding the energy and power capabilities of your Powerwall. The Powerwall reacts to the power needs of your home and will slow or stop your vehicle’s charging, keeping your home loads powered.

“During a power outage, your Tesla vehicle will charge from the Powerwall whenever it is above the threshold set in the Tesla app. You can change this threshold to balance your home and transportation energy needs.

“Keep your vehicle plugged in while the sun is shining and surplus solar will charge your vehicle. Charging stops when Powerwall’s stored energy drops below your set threshold.”

Such flexibility allows owners to adapt how their Powerwall operates to meet different situations. If a major snowstorm threatens outages near you and you won’t be driving anywhere for a while, the system can be set to reserve all available electricity for powering your home. The same can be said for people in areas where the risk of forest fires sometimes requires the local grid to be shut down. The chart below helps explain how the updated system works.

Vehicle Charging Behavior

Now you have the ability to program your Powerwall remotely to respond to changing circumstances. It gives you the peace of mind of knowing your Tesla will always have enough charge to drive you to safety if the need arises while guaranteeing your home continues to have enough electricity to meet its minimum requirements during a grid outage. Thanks, Tesla!

Image courtesy Tesla

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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new."

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