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Tesla May Offer German Customers Energy Options As Well As Cars

Tesla is asking potential customers in Germany what energy services they would like to be offered, from rooftop solar to residential storage and expanded charging options.

Tesla has already taken steps to become an electric power supplier in the UK. Now, according to a report by PV Magazine, it is surveying potential customers in Germany to gauge their interest in a range of Tesla energy products and services.

Tesla declined to respond to a request for more information from PV Magazine, but that publication did obtain a copy of the Tesla survey. It says one section asks customers what would persuade them to switch their electricity supplier. The possible responses include a supply contract linked to owning of a rooftop solar system, a Tesla Powerwall home storage device, and Tesla software.

The questionnaire also asks if customers would consider buying a package that includes home energy storage, solar panels, a Tesla Wall Connector EV charger, access to a public EV charging network in addition to Tesla fast chargers, and using electricity derived from renewable energy sources. A later question again refers to a similar bundle of clean energy products and services supplied by Tesla.

Here’s an interesting question Tesla is asking of potential customers: “Suppose your car is charged every morning to meet your daily needs. Under what conditions would you allow Tesla to control the charging time of your car so that it is charged for your daily needs and to offer you a cheaper electricity tariff?” Options include:

  • “If there is a clear financial advantage for me.”
  • “If there are other advantages such as free or cheaper charging at home or on public charging stations.”
  • “If it helps to increase the share of renewable energies in the energy mix.”

Tesla does not seem to be exploring a vehicle-to-grid charging program, which would turn the batteries in its electric cars into a form of virtual power plant, but it definitely has its eye on adding features that would allow it to balance the demand for EV charging in order to stabilize the grid and take advantage of off-peak electricity pricing.

Elon Musk has indicated on a number of occasions that he thinks energy services like grid storage, rooftop solar, behind-the-meter storage for residential and small business customers, and virtual power plants could one day be a larger part of the company’s revenue stream than manufacturing and selling electric vehicles.

With construction of its factory outside Berlin moving forward rapidly, Tesla clearly has an eye on the German utility market. As PV Magazine says, “With Tesla customers renowned for brand loyalty, it could represent serious competition for current (clean energy) players in the field.” Investors continue to view Tesla as a car company. That overlooks some of the other exciting things the company is doing as it plans to disrupt other industries on its way to helping the world slash its carbon emissions.

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Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his homes in Florida and Connecticut or anywhere else the Singularity may lead him. You can follow him on Twitter but not on any social media platforms run by evil overlords like Facebook.


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