Tesla Motors made more than 1,000 cars per production week in the first quarter of 2015 and its stock spiked more than 2% on the news in after-hours trading, but investors wanted to talk about the company’s new Powerpack and Powerwall batteries.
Those hopeful that the battery would be used to immediately incorporate solar power into local grids got some unpleasant news: SolarCity, a company of which Tesla’s Elon Musk is chairman, isn’t interested in the Tesla Powerpack or the larger Powerwall, Bloomberg reported earlier today. In a call with reporters on Wednesday afternoon, Musk did not contradict the report, saying the battery wasn’t economical in the US yet.
Asked why, Musk said he preferred a different question. “Let me just talk a little more broadly to the response to the Powerwall and the Powerpack, because that’s the question you should be asking: the response has been crazy,” he said. “We’ve had 38,000 reservations for the Powerwall, 2,500 for the Powerpack.” He said those reservations represented an average of 10 batteries for the Powerpack and more than one for the Powerwall.
“We have to triage our responses to those who want to be a distributor,” Musk said. “It’s like, crazy off the hook. It seems to have gone super viral.”
Asked what kinds of margins investors could expect from the company’s gigantic new battery investment, Musk stalled briefly, but gave the analyst quizzing him a very high prediction: “Once we get the Gigafactory up and running and get the economies of scale working, this is just a guess right now, but maybe it’s something like 20%.”
The electric goods company reported raking in $1.10bn in revenue this quarter, $1.06bn of it from car sales, but it is the batteries that dominated the discussion on Tesla’s results call.
“The stationary storage demand is just nutty,” Musk said.
This article was written by Sam Thielman in New York, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 6th May 2015 23.43 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010