Electric car and solar energy company Tesla is considering providing an all-in-one home and car energy package, that would include controlled EV charging times if it goes ahead in Germany.
As more cars become powered by electric drive-trains, the lines between the energy and automotive industry will become increasingly blurred.
Already, energy companies, such as AGL, Origin and Powershop in Australia, are looking to offer cheaper tariffs for EV drivers and consider ways to encourage drivers to charge their EVs to help soak up excess electricity demand.
Now, we are beginning to see similar moves from the other side of the market: auto makers looking to slide sideways into the energy market (not to mention oil companies such as Shell doing something similar).
In a survey sent to potential German customers, Tesla sought to gauge interest on whether electric car drivers would like Tesla to schedule car charging times as part of the package to take advantage of cheaper tariffs.
The survey also asked respondents if they would be interested in purchasing a Tesla Wall Connector EV charge unit, a Tesla Powerwall, Tesla solar panels, as well as what would persuade them to switch to another energy company.
According to PV-Magazine which first reported the survey, it hints at a possible “energy package” that would combine all of these.
The company also asks: “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 that survey respondents can select include, “If there is a clear financial advantage for me,” and, “If there are other advantages such as free or cheaper charging at home or on public charging station,” and if, “it helps to increase the share of renewable energies in the energy mix.”
To determine to what degree EV drivers would be prepared to hand over control of charging times to Tesla, the survey also asks what type of payment model they would prefer, including “a day-ahead hourly-variable price per kilowatt-hour.”
The German survey is not the first inkling that Tesla is considering entering the energy market.
In May, RenewEconomy reported that the Californian EV and battery storage giant had applied to the UK’s energy regulator for a licence to sell energy.
It’s not clear if Tesla is thinking about combining its energy package with a “big battery” such as the one operated by French renewable energy developer Neoen in Hornsdale, South Australia that doubled savings for customers within its first two years’ of operation, as well as shoring up grid security.
While Tesla’s expansion into energy has always been part of its raison d’être, having acquired SolarCity in 2016 as part of a “master plan”, the EV maker is not the only car company that is eyeing off the energy market.
In 2019, German auto giant Volkswagen also announced it would expand its offerings to include renewable household energy systems and electric car charging, under new subsidiary, Elli Group GmbH.
Tesla did not respond to queries from the The Driven if it would consider a similar package in Australia before the time of publishing.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.