Daimler executives are quick to point out that the decision to enter the home battery market isn’t a direct response to Tesla’s recent announcement. The company outsources production of the lithium-ion battery packs found its in hybrids and electric vehicles to a wholly-owned subsidiary called Accumotive, which has also been building high-capacity battery packs for large commercial and industrial applications since 2012.
Chemically speaking, Daimler’s home battery is closely related to the lithium-ion battery packs found in the company’s cars. The battery works just like Tesla’s: Ideally mounted on a wall, it can be charged during off-peak hours when electricity is cheaper and turned on during peak hours when it is more expensive. Two or more batteries can be combined if extra capacity is needed, and homeowners looking to seriously trim their power bill can link the installation to solar panels or wind turbines.
Tesla received about 40,000 pre-orders when it launched its line of Powerwall home and business batteries last month, and CEO Elon Musk recently revealed the battery is essentially sold out until halfway through next year. Daimler expects it will receive a similar response from buyers in Germany. At first, the batteries will be primarily aimed at wealthy families looking to go green, small- to medium-sized companies who need a reliable way to back up their data in the event of a power outage and, oddly enough, islands where the power supply is unstable.
Full details about Daimler’s upcoming line of home batteries will be published in the coming weeks, and the first deliveries are tentatively scheduled for either late this summer or early next fall.