Tesla recently announced that it’s new 7kWh Powerwall home battery pack would soon be available, at the nice round asking price of $3,000. The response, as expected, was almost universal praise, and the stock market will surely jump, while the 1% jumps faster, to get their hands on all things Tesla. The wonder-company is, after all, the Apple of the industrial-tech world, releasing hit after hit after hit (make that hit after hit, as even after seven years, it only has two products, the Roadster and Tesla S). But there’s one thing that’s different about the Powerwall versus the Roadster and Model S: you can’t drive it off the showroom floor (or secret backlot, or tractor-trailer bed, or wherever you can actually pick up a Tesla nowadays). You see, the Powerwall actually has to be installed, and that means you’re going to need some help, not from Tesla, but from an electrician.
As electric car owners, we at TBG are well aware of the promise and the peril of electric cars. Smooth, quick, quiet, relatively “green,” and oh so fun to drive. On the other hand, as everyone has already figured out, short range can be a downer. But there’s another fly in the ointment, and that is that local electricians (and permitting agencies) really don’t know what to do with electric car-related gear yet. Take, for example, our quest to have a simple 5lb., 240V electric car charger installed. We sent out for three bids from local electricians, and were met with all manner of hemming and hawing. What’s worse, the bids came in at surprisingly high prices, ranging from $475 to $585, and were offered with all sorts of caveats, like you may need extra permits, something will probably get in the way, the cost will be higher if it’s more than 3 feet from the breaker panel and we probably measured wrong, etc., etc. You’d think these guys would be jumping at the opportunity to pocket $500 for what is pretty clearly a straightforward job, but apparently this stuff is still too far out in left field for electricians to get excited about.
And with the Powerwall, there’s the elephant in the room that no one seems to be paying attention to: how exactly do you get the Powerwall on the wall, anyway? According to Tesla’s specs, it weighs 220lb. Good luck getting your electrician (or even a team of electricians) to agree to install this monster for you. Better come prepared with a very generous workman’s comp offer…. Our guess is that once you find someone to install it, you’re probably looking at a bill of around $1,500-$2,000, chump change for the typical Tesla owner, but pretty significant given the cost of the product you’re installing.
Admittedly, we’re sounding a bit of a low note here, but that doesn’t mean we can’t think positive. Just get a load of that Model S – simply gorgeous, isn’t it? The Powerwall isn’t quite so inspired, but it will surely sell as well.