First Click: Tesla's a battery company, not a car company

April 22nd, 2015


If you didn’t know better, what product do you think a company named after Nikola Tesla would make? The inventor made famous by his pioneering work in the distribution of electrical energy, and infamous for his attempts to wirelessly transmit power across great distances.

You probably wouldn't say cars.

Bonus points if you said “death beams." As noted in Tesla's obituary, the man claimed on his 84th birthday to have invented a directed-energy weapon measuring just one-hundred-millionth of a square centimeter. Yet even at that size Tesla said it was so powerful that it could destroy 10,000 airplanes at a distance of 250 miles and instantly wipe out an army of one million soldiers.

Jeremy Welch, cofounder and CEO at Chrg, says Telsa Motors is really a battery company in aluminum clothing. Just like razors are vehicles for blades, Tesla’s cars are just intelligent battery systems on wheels. Tesla’s SolarCity ties, its advanced battery “Gigafactory,” and its soon-to-be-announced home and large-scale utility batteries make for a compelling argument.

Ex-Intel chief Andy Grove was calling for Intel to develop advanced batteries for plug-in cars back in 2008. Grove reasoned that US firms had to win the battery race lest it break its addiction to foreign oil only to become dependent upon foreign batteries from China and Japan (Panasonic is Telsa’s Gigafactory partner).

If the future of transportation is electric, and the future of energy is distributed and renewable, then batteries are the linchpins that will hold the electrons together.

And battery companies don't require a secret volcano lair.

Five stories to start your day

  1. Tesla plans to show off its home battery next week

    A note from the company's VP of investor relations says Tesla "will introduce the Tesla home battery and a very large utility scale battery," adding that "we will explain the advantages of our solutions and why past battery options were not compelling."

  2. Google could launch its wireless service on Wednesday

    As previously leaked, the service is said to run on Sprint and T-Mobile's networks, and only work on the Nexus 6 (above) at first; the phone is expected to be able to switch between the two networks depending on which signal is stronger. The WSJ also says that customers will be able to pay only for the data they use, rather than buying a set amount each month and losing the unused portion.

  3. Drone emitting ‘minuscule' amounts of radiation lands on Japan Prime Minister's office

    A drone marked with a radiation symbol has landed on the roof of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's office, on the same day a court approved the restart of a nuclear power station that has lain dormant since the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

  4. Judge didn’t mean to give human rights to chimps

    After making her first ruling earlier this week, Supreme Court Justice Barbara Jaffe issued a revised court order on Tuesday with the writ of habeas corpus — a legal principle that allows people to contest their wrongful imprisonment — struck out.

  5. If you're horrible on the internet, Clear app could save your job

    The app connects to your social media accounts, using an algorithm to search for both directly offensive content like swear words, and references to racial groups or sexual orientation.

Battery of the day