Elon Musk May Have Scooped Tesla's Big Announcement

It's a big deal, but shouldn't come as a surprise.

Elon Musk is about to announce a new product that's not a car. He said so in a mysterious Tweet designed to induce the highest level of nail-biting suspense. But the Elon Musk of two months ago may have told us exactly what we should expect. 

“We are going to unveil the Tesla home battery, the consumer battery that would be for use in people’s houses or businesses fairly soon,” Musk said during an earnings conference call in February. He said the product unveiling would occur within the next month or two.

Here's his teaser from today, which drove up shares of Tesla 3.5 percent:

Tesla is building the world's biggest battery factory in Nevada -- a $5 billion project that Musk says will reduce the price of battery storage by 30 percent. Combining solar panels with backup capacity could allow homeowners to avoid buying electricity from utilities. If the prices come down enough, it could both enhance and disrupt the U.S. power grid. 

Last year, Musk said his home-storage battery will be "cool"—a word not often applied to hunks of hardware kept in basements. Here's how he described it in a conference call in May:

“The sort of thing we have in mind is something that looks a bit like the battery pack in the Model S... something really flat… coming just five inches off the wall, a beautiful cover, integrated bidirectional inverter, and it’s just plug and play.”

Jargon alert: “integrated bidirectional inverter” basically means electricity can flow where you want it to, and “plug-and-play” means it’s easy to set up.

If indeed Tesla launches a battery, it will be a big deal. It just shouldn't be that much of a surprise. 

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