Tesla Climbs as Tweet Spurs Electricity-Storage SpeculationDana Hull
Tesla Motors Inc. rose after Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said on Twitter that a “major new Tesla product line -- not a car -- will be unveiled” April 30 at the company’s Hawthorne, California, design studio.
Musk in the posting Monday didn’t give details about the product. The announcement probably will be related to stationary storage batteries for residential customers, Trip Chowdhry, an analyst at Global Equities Research, said in a note. Tesla has been testing such systems in as many as 250 households in California for the past two years, Chowdhry said.
The Palo Alto, California-based company’s shares gained 3 percent to $190.57 at the close in New York after advancing as much as 3.9 percent, the most intraday since Feb. 3. The shares have declined 14 percent so far this year.
The maker of luxury electric cars is using its lithium-ion battery technology to position itself as a front-runner in the emerging market for energy storage that supplements, and may ultimately threaten, the traditional electric grid.
“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 last month.
SolarCity Corp., where Musk is chairman, has installed Tesla batteries at 13 Wal-Mart Stores Inc. outlets in California. The batteries will “help manage peak energy demand” and more will probably be added “in the coming years,” Tara Greco, a spokeswoman for the retailer, said in an e-mail.
Tesla is also building a $5 billion battery plant near Reno, Nevada. The plant, which Tesla calls a “gigafactory,” is designed to more than double the world’s supply of lithium-ion batteries, reducing costs and making electric cars more affordable.
Battery packs made at the factory are to be used initially in Tesla’s all-electric Model S sedan and the Model X sport utility vehicle, which is scheduled to be released this summer, as well as in a more-affordable vehicle called the Model 3 and in stationary-storage applications.
Tesla is hiring dozens of employees for its stationary storage business unit, which it projects “will be a multi-billion dollar per year one in the near term,” according to a job description posted by the company.