Daimler AG started taking orders Tuesday in Germany for Mercedes-Benz branded battery packs for domestic and commercial energy storage. Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk recently announced a step in his company’s effort to advance home and industrial energy storage, but the Germans – who long ago took the lead in embracing renewable energy – aren’t sitting idle.
The move shows that Tesla won’t be the only automotive industry player in the growing market for domestic energy storage. Mercedes-Benz’s B-Class Electric Drive, the company’s first all-electric car, went on sale in the 2015 model year. But its introduction of domestic and commercial battery storage suggests that, like Tesla, Daimler is hedging its bets on electric car demand by taking its batteries to a disruptive new market that could challenge traditional energy distribution systems.
Daimler is now using its electric car batteries to market storage units that can either offer backup power to business or a way for homeowners to harvest solar energy to use during peak-load hours. The batteries can “compensate for sometimes high fluctuations in consumption and reduce energy costs, said Accumotive, the Daimler subsidiary selling the Mercedes-Benz battery systems. Accumotive says its 2.5 kilowatt hour (kWh) packs can be strung together for up to 20 kWh, which is enough to power a typical U.S. home for about 16 hours, based on data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. But Germans consume less energy than Americans, with the typical household using about 10 kWh a day, according to the World Energy Council. Like Tesla, Accumotive offers larger units as custom configurations.
Daimler has yet to disclose the price of the units. Tesla’s Powerwall systems begin at $3,500 excluding installation costs.
In 2009, Daimler helped rescue Tesla by purchasing a 9 percent stake in the company for about $50 million. It sold those shares last year, but not before incorporating Tesla’s technology for its B-Class sedan.
Watch the video presentation (in German) that Accumotive posted to YouTube on Tuesday.