For Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) CEO Elon Musk, eliminating dependence on fossil fuels is not outside the realm of human possibility. On Thursday night, Tesla announced its much anticipated suite of new rechargeable batteries under the name Tesla Energy, confirming the company's expansion into energy storage. "Tesla is not just an automotive company," the company said in a statement. "it's an energy innovation company. Tesla Energy is a critical step in this mission to enable zero emission power generation." First up was the Tesla Powerwall Home Battery, "a rechargeable lithium-ion battery designed to store energy at a residential level." Among other things, the battery can store solar surplus solar energy for later use, and can charge during low rate electricity periods and discharge during hours when rates get more expensive. Musk also suggested that the batteries would be effective in remote parts of the world or in areas without electricity, as they would to some extent remove the need to install power lines. The batteries will cost $3000 to $3500, and Tesla says that deliveries will begin late this summer. Tesla is also going beyond home batteries with what Musk called the power pack. He stated that the Powerwall would be effective for home and small commercial outfits, but that something more might be needed for larger applications. "The Tesla power pack is designed to scale infinitely, so you could literally make this into a gigawatt-hour-class solution," he said, stating that one utility has already expressed an interest in a 250 megawatt-hour installation using power packs. Meanwhile, companies such as Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Target (NYSE:TGT) have partnered with Tesla for the use of its batteries, while utilities such as Advanced Microgrid Solutions and Southern California Edison (NYSEMKT:SCE-E) are also working with Tesla. Certainly, all of those batteries will require plenty of lithium, graphite and cobalt.
And Musk is dreaming even bigger. "With 160 million power packs, you can transition the United States [to renewable energy]," he said on Thursday night. "With 900 million you can transition the world."That's a lofty goal, but Musk said that Tesla's current project in Nevada is just "gigafactory version one," and that "there will need to be many gigafactories in the future." Furthermore, he made it clear that Tesla's policy of open-sourcing its patents would continue with regards to its home batteries, larger scale batteries, and even for its gigafactory."There's going to be many other companies building gigafactory class operations of their own. And we hope they do," Musk said. In any case, that certainly sounds like good news for lithium, graphite and cobalt demand. Stay tuned for more on the announcement. Securities Disclosure: I, Teresa Matich, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article. Elon Musk Unveils Tesla Energy from Lithium Investing News