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Old 01-05-2015, 02:24   #1
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Elon Musk's New System -- Good for Boats?

Elon Musk's Grand Plan to Power the World With Batteries | WIRED

Elon Musk, the Paypal cofounder who started Tesla and Space-X, is bringing his car battery into the home, to store solar generated power.

This bank looks similar to what I'm installing in my St. Francis 50. I wonder how much prices will go down in the next 3-5 years (some are saying they'll drop 50% once Musk has his Nevada factory up and running). This could mean really affordable Li-Ion for cruisers. Even better if it comes in a form factor like this, which could go under the sole.

I can really see this technology trickling down to boaters, with the price plummeting as well. Won't be long before generators are scarce on cruising boats. Or before electric motors replace our inboards, and all we have is a small DC generator as a backup to our solar.
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Old 01-05-2015, 07:32   #2
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Re: Elon Musk's New System -- Good for Boats?

So you saw the Tesla battery press releases today? They're all over the tech news sites. Wall mounted lithium ions. 10KW for $3K or so. I haven't seen a weight spec, but these take up a wall space 3x4 ft. I could mount one in each hull.

Does this mean you could sit somewhere in an electric boat, and wait until you had enough charge to make it to the next island, and have the range to make it worthwhile?

Wonder what the range would be for an electric catamaran with 20 kw storage...motorsailing on one engine...
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Old 01-05-2015, 07:55   #3
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Re: Elon Musk's New System -- Good for Boats?

It is a 240VAC input/output device as far as I can tell. They say the inverter/charger is built into the box. The battery bank voltage in the Model S is over +/- 100VDC but whatever it is it won't handle any big DC loads without a separate AC->DC power supply. Or you could use your existing shore charger and cut the size of the 12V battery bank to something really small say 2 ordinary 12V batteries.

To the extent you have a mostly 120VAC powered boat with generator then these could be good. It depends on the cost and whether the Tesla device is marine ready. A box designed to mount on the indoor wall of your house may not be something that survives long on a boat. Boats tend to get more vibration and water than a house. So we'll have to see how they are made before we can say they are ready for ocean life. If the actual text of the warranty can be found that will probably tell a lot if they limit the 10 year warranty to indoor home installation only.

A 7kWH unit (about the same capacity as a 1,500AH 12V lead/acid battery bank) is reportedly going to sell for $3K. That seems like a pretty good deal cost wise. The weight isn't known for that unit but probably on the order of 180 pounds (80 kilos). So not something you can lug around without mechanical advantage (winches & pulleys). But probably 3-4 people could lug it around.
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Old 01-05-2015, 08:10   #4
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Re: Elon Musk's New System -- Good for Boats?

I think I read somewhere that they were meant to be mounted indoors or out. Still not the same as being on a shaking, vibrating boat in the middle of a salty sea, but it could mean everything is sealed and waterproof.

Agree that the voltages are the big issue. But the storage has to be DC. All we need is an enterprising marine electrical installer to come up with the right inverter/converter/interface. Or go to Tesla Electric and say, "Hey, we want to get our batteries from you," and do their own solution.

The biggest advantage here, I think, is increasing adoption and manufacturing, which will lower our price. Just in time for me, since I bought my Li-Ion bank last month!
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Old 01-05-2015, 08:28   #5
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Re: Elon Musk's New System -- Good for Boats?

Great job from Tesla. This one looks like a very nice PnP unit.

Just imagine where this battery puts all our posts in "electric motors NOT viable in a sailing boat".

Hahaha.

BTW you may also see this piece of news in relation to the new aluminum battery technology - Musk has built up the plant in Lithium only now to find that likely the future car battery is Aluminum (or something else!)

I think all the recent news (also the one on wireless charging) are GREAT.

We are looking towards better boats, easier cruising and even more boats in the anchorages ...

Love,
b.
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Old 01-05-2015, 08:40   #6
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Re: Elon Musk's New System -- Good for Boats?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hugh Howey View Post
Elon Musk's Grand Plan to Power the World With Batteries | WIRED

Elon Musk, the Paypal cofounder who started Tesla and Space-X, is bringing his car battery into the home, to store solar generated power.

This bank looks similar to what I'm installing in my St. Francis 50. I wonder how much prices will go down in the next 3-5 years (some are saying they'll drop 50% once Musk has his Nevada factory up and running). This could mean really affordable Li-Ion for cruisers. Even better if it comes in a form factor like this, which could go under the sole.

I can really see this technology trickling down to boaters, with the price plummeting as well. Won't be long before generators are scarce on cruising boats. Or before electric motors replace our inboards, and all we have is a small DC generator as a backup to our solar.
It seems they're only being marketed as UPS initially. Probably to avoid upsetting the electric utilities who are facing stranded assets by a wholesale move off the grid.

I wonder if anyone has considered their lifecycle cost in terms of house bank duty cycle. I know they've had beta testers using them for off grid storage.

If anyone can tip the threshold for mass market off grid power storage it will be mr musk I suspect.

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Old 01-05-2015, 08:56   #7
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Re: Elon Musk's New System -- Good for Boats?

Quote:
Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
Great job from Tesla. This one looks like a very nice PnP unit.

Just imagine where this battery puts all our posts in "electric motors NOT viable in a sailing boat".

Hahaha.

BTW you may also see this piece of news in relation to the new aluminum battery technology - Musk has built up the plant in Lithium only now to find that likely the future car battery is Aluminum (or something else!)

I think all the recent news (also the one on wireless charging) are GREAT.

We are looking towards better boats, easier cruising and even more boats in the anchorages ...

Love,
b.
I can't imagine that Musk isn't following the developments with regard to Aluminum and won't be able to transition part or eventually all of his factory over if that's the way things go. Aluminum is easier to source and work with than Lithium, and with Space-X, he's already dealing with a lot of pivoting when it comes to manufacturing and design.

Where it'll get interesting is when GM, Ford, Toyota, Honda and the like are building more electric cars then internal combustion cars. Might not happen for another 30 - 60 years, but when it does, the price of all this stuff is going to plummet. I can easily see electric motors being the default on new boats in 15 - 20 years, and most boats in anchorages having electric motors in 50 or so years.

It won't even seem strange, because it'll happen so gradually.
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Old 01-05-2015, 09:03   #8
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Re: Elon Musk's New System -- Good for Boats?

This is such great news not only for boating but for the planet! It is such a GREAT time to be alive!
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Old 01-05-2015, 09:03   #9
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Re: Elon Musk's New System -- Good for Boats?

Although its being sold as a battery backup, IMO the primary/ultimate purpose is to be quick charger for their tesla car. Notice it runs at 350 to 450 volts, which happens to be the quick charging standard for their cars.

I don't think the powerwall is a good form factor for boats but the actual batteries themselves are where we will see drops in price. Also, you are paying a premium for the Tesla name.
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Old 01-05-2015, 09:10   #10
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Re: Elon Musk's New System -- Good for Boats?

All that is need is for the US to increase gasoline tax to match the rest of the world.


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Old 01-05-2015, 09:12   #11
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Re: Elon Musk's New System -- Good for Boats?

Mmmm. 10 ordinary leisure batteries will do the same job.

Not sure what is ground breaking here except that they come in white instead of the more usual black for batteries.

A lot of fuss for something which will store the equivalent of about a gallon of petrol.
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Old 01-05-2015, 09:14   #12
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Re: Elon Musk's New System -- Good for Boats?

It runs 350vdc and requires special inverter chargers so not really much use in the current marine market
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Old 01-05-2015, 09:20   #13
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Re: Elon Musk's New System -- Good for Boats?

The technology is already being implemented, Annapolis Hybrid Marine Annapolis Hybrid Marine Thoosa electric marine propulsion designs and installs electric propulsion systems, including the option of Lithium Ion batteries. Even if Musk's system isn't immediately marine-ready, it should help to speed adoption and reduce cost.
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Old 01-05-2015, 09:49   #14
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Re: Elon Musk's New System -- Good for Boats?

Don't forget graphene the wonder stuff. Not only is it helping to make batteries more efficient, it is used in molecular filters. One was found by chance while looking for something else and it is way cool. You put wet stuff on top of the membrane and if there are any H2O molecules in it, they fall right through with no resistance. Everything, and I mean everything, else is blocked: salt, silt, viruses, bacteria, everything except H2O. What a filter! The university that discovered it patented it, then a company (maybe HP, don't remember) bought the rights and that is where it lays. A molecular band pass filter
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Old 01-05-2015, 09:52   #15
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Re: Elon Musk's New System -- Good for Boats?

Ooops! Not trying to hijack the thread. Graphene is one of the many tech pieces that will be driving down battery costs. Now all we need is cheap broadband from space which is, I think, another Musk idea
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