A new car can charge itself and its owner from home and then go off for a trip to the grocery store, at a petrol station or at a local bar, all without charging via the network.
The new Tesla Powerwall has been touted as India’s answer to Tesla’s Model S, the world’s first mass-market electric car, and its chief rival, the BMW i3.
But its battery pack, which can go as low as 2,500mAh, is bigger than the Model S battery pack and has no petrol-to-electric converter to help it keep up with other electric vehicles in the market.
It is also significantly smaller than its electric cousin, the Tesla Model S 100.
“We think the Powerwall is a real breakthrough for India,” says Ramon Zalasiewicz, chief executive of the automotive-manufacturing conglomerate Tata Motors, which has a major stake in the company.
“It is a big step towards getting more EVs to market and to make sure they’re more competitive with petrol-electric cars, and also in terms of their cost.”
Electric vehiclesIndia is in the middle of a massive public-private partnership, with automakers like Tata, General Motors and Volkswagen partnering to produce electric cars for the first time.
In a bid to compete with foreign competitors, India is building its own battery technology, including a lithium-ion battery that is much smaller than the one used in the Tesla Powerpack.
It will also be the first Indian automaker to use a hybrid powertrain, which is a mix of battery and electric motor.
But the company says it is also building a bigger battery that can go much further, from a small 100kWh battery pack to a 600kWh unit that could charge the battery pack from a remote location.
Tesla’s Tesla Powertrain is a hybrid battery.
Photo: TeslaThe Powerwall can also be charged from home by plugging it into a wall socket, with an additional charging port built into the rear of the vehicle.
The company’s CEO Elon Musk is quoted in the Wall Street Journal as saying the Powerpack is a milestone for electric cars.
But he said that the new car, like the Model 3, was not intended to replace the existing Model S.
“There’s no plan to replace Tesla’s product line.
It’s meant to be a vehicle that makes a different kind of electric car,” Musk said.
Tesla has not revealed any new plans to release the car.
The battery will be a major selling point, as India is currently the world leader in plug-in electric cars, according to the International Council on Clean Transportation.
Tesla is also making an effort to diversify its vehicle offerings, including the Powerline, a low-range, electric SUV that will be priced at Rs 1.5 lakh ($24,500) and that will go on sale this year.
But there are other electric car makers in India, such as Tata, which sells electric motorcycles, as well as small companies like Reliance Industries, which makes the popular plug-ins like Infiniti’s Leaf.
Tesla and Reliance have both invested heavily in India to bring its electric car offerings to the market, with Tesla spending $5 billion to build a factory in the country.
But even if the Powerwalls powertrain is larger than the Tesla batteries, it is not enough to go on a trip.
India is also planning to sell a fleet of electric taxis, called e-tricity, that will cost between Rs 2,000 and Rs 4,000 ($5,000 to $25,000) a journey.
But it is unlikely that this will be the vehicle that India adopts in the next couple of years, as the company has a poor track record of making high-performance electric cars on time.