09/25/2018

Tesla’s battery business is booming amid Model 3 struggles

For the past year, Tesla watchers have obsessed over the Palo Alto automaker’s struggles to build its Model 3 electric sedan and CEO Elon Musk’s erratic behavior — most recently appearing to smoke pot on a podcast.

Quietly, another element of Tesla’s business has been booming.

Deployment of Tesla’s stationary batteries — designed to supply electricity to homes, businesses or the power grid — surged 450 percent during the first half of 2018, according to the company.

Tesla has now installed enough batteries worldwide — from Australia to Vermont — to store 1 gigawatt hour of electricity, roughly the output of one commercial nuclear reactor running for one hour. The company expects to double that amount in the next nine to 12 months.

Even so, some homeowners have complained that the company — not known for hitting production deadlines — has pushed back installation timelines, even into 2019. On the Tesla Motors Club, an online discussion forum not sponsored by the company, one participant fumed in August about waiting 18 months after putting down a $500 deposit.

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