Tesla Looks to Gain EV Lead in Energy Market

Elon Musk has found a new mission in the automotive market: providing power for EVs. Tesla recently acquired a license that will enable them to trade electricity across western Europe, and the company has also been surveying customers in Germany about using Tesla electricity in their cars. Automotive experts and consultants say this could be the beginning of many new partnerships. Germany is currently Europe’s biggest power market and home to many automotive brands.

Generating trading power would help Tesla lower the running costs of its cars at a time where rival automotive brands are producing new electric vehicles themselves. Tesla already sells solar panels to Powerwall battery storage for homes but not appears to be looking at selling electricity directly to customers using the home storage systems to provide services to the grid.

In June, the company became a member of the EPEX spot power exchange, a platform used to trade much of Europe’s cross-border electricity. A month later, it surveyed German customers about their interest in energy services. “What would encourage you to switch from your existing energy supplier?,” the survey said, according to a copy seen by Reuters.

“Would you buy a Tesla photovoltaic system and home storage (Tesla Powerwall) if you could switch to a specially designed Tesla electricity tariff?,” it said.

Tesla also asked potential energy customers whether they would allow the company to control when cars would charge.

This could allow it to coincide charging with cheap electricity rates during off peak hours, consultants and industry executives said.

Companies offering similar services in Germany include sonnen, Next Kraftwerke, and Lichtblick.

“The next and obvious step for Tesla is to get into production, especially of renewable power,” said consultant Berthold Hannes, who has 30 years of energy advisory experience.

“Tesla could use its own locations, for example the roofs of plants or the sites of charging points, and alternatively, or in addition, it could take stakes in solar plants or wind parks,” he said.