How Tesla's New Battery Technology Relates to Wire & Cable's Future

Long, long ago back in the year of our Lord Two-Thousand and Eleven, I was a long haired Californian studying Battery Technology at Stanford, in a program specializing in renewable energy conversion and storage.


At that time Car & Driver magazine was debating what specifications the much anticipated new Tesla Model S would actually have, and folks were spending their time speculating in online forums, debating with each other what options would be available, the cost, etc.

At that time I was wondering aloud how the new developments Tesla was making would affect my day to day life in the Wire & Cable Industry.

The Key

The key ended up being not just cables for the Tesla charging stations, or the high temperature motor lead wires used inside the engine, but actually turned out to be a wide spectrum of different Electrical and Electronic cables that pertained to the renewable energy field. It wasn't a change of just a single product group, but a wide variety of items to be used in what would be Tesla's first mass produced automobile.

Now as if history is repeating itself Elon Musk is making waves again, only this time with something that hits even closer to home...literally.

Musk plans to revolutionize off grid power with the development of large Lithium Ion storage batteries that will literally power our homes. This is stuff we were just dreaming of back at Stanford in 2011, and just a few years later it has come to fruition.

Via the Wall Street Journal's article titled "Tesla's Next Big Idea, Storing Power":

Tesla’s “gigafactory,” under construction outside Reno, Nev., is mainly designed to produce lithium-ion batteries for Tesla automobiles, but as much as 25% of the plant’s capacity could be allocated to battery packs, or “stationary power,” according to company projections.

Chief Executive Elon Musk will have to explain how Tesla’s bet on stationary batteries is good for the bottom line. Just 3% of the batteries that Tesla’s Nevada factory is expected to produce would supply the entire current global market for stationary storage battery packs this year, according to analysts at Lux Research.


“We see the market growing very quickly,” said Mateo Jaramillo, the leader of the stationary-storage project for Tesla, in a podcast with GreenTech Media in January. 
The goal adds another audacious milestone for a company known for making bullish predictions.
Tesla plans to sell 500,000 vehicles by 2020 (representing a 1,300% increase from 2014), which is the first year it projects profitability.
The battery packs, which can range in size from a small refrigerator for a home, to several large shipping containers for a wind farm, store electricity when power is abundant, such as when the wind is blowing, and save it for later use.

So How will off Grid Power Storage affect the Wire & Cable Market?

I foresee the Wire & Cable Industry innovating right along with the battery storage market, just as we did when the influx of electric vehicles. With more and more electric motors being designed, we at Cole Wire have recently found ourselves manufacturing and supplying specialty motor lead wire's that were not as popular before, but that are now finding themselves in our wheelhouse more and more.

I think we will see a similar change with Tesla and other companies' developing new off grid battery systems.

We will see less and less large Utility type cables being manufactured, and more secondary, and temporary power product transmitting energy from our large battery to our home or business. I do think it will be quite some time before Renewable Energy sources mostly displace the Utilities, but I think in the next 15-20 years we could see them decline by 50% or more, as the tech really takes off.

By then we may all be riding in electric vehicles driven by Google - Hopefully FLYING in electric vehicles - something I passionately talk about every time I am stuck in traffic! SpaceX will have helped us inhabit Mars, and the internet of everything will be literally in everything. I imagine that my team and I will have developed many new Wire & Cable technologies to help solve the worlds problems, just like we are doing today.

Technology is going to keep on pumping out improvements, and the Wire & Cable industry will do like we have always done, Keeping pace, or outpace the current technology with innovative technologies of our own. I mean, have you seen Alpha Wire's new EcoFlex® flexible control cable, made to lessen environmental impact without losing electrical characteristics? How about Service Wire's EnviroPlus® Low Smoke Zero Halogen cables, developed to better protect people and equipment?

There is some pretty cool stuff out there, but in order to really see it we need to follow some advice from the hit 80's cult classic film "Ferris Bueller's Day Off":

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it. - Ferris Bueller


Technology moves REALLY Fast, and it is up to us to keep a tab on it and direct our organizations accordingly. Off Grid power is coming, and when it really makes an impact you can take me to lunch for using Ferris Bueller to shine some solar light on it's future impact.

Written by Brand Jonseck

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