Tesla is inviting its Energy customers living in California to join Tesla’s Virtual Power Plant (VPP) and help stabilize the grid. Virtual power plants aggregate the capacities of energy resources and enhance power generation along with trading or selling power on the electricity market. Back in 2020, our own Steve Hanley shared that Tesla was expanding into both solar microgrids and virtual power plants. Steve wrote about Tesla’s virtual power plant plan in the UK at the time. Less than a year later, Tesla is now setting one up in California.
Tesla noted that its Virtual Power Plant in California is in the beta stage and pointed out that the California grid operator predicted that there will be a continued need for Californians to support it through the end of this year. Tesla’s invite encourages its customers to help create the largest distributed battery system in the world while avoiding dependence on the least efficient fossil fuel power plants.
Once customers have opted in, Tesla will dispatch their Powerwalls when the grid needs support, without risking customers’ own energy security. Tesla listed several benefits of participation in its new Virtual Power Plant.
- Exporting Credits During Peak Periods. Customers don’t need to make any changes to their home energy usage behavior, and if they’re part of a net energy metering program, they could earn credit for their energy that is sent to the grid during events.
- Cleaning The Power Grid. When the grid is in critical need of additional electricity, the least efficient fossil-fueled- generators come online. With Tesla dispatching customers’ Powerwall during the critical need, this helps to reduce dependence on those generators and helps clean the grid.
- Stabilizing California’s Grid. By opting in, Tesla Energy customers will help California reduce or even avoid blackouts during severe emergencies. Powerwall can keep the lights on for all in the community.
- United as A Tesla Community. The Tesla community is pretty amazing, but this takes that level of community even higher. Tesla Energy customers will team up with other Powerwall owners who are helping Tesla to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy. Customers will help build the largest distributed battery in the world — with over 50,000 Powerwalls.
- Energy Security. Powerwall customers will not lose any of their energy security. Instead, Powerwall will discharge during VPP events but will not discharge below your backup reserve. Customers can adjust their backup reserve to control how much their contribution to the VPP is.
Tesla noted that eligible Powerwall owners will be able to enroll in its Virtual Power Plant starting on July 22, 2021. Details on program eligibility will be announced soon.
Battery powered trailer boost range, efficiency — now for $120,000 less
The RA electric trailer from Range Energy promises to turn your diesel truck into a hybrid or extend the range of your electric semi – and now it qualifies for a $120,000 voucher in California.
California’s Clean Off-Road Equipment (CORE) Voucher Project aims to make it easier for commercial fleets to decarbonize. Last July, Range became the first trailer electrification platform to be accepted into CORE with an $80,000 rebate.
This year, Range Energy bumped its largest battery offering to 300 kWh. The state, in turn, showed its confidence in the electric trailer concept by bumping that rebate a full 50%.
“Becoming eligible for CORE proved that trailers truly matter in the transition to electric, and that CARB recognizes the meaningful impact electric-powered trailers can have on reducing the emissions of the commercial trucking sector,” said Ali Javidan, founder and CEO of Range. “Increasing our trailer platform’s incentive value by $40,000 further solidifies that position and makes Range a realistic near-term solution for fleet owners and operators.”
The company claims the Range Energy electric trailers can double a trucks’ fuel economy and slash its NOx emissions by as much as 67%. When we last covered Range, its electric trailer system had just undergone independent testing that found a 36% real-world improvement on a 25-mile urban/high loop at 60 mph top speeds with a 59,000 lb. gross vehicle weight (well below the 80,000 lb. maximum).
It’s great to see concepts like this electric trailer come into play with some government dollars behind them. If they work (and if their weight penalties don’t hurt shippers’ profit margins), they’ll make it real easy for truck fleets to dip their toes into the waters of electrification while hydrogen and batteries battle it out for ultimate supremacy.
I’m betting batteries, for what it’s worth – but Range Energy customers will be able to put their electric trailers to work behind either!
Quick Charge Podcast: February 26, 2024
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You won’t believe who bought almost $1 million worth of Tesla Roadsters
In a surprising turn of events, we now learn that billionaire Dan O’Dowd bought the 3 Tesla Roadsters that were lost in a Chinese port for over a decade.
Last year, we reported on a strange story of three brand-new Tesla Roadsters that were found inside a shipping container in China.
It appears that a Chinese company bought the Roadster back in 2011 with the hope of reverse-engineering them. However, the shipment was blocked by customs in China and the vehicles never made it to the company.
Last year, someone finally was able to get them and ship them to the US.
Tesla ever only produced just over 2,000 original Roadsters between 2008 and 2011, making them rare in the first place.
On top of the usual unit you lose to accidents and time, Roadsters had a few bad luck incidents, including losing dozens of units to two separate fires at Gruber Motors, which specializes in fixing first-generation Tesla Roadsters.
It makes the remaining ones more valuable, and ironically, Gruber was leading the auction for the lost Roadsters.
At one point, the company claimed that the three Roadsters together would go for over $1 million.
Almost a year later, we now know who bought them.
Dan of the popular YouTube channel What’s Inside got an exclusive look at the Roadsters – giving us a great look at this little piece of EV history:
Dan revealed Dan O’Dowd, the billionaire founder of Green Hills Software, is the new owner of the Roadster.
To Tesla fans, O’Dowd is better known as the guy running the Dawn Project, which is basically a campaign against Tesla’s Full Self-Driving effort.
It could be surprising, considering how consistently O’Dowd has been attacking Tesla and Elon Musk, but he is apparently a fan of Tesla vehicles other than its Autopilot and FSD Beta, which the Roadster is not equipped with anyway.
He already owns a couple of Roadsters, according to What’s Inside’s video.
Now, if you are familiar with What’s Inside, you know that they tend to cut through things to find out what’s inside them, but obviously, Dan won’t be doing that with these Roadsters. The video is still a great look at what could be some of the best-preserved Roadsters on the planet.
Also, we now learn how much O’Dowd paid for the Roadsters.
Carl Medlock of Medlock and Sons, an independent Tesla repair shop, helped O’Dowd in the purchase and confirmed that the billionaire paid $800,000 for the three Roadsters.
That’s well below the up to $2 million offers that Gruber teased. In fact, Medlock claims that the only other big serious offer was for $500,000.
Regardless, at an average of over $250,000 per Roadster, it makes them some of the most valuable Roadsters to date.
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