Just a week after it was launched, the Tesla Powerwall was reportedly sold out on pre-order until the middle of next year. Which means the chances of getting your hands on one of these home battery kits designed by South African-born entrepreneur Elon Musk’s firm any time soon are slim.
The good news, however, is that there’s plenty of local firms working on similar ideas for reducing the cost of home energy storage to supplement domestic solar or mitigate the problems of loadshedding. Not so long ago, I wrote about NetshieldSA’s locally designed inverter system which can take you totally off grid at an affordable cost. This morning, another SA firm, Freedom Won, has announced a Powerwall-type system – the FreedomCOR (pictured above).
Like Tesla, Freedom Won’s background is in electric vehicles. Unlike Tesla, Freedom Won doesn’t build its own cars, rather it converts existing vehicles – like this awesome game spotting Land Rover at Chobe game reserve in Botswana.
Again, echoing Tesla, the choice of battery technology for the FreedomCOR is lithium ion cells. These are slightly more expensive than lead acid batteries, but smaller and more robust. Freedom Won says that its kits can cycle 5 000 times and are therefore good for at least 13 years before they need replacing.
The idea, the firm says in a press release this morning, is that they can be charged from the grid to supplement power during loadshedding or, ideally, paired with solar panels on the roof to take you off grid altogether.
We haven’t got full pricing details for all the models available from the company yet – we’ll update as soon as we do – but kits range in size from 5kWh to 30kWh and are, the firm says, fully modular so you can add more on as you need.
The the 10kWh capacity FreedomCOR is planned to retail at R57 170 ex VAT. In the US, a similar Powerwall comes in at $3 500 (approx R41 300), so not a huge difference once import taxes are taken into account. Both systems you’d need a separate inverter still, but the Powerwall seems to include more charging and internet connectivity options.
I’ve not had a chance to speak to Freedom Won directly yet or get a look at the actual product, so we’ll be following up over the course of this week.