Home battery “dark horse” Orison can really make Tesla tremble? I’m afraid not yet

Home battery “dark horse” Orison can really make Tesla tremble? I’m afraid not yet

After the failure of the third launch of Space X, at the just-concluded MWC, the home battery “dark horse” Orison made the outside world talk again: Is Tesla’s home battery energy wall a strong enemy?

In early May last year, Tesla officially released the “Powerwall” home battery system, which can store energy obtained from the grid and solar panels in case of emergency. However, there are also many problems with energy walls, such as high prices and difficult installation.

The appearance of Orison has undoubtedly made this “new battery company” anxious again. Orison was originally a crowdfunding project on Kickstarter with a target of $50,000, but as of press time, Orison has actually raised $295,000, almost six times the original plan. Not long ago, the production team also demonstrated this product at this MWC Mobile World Congress.

So does Orison really make Tesla shiver?

What does an Orison battery look like?

According to Veifeng.com, Orison home batteries are mainly divided into two types, one of which is a traditional wall-mounted type similar to Tesla’s energy wall, and the other uses a tower design, which looks a bit like a high-end hi-fi speaker. Both models have a battery capacity of 2.2kWh and can deliver 1.8kWh, enough to provide up to 6 hours of battery life for a laptop or TV, or 24 hours to power a refrigerator. One highlight is that the home battery can also be connected to its own cloud system, find out the time of day when electricity is cheapest, and then use it to meet peak energy consumption, a process that is completely automatic.

Two models of Orison home batteries, source: Kickstarter

Orison CEO Eric Clifton believes that the biggest advantage of Orison over other home batteries (especially energy walls) is that Orison is easy to use and plug-and-play. Household batteries such as energy walls require inverters, and professional electricians are required to specifically connect energy walls into home circuits, which is not only an additional expense, but also requires relevant permits. In contrast, the Orison not only eliminates the cumbersome installation process, but is also small and lightweight (weighing only 40 pounds) and can control the battery through a smartphone app.

In addition, compared with Tesla’s energy wall, Orison’s pricing may also be called an “advantage”. The Orison wall-mounted and tower models cost $1,600 and $1,950, respectively, compared to the $3,000 and $3,500 for the 7-degree and 10-degree energy wall batteries, which is already an “affordable” price.

So can Orison really beat Tesla?

In fact, whether it is Orison or the energy wall, its price is really not affordable. In the case of energy walls, an integrated system that includes solar panels, batteries and converters, smart controllers, building permits, etc., at a total cost of approximately $20,000 or more. Even the Orison, which is nearly half as cheap, is still a big expense for the average middle-class family in the United States. As Digital Trends commented,

“Spending a thousand knives for a 40-pound light that only powers a TV for hours is nonsense for many.”

The implication is that Orison is technically not up to consumer expectations, so even if it works to reduce prices, it may be difficult to use this as a selling point.

In contrast, although the price of energy walls is high, for now, the demand is still considerable. According to Sina Technology, Musk has said that the demand for the energy wall is “crazy”, with 38,000 units booked and production in the first half of 2016 fully booked. This also shows from the side that, at least in the eyes of this part of consumers, the energy wall has achieved “value for money”. Musk also said that while the cost of using energy walls to store residential electricity is still higher than the grid, “it doesn’t mean people won’t buy it.”

This statement is not without reason. Last May, an author of Forbes published a title titled “Why Tesla’s Energy Wall Is Just Another Eco-Toy for the Rich?” The basic point is that using energy walls doesn’t make any economic sense. However, interestingly, after “learning” for a while, the author suddenly changed his opinion and believed that there was still a certain market for energy walls, and he summarized the people who may buy energy walls as follows:

Early adopters who love to try new things

Households already equipped with solar panels (in the United States, solar energy is subject to payment to a solar supplier such as SolarCity, which the authors calculate is higher than the cost of individual home batteries)

Orison两个型号的家用电池,来源:Kickstarter

Greedy people who use energy walls to store electricity during periods when electricity prices are low and eventually sell it at a low price (the United States allows residents to sell excess electricity to the national grid)

People living in areas with high electricity prices, such as Hawaii and Africa

Musk’s brain-dead fan

Well, there are some unreliable entries in the above list, but from the perspective of items 2 and 4, energy walls can at least bring tangible economic benefits to specific groups of people, not just attract attention with environmental protection signs.

In addition, Tesla’s $5 billion effort to build a battery factory in Nevada is by no means out of nothing. The 10 million square foot (about 930,000 square meters) factory is called Gigafactory, and when I hear the name, I feel that it is not small, and some media commented,

Factories with this capacity can produce not only car and household batteries, but also batteries for laptops, mobile phones and other electronic products, and all this is just the beginning.

It is said that due to the strong demand for energy walls, the battery factory may be expanded.

In addition, Tesla has partnered with Panasonic, which provides Tesla with battery cells made in its Japanese factory, which in turn assembles battery modules and packs from battery cells and other components. At present, Tesla is already Panasonic’s largest customer. It can be said that Tesla’s investment in batteries is obvious to all, and it is no wonder that Wired commented on this: Tesla is no longer a car company, but a battery company.

Speaking of Orison, compared to Tesla’s high demand and high investment, Orison is only a start-up project on Kickstarter, and there are many projects that raise a lot of money on Kickstarter and finally abort, and the recent Zano drone is an example. Orison’s plug-and-play may be a highlight that distinguishes it from the energy wall, but if it can’t prove that its core technology (such as power storage capacity) is stronger than Tesla, this small convenience or price advantage alone may not be enough to win the hearts of consumers.

*The article is the author’s independent opinion and does not represent the position of Tiger Sniff Network

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