Elon Musk’s plan to “operate as a giant distributed utility” is creeping towards reality.
First, Tesla piloted a “virtual power plant” in California, in which Powerwall home battery owners were invited to sell stored electricity back to the grid to mitigate brown outs. The automaker then expanded the effort into Australia and Japan. Next, it’s coming to Texas — with a twist.
On Thursday, the company announced Tesla Electric, an electric plan exclusively offered in parts of Texas where retail choice is available, like Houston and Dallas. The product turns Tesla into a retail electric provider in the lonestar state, and lets Powerwall owners sell excess electricity back to the grid, with Tesla as the go-between.
Tesla said that owners of its big batteries with homes in those metropolitan areas will “see a banner appear on your Powerwall home page in the Tesla app.”
Though Tesla Electric builds on the company’s vision to grow well beyond automaking, other car makers are also toying with this idea, including GM, which is working with solar seller SunPower; and Toyota, which said today that it is teaming up with a utility in Texas.