Tesla shops will sell home energy storage as well as electric cars

Tesla's recent acquisition of Solar City mean the automaker's retail stores are about to get a makeover.

/Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters/File
A man looks around a Tesla showroom in Beijing.

Tesla is perhaps best known for its electric cars, but the company has another prominent business as well.

Its Tesla Energy division markets stationary lithium-ion battery packs for energy storage.

Energy-storage systems can increase the utility of home solar arrays, meaning Tesla Energy will likely become more important now that Tesla is set to acquire SolarCity.

The acquisition of SolarCity—which, like Tesla, is controlled by Elon Musk—was approved by Tesla shareholders last week.

Tesla's retail stores may soon get an update to reflect the newfound prominence of energy storage.

The company also plans to revamp the majority of its retail stores to better showcase its energy-storage products, reports Business Insider.

Citing an unnamed Tesla spokesperson, the website said Tesla will remodel its stores to showcase the Powerwall 2 home energy-storage battery pack, and will install new graphics explaining energy-storage products.

Customers will now also be able to order Powerwall battery packs in stores; they were previously available to order online only.

According to Business Insider, Tesla has already remodeled some stores in North America, Europe, and Australia.

These initial locations were chosen to get the new look because they were in local markets Tesla viewed as having particularly strong demand for energy storage.

But Tesla now reportedly plans to offer its energy-storage battery packs at a larger number of locations.

The Powerwall 2 was unveiled by Elon Musk at a media event last month, alongside solar roof tiles for SolarCity.

The second-generation Powerwall battery pack features a new look, and double the capacity of the first Powerwall pack, unveiled in May 2015.

It holds 14.0 kilowatt-hours of energy, compared to 7.0 kWh for the original. (A 10-kWh Powerwall was also offered, but it was canceled in May of this year).

The price is $5,500, and Tesla said at the October launch that deliveries will start in early December.

As Tesla apparently moves to make its energy-storage products more visible in its retail stores, it is also expanding the network of those stores.

In its second-quarter letter to shareholders, Tesla said it would add a new store location every four days throughout the end of this year.

It hopes to have about 440 stores open worldwide by the end of 2017.

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