Tesla to make battery for in-home use, production to begin in 6 months

During an earnings call, the electric-car maker's chief technology officer says the company will unveil a battery for home and business use "fairly soon."

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read

Tesla is powering your car, but could it soon power your home? CBS Interactive

Electric-car maker Tesla is getting into the home-battery business, the company confirmed during an earnings call Wednesday.

Speaking to investors, Tesla Chief Technology Officer JB Straubel said his company plans to unveil consumer batteries that will power a person's home or business "fairly soon." He went on to say that it's possible the product could be unveiled "in the next month or two" and that production on the batteries will begin in approximately six months.

Tesla declined to elaborate on Straubel's remarks.

Tesla has made a name for itself as a leading maker of electric

. The company's luxury vehicles can be priced as high as six figures, depending on model and configuration. Since Tesla's founding in 2003, it's focused on improving car batteries and lengthening the distance electric cars can travel. The company has only recently started talking about powering the home.

Last year, CEO Elon Musk said Tesla was hoping to build a battery, similar to the one found in the company's Model S car, that would sit on the wall in a home and be used for power whenever a person required it. Since it would be placed in the home, Musk said, he'd want it to have a "beautiful cover" and be "plug and play" to make it easy for consumers to use.

Musk didn't disclose his full vision for the project, and whether the battery would power the entire home is unknown. But such batteries could be used in emergencies like power outages or, perhaps, to save energy.

Moving into the space would open an entirely new front for Tesla. The company has proved to be a catalyst for change in the car business, with several major automakers unveiling electric vehicles over the last several years. Tesla's entrance into the home-charging business could spark a similar trend in that realm. Straubel said Wednesday that his company has seen interest from public utilities to possibly collaborate, though he didn't go into detail.

Once Tesla enters the market, the company could have a competitor in the form of Toyota. Late last year, the Japan-based automaker showed off its 2016 Toyota Mirai , running on fuel cell technology. The car includes a plug that the company says could power a typical Japanese home for a week.

In 2014, Tesla's financial performance was a bit of a mixed bag. The company's revenue reached $3.2 billion, up from $2 billion in 2013. However, as expenses piled up, Tesla's losses widened from $74 million in 2013 to $294 million last year. Looking ahead, though, Musk sees growth coming his way. The CEO wrote to investors on Wednesday that he anticipates shipping 55,000 Model S and X vehicles in 2015, up from 50,000 last year. In turn, he expects revenue -- at least in the first quarter -- to rise compared with the prior year.