Tesla‘s Powerwall and Powerpack batteries have generated a massive wave of interest – just ten days after launch the company sold out of the Powerwall until mid-2016, and Musk conceded that Tesla should make its 5 million square foot Nevada battery factory “bigger.” This enthusiasm has translated into $800 million worth of reservations, according to Bloomberg Businessweek—and if Tesla can turn that interest into actual revenue, the battery could hit $1 billion in sales faster than the iPhone.
Bloomberg’s math on the Powerwall reservations goes like this: Tesla has received 38,000 reservations for between 50,000 and 60,000 Powerwall units, which at $3,000-$3,500 a unit, averages to $178.8 million in orders so far. The only problem with these reservations is that they are made as no-strings attached expressions of interest on the company’s website.
Utility companies, however, have also been making reservations—lots of them—and those seem much more reliable. The commercial-scale Powerpack has received around 25,000 reservations totaling 2.5 million kilowatt hours, priced at $250/kWh—that amounts to around $625 million in reservations that are likely to be fulfilled by the buyer. That figure alone is pretty staggering.
So Bloomberg Businessweek has taken a look at how this launch might stack up against two of the other biggest new product launches of recent years: the iPhone and Viagra. The publication admits there’s an aspect of apples-and-oranges to this—the Powerwall is significantly more expensive than either, and Viagra is substantially easier to manufacture than the others. But it still makes for an interesting comparison.
The iPhone reached $1 billion in sales in its first quarter, Viagra didn’t make it until the forth quarter (as was the case with Tesla’s Model S. This puts in pretty neat perspective just how much of an achievement it is for Tesla to even begin to approach the $1 billion mark within 10 days of accepting reservations for a new product with deliveries set to start this summer.
And this speaks volumes about the sea change in renewable energy. As Bloomberg highlights: “Musk has brought an Apple-launch level of public interest to what’s essentially a infrastructure product, albeit one with potential to transform the way electrical grids are managed and the speed that solar power is adopted.”