Mercedes residential storage systems
Moving away from the classic Mercedes car brand once more, Daimler AG have created a new company, Mercedes Benz Energy Americas LLC and are set to launch their new residential battery system this year. The company is said to be in direct competition with fellow German battery firm, Sonnen and be aiming towards taking on Tesla’s Powerwall.
To assist, Daimler have hired Boris von Bormann, Sonnen’s former CEO, to oversee the newly formed company’s launch. Having worked for over 3-years on Sonnen’s entrance to the American market, Mercedes executives hope that he will bring his wealth of experience and expertise.
In an early statement Boris von Bormann commented on the easily integrated nature of such systems within Germany. “With a German household, it’s a very simplified sale… There is one tariff structure throughout Germany. The only use case is solar self-consumption.”
Additionally, the high retail cost of electricity in Germany creates strong financial incentives for energy storage systems that employ solar power batteries so that harvested energy can be discharged throughout the day.
US market requires a more tailored approach
In the United States, however, residential use will require a more tailored approach. New governance makes the state of play unpredictable, but there’s already a huge disparity in tariffs, usage and general demographics. It seems energy storage systems will succeed where appropriate rate structures with a focus on time-of-use shifts and demand-charge reductions are identified.
Predictably, von Boorman noted that with respect to the United States, Mercedes will have to change their cases, software applications and product applications to fit the market. However, adopting a more specified approach could see Mercedes batteries flourish towards their goal of rivalling Tesla in the United States.
Storage systems that use solar batteries will be of more use for harvesting power in sunnier states than they will in Germany. Also, because an American household tends to consume more power than its European counterparts, U.S. battery and inverter sales will likely be higher than in Europe.
Daimler’s announcement certainly brings a significant player into a large and continuously growing field of competitors hoping to capture America’s energy consumers. Mr von Boorman was optimistic about Mercedes’ entrance to the US market, stating; “ There’s room for a few players to have significant market share.”
The rapidly growing demand for energy storage and generation systems is no secret. It’s essential for those looking to go off-grid, utilise grid-tied options and acquire a cleaner and more secure way of powering their homes and businesses.
A comparison between Mercedes and Tesla
So how will the Mercedes residential system stack up to the most notable of home battery options, Tesla’s Powerwall? From a pure energy standpoint, Tesla’s Powerwall is at a significant advantage. The mountable device holds 6.4 kWh of energy and can be stacked together to provide up to 58 kWh. In comparison, Mercedes batteries can store only 2.5 kWh and be stacked to provide 20 kWh of storage.
The discrepancy in storage capacity is due to a difference in size. The Mercedes battery is much smaller than Tesla’s – weighing under 66 pounds compared to the 200-pound Powerwall. For homeowners looking for a smaller, more discrete option, the Mercedes design could have a slight advantage over Tesla.
They two home systems also function slightly differently. The Powerwall stores energy generated by solar panels and can draw power from the utility grid for later use. Mercedes batteries currently can’t draw from the grid as net metering is not an option in Germany, so the main difference is due to the geography of each home system.
Residential cost considerations
Most importantly, what are the cost considerations? The Tesla Powerwall is priced between $3000 and $5,500 USD excluding the installation fee and inverter costs. Mercedes have so far declined to provide the price of their unit, stating that it will be left up to distributors. Like the Powerwall, acquiring a Mercedes home unit comes with extra costs such as installation fees and a separate inverter. Without a set price, it’s hard to determine the clear winner for now.
We do know that Mercedes are setting their sights on more than just the residential storage sector. They’re hoping to create what they’ve termed an “ecosystem” which includes EV chargers as well as automobile automation. The company aims to sell 10 or more EV models by 2025 and have invested around 1 billion euros in order to scale production capacity. Mercedes are currently looking for partners for distribution and installation of the systems.