World’s biggest battery will power half of Australia

The Spark

5th October 2017

Elon Musk has consistently wowed the world with his innovative projects. His Tesla car company has changed perceptions of electric vehicles, and SpaceX looks like it could beat Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic to the first commercial space flights.

And now, Musk is building the world’s biggest…battery. It’s more exciting than it sounds. Some crude maths tells us that the 129MWh power of the planned Tesla battery is equal to 129,000,000Wh—or around 18.5 MILLION times as powerful as the battery you’d find in the new iPhone 8.

Musk is building his battery, which will be charged by wind power, in South Australia. In an incredible turn of events, the idea was first suggested by Musk on Twitter, received buy-in from the Government within a week and is now half-built.

Essentially, the battery has been designed to stabilise a region where power cuts are frequent, but it could also help bring down energy prices in the area. It will be the “highest power battery system in the world by a factor of 3,” according to Musk. And he has promised to build it within 100 days, or the Government doesn’t have to pay a penny—an oath he says could cost him $50m.

While Musk continues to push technological boundaries, his innovations may take decades to filter through to some of the more everyday consumer products where our real frustrations with battery life lie. We continue to await the arrival of an iPhone whose battery last longer than a day without charging—let alone 18.5 million days—but there are some huge strides being made at this smaller scale that could hit the market in a matter of years.