Tesla has released a new software update for its Powerwall home battery system that will coordinate vehicle charging during a power outage.
The Tesla Powerwall will now take into account the energy needs of a home while charging the vehicle. If the home battery unit does not have enough energy to maintain the home’s essential needs and charge the vehicle, simultaneously, Powerwall will stop charging the Tesla vehicle.
In May 2019, Tesla CEO Elon Musk stated the feature would be “coming soon,” after Twitter follower and content creator DaErik asked if a better system could be enabled that would allow vehicles to not charge and use stored energy during outages. In February 2020, Tesla hinted at this update, citing Powerwalls ability to communicate more efficiently with charging vehicles. This would eliminate the possibility that vehicles would continue charging during an outage, thereby draining the Powerwall and leaving little energy left to power the home.
Tesla details the new Powerwall feature on its website:
“Powerwall now coordinates with Tesla vehicles during a power outage to charge your car without exceeding the energy and power capabilities of your Powerwall. The Powerwall reacts to the power needs of your home and will slow or stop your vehicle’s charging, keeping your home loads powered.
During a power outage, your Tesla vehicle will charge from the Powerwall whenever it is above the threshold set in the Tesla app. You can change this threshold to balance your home and transportation energy needs.
Keep your vehicle plugged in while the sun is shining, and surplus solar will charge your vehicle. Charging stops when Powerwall’s stored energy drops below your set threshold.”
Currently, the feature is available for the Model 3 and Model Y’s North American customers running software 2019.40.1 and newer. Owners must also have version 3.10.2 or later of the Tesla Mobile app, and software 1.46 or later on their Powerwall.
The behavior of the new system is outlined in a chart provided by Tesla as well, which shows Powerwall will make based on the state of its grid.
While the Powerwall is operating on a grid with any electric load, the vehicle will charge as usual. If there is a power outage in the area and Powerwall shows a surplus of energy that remains above the energy threshold, the system will then base the charging speed off of the home’s electric load if the load is low, the vehicle charges with surplus power and energy. If the load is high, the car will charge at a slower rate as the Powerwall will prioritize the needs of the home primarily.
Finally, if an outage is present and the Powerwall shows storage below the energy threshold, the car will automatically stop charging.
The advantages of this new system layout an easy system for owners who utilize both a Tesla vehicle and an energy storage system. Power outages are inconvenient for anyone, but luckily the new energy management system will allow owners not to charge their cars excessively while risking a possible disruption in power to their home.