Tesla Powerwall smarter integration with vehicle charging hinted at in API code

Tesla Model 3 with Powerwall home battery storage unit (Credit: Marco Papa/Teslarati)

Recent observations from Tesla’s Powerwall API hint that the company’s electric cars will soon have a feature that will allow them to communicate better with the home battery system. With such a system in place, Tesla’s electric cars will not drain the Powerwall when the grid goes down.

The upcoming Powerwall and Tesla integration feature was first spotted by Model X owner and Reddit user u/cwiedmann.

“Looking through the data returned from the API, I see there’s now evidence of upcoming features for integrating Powerwalls and car charging as Elon mentioned. This appears to be support for preventing car charging from draining the batteries when the grid is down and maybe to allow the car to absorb surplus solar energy,” u/cwiedmann wrote on the r/TeslaMotors subreddit.

When the grid goes down, Tesla Powerwalls can meet the energy demands of a home, including charging an electric car like the Model 3, Model X, or Model S. That being said, there’s a big room for improvement especially when it comes to how a Tesla vehicle communicates with the home battery system. Tesla’s electric cars have massive battery packs after all, and they can drain an off-grid Powerwall if left unattended.

This appears to have happened in May 2019 to Tesla owner Erik Strait, who also runs the YouTube channel DӔrik. Strait brought up the Powerwall issue they encountered in Colorado and suggested features that may come handy to consumers, such as a setting that allows the home battery system to prevent cars charging when they are off the grid. Tesla CEO Elon Musk responded with a brief “Coming soon.”

Elon Musk posted his response to the Tesla owner-enthusiast last May, and there have been few updates on the feature since. Nevertheless, references to the feature in the Powerwall’s API today suggests that the home battery-electric vehicle integration may be coming sooner than expected. How the functionality will be rolled out remains to be seen too, but there’s a good chance that Tesla may introduce the feature through an over-the-air update, similar to how the company activates “Storm Watch” for Powerwall-equipped homes located in areas that are facing natural disasters.

Ultimately, the upcoming Powerwall feature shows that Tesla is making a lot of headway in integrating key features of its energy products and its electric cars. This ecosystem could ultimately encourage buyers of Tesla’s electric cars to adopt the company’s energy and battery storage products too, similar to how Apple has encouraged customers to purchase devices within its product line due to their feature integration.

These recent observations on the Powerwall API also invoke some thoughts on a feature that was mentioned by Elon Musk back in 2018. In a tweet then, Musk noted that it may be worth revisiting the idea of using its cars as batteries that output power, similar to a V2G (vehicle-to-grid) system. Tesla does seem to be exploring this idea recently, as hinted at by the Cybertruck’s capability to use its massive battery pack to power tools from its onboard outlets.

Teslarati will update you once the Powerwall-Tesla electric vehicle integration feature goes live. For now, this is a welcome development so the habit of “always be charging” does not lead one to a home without power. But of course, there’s always Camp Mode just in case.

Upcoming Powerwall/Vehicle Integration API Leaks from r/teslamotors

Randell Suba: A curious soul who keeps wondering how Elon Musk, Tesla, electric cars, and clean energy technologies will shape the future, or do we really need to escape to Mars.
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