- Energy entrepreneur Elon Musk believes electric vehicles will boost power demand and help the utility industry avoid the so-called "death spiral," where increasing numbers of power customers leave the grid for distributed generation options.
- Speaking at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Musk said in the long-term power demand could double — and even half is met by solar power, the utility business model can remain intact.
- Musk is the CEO of Tesla Motors, a leading electric vehicle company and chairman of SolarCity, the nation's largest solar installer.
PV Magazine reports Elon Musk spoke at a crowded press conference in Detroit, assuaging fears that the utility industry has reached the precipice and predicting long-term power demand to double as electric vehicles become widespread.
"The future for utilities is actually not a bad future; it’s pretty good," Musk said. "As we transition to electric transport, we’re going to see a significant increase in the demand for electricity."
Musk is CEO of Tesla Motors, which last year announced plans to build a $5 billion Giga factory to produce lithium-ion batteries. Initial production is slated to start by 2017 and the plant aims to reach full capacity by 2020, when it could be producing 35 GWh of lithium ion cells annually.
There are already about a quarter million plug-in vehicles on the roads and a suite of new projects and products aimed at the growing industry. In 2012, President Barack Obama set a goal for the United States to produce a plug-in vehicle as affordable as a traditional gasoline-powered vehicle.
Morgan Stanley predicted there will be 3.9 million Tesla cars on the road by 2028, which will be able to store 237 GW of capacity.