By Michael Mariotte

The Tesla PowerWall. Photo by Tesla.

Last week, Elon Musk and his Tesla corporation changed the world. Or so you might think from reading the press coverage about Musk’s long-expected announcement that the gigafactory Tesla is building in Nevada will produce batteries not only for Tesla automobiles, but to use as storage for renewable energy–especially rooftop solar–as well.

EverReady is probably pretty jealous; an announcement about a new battery has never received so much attention.

As one might expect, the New York Times carried the most straightforward story about the new Tesla battery. The Washington Post took the opportunity to add more context, and useful context at that, to the story in Why Tesla’s announcement is such a big deal: The coming revolution in energy storage.

Jeff McMahon at Forbes took the most provocative approach; his piece was titled Did Tesla Just Kill Nuclear Power?

We reposted McMahon’s piece on Facebook and Twitter–with the added comment: “Yes. And fossil fuels too.” And it quickly became the most popular item we’ve ever posted–as of this morning more than 172,000 people have seen it on their Facebook pages; more than 12,500 have read the article directly from our Facebook and Twitter links. More than 300,000 overall have read it–we suspect that’s far higher than a typical Forbes’ online post.

Clearly, Tesla has tapped into something.

And yet, it’s a battery. The same kind of thing that powers our laptops and phones and kids’ toys. Let’s face it, most Americans probably aren’t nearly as excited about the announcement of a new battery as are those of us who follow energy issues closely.

But don’t tell Musk it’s just a battery. In fact, don’t tell anyone. Because this is, in fact, a game changer.

“Our goal here is to fundamentally change the way the world uses energy,” Musk said. “We’re talking at the terawatt scale. The goal is complete transformation of the entire energy infrastructure of the world.”

No one will ever accuse Musk of thinking small.

What Tesla is doing–and we’re just at the very beginning of this transformation–is changing the entire nature of electricity generation and distribution. Utility executives across the country probably were pulling out their hair as Musk made his announcement last week–at a webcast press conference, powered by Tesla batteries, that began after midnight.

It’s not that Tesla’s technology is unique; there are a growing number of companies in the battery and electricity storage business. But take a look at the Tesla PowerWall above. It doesn’t look like any battery you’ve ever seen. It’s sleek, as beautiful in its way as the latest Apple product. That’s what Musk is aiming for: to make the essentially boring business of storage of electricity as hip and essential as the latest IPhone.

But, unlike Apple which does so at higher price levels than its competitors, Tesla is breaking price barriers.

Before the announcement, energy pundits anticipated that the PowerWall would cost about $15,000. Instead, there are two models: a 7 kw/h battery for $3,000 and …read more

Read more here::