A new competitor is attacking the German energy market - with a sonorous name: Tesla. Hardly noticed by the public, the electric car pioneer introduced its first tariff for green electricity and is causing a stir in the industry.
"We take Tesla very seriously and watch exactly what they are up to," says one of the major German electricity companies. Tesla not only sells electric cars, but has also been selling electricity storage systems and solar roofs for a number of years - and now also electricity. In this country, the first electricity tariff from Tesla boss Elon Musk is still regionally limited to southern Germany.
However, energy managers and experts trust Tesla to shake up the energy market just as they did the auto industry. Tesla boss Elon Musk has great ambitions - ambitions that go far beyond the production and sale of electric cars.
The company now acts as an energy supplier in various countries around the world, including Germany. What makes local electricity providers so unsettling about this is not Tesla's prices, but rather a very specific piece of software.
Tesla has become one of the energy suppliers - not just today, but some time ago: With huge batteries for companies and entire communities, battery storage systems and solar tiles for homes, as well as its own electricity tariffs, the electric car manufacturer is active in various countries around the globe.
This includes the USA and Australia, but also Spain, England and Germany.
Tesla boss Elon Musk is convinced that his electric cars can only do something against the climate catastrophe if they are also charged with green electricity Granted: In Germany, Tesla's electricity tariff can only be obtained in Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria, where the US company has teamed up with the British energy provider Octopus Energy.
In addition, the electricity supply can only be used by customers who also have a solar roof and the powerwall. In addition, the first reviews are mixed - Tesla's electricity tariff is not that cheap in this country, even if prices are falling and the offer is soon to be expanded to other federal states.
However, Tesla's electricity prices are also not the point that worries German electricity suppliers. In an interview with the business magazine Handelsblatt , a representative of an energy company confessed:
"Just as Tesla changed the rules of the game in the automotive sector, we also trust them to disrupt the energy market" - and this is mainly due to software called "Autobidder", which Tesla used. Tesla describes the software as follows: "Autobidder offers independent power producers, utilities and capital partners the ability to autonomously monetize battery resources.
Autobidder is a real-time trading and control platform that offers value-based asset management and portfolio optimization and enables owners and operators to set operating strategies configured to maximize return according to their business objectives and risk preferences."
Tesla can benefit from its strong brand: The company has many fans, the marketing runs by itself, so to speak. Anyone who buys or leases a Tesla could combine that with an energy storage device, a solar system and the right electricity tariff. Klaus Kreutzer from the consulting firm Kreutzer Consulting has been analyzing the energy market for years.
He told Handelsblatt: "If the company starts to put together large bundles, it will become a serious player on the electricity market."
"Established suppliers can no longer get hold of customers who have been tied to Tesla for so long," says Kreutzer. "The brand alone is already pulling."
Car production is currently still a priority at Tesla. When the semiconductor crisis is over, the production of Tesla's Powerwalls will be "massively ramped up", according to Musk. According to the Handelsblatt, industry circles assume that Tesla will offer electricity nationwide by the beginning of 2022 at the latest. Where Tesla Energy turned over two billion dollars last year and thus made no profit, annual sales are expected to be eight billion dollars by 2025.