Tesla CEO Elon Musk has already begun disrupting the auto industry with electric cars. Now, he’s looking to jolt power utilities with a new line of battery packs.

The 43-year-old billionaire at a splashy event Thursday night, unveiled a line of batteries for home, business and industrial use that he says will reduce customers’ dependence on the grid, lowering costs and pollution in the process.

“We’re talking about trying to change the fundamental energy infrastructure of the world,” Musk told reporters gathered at an airplane hangar outside Los Angeles. “This is actually within the power of humanity to do. It is not impossible.”

The smallest battery in the new line, called the Powerwall, is housed in a sleek, six-inch-wide box that can be hung inside a garage or on the outside wall of a house.

“The problem with existing batteries is that they’re expensive, they’re unreliable, they’re ugly and there’s not one single place you can go and buy a battery that just works,” Musk said.

Working with solar panels, Musk said Tesla’s new batteries will “store the energy that is generated during the day so we can use it at night … and there’s a lot more energy generated in the middle of the day than at dawn or dusk.”

Tesla’s 10 killowatt-hour model, which can power a house for 10 hours, according to execs, is priced at $3,500.

That’s far more expensive than many homeowners would be willing to pay, especially as the price doesn’t include the cost of a power inverter and installation.

However, it’s also far cheaper than comparable models on the market, whose price tags are typically well north of $10,000.

The battery packs will initially be produced at Tesla’s California car factory.

Once production shifts next year to its Nevada “gigafactory” that’s under construction, production costs are expected to fall as much as 30 percent.

Musk said Tesla expects a small but growing gross margin in battery products in the fourth quarter and said battery products would be “materially profitable” some time next year.

Deutsche Bank estimated sales of stationary battery storage systems for homes and commercial uses could yield as much as $4.5 billion in revenue for Tesla.

Tesla shares on Friday showed little reaction to the much-ballyhooed announcement, losing 2 cents to close at $226.03


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