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Tesla Tiny House on Wheels Powered by 100% Renewable Energy!

This is the Tesla Tiny House on Wheels!


Tesla is hitting the road across Australia in a tiny house powered by 100% renewable energy. Join us at one of our upcoming locations to experience how Powerwall and solar can seamlessly integrate to power an entire home.

We want to bring the Tesla Tiny House to you, so you can fully experience what it means to be self-powered. Our next stop could be in your town, tell us where you’d like to see us.1

Tesla Tiny House Powered by 100% Renewable Energy!

Tesla Tiny House on Wheels Powered by 100% Renewable Energy!

© Tesla

Tesla Tiny House on Wheels Powered by 100% Renewable Energy!

Tesla Tiny House on Wheels Powered by 100% Renewable Energy!


Tesla Tiny House on Wheels Powered by 100% Renewable Energy!

Tesla Tiny House on Wheels Powered by 100% Renewable Energy!

© Tesla

Video of the Tesla Tiny House at a Home Show

Learn more: https://www.tesla.com/teslatinyhouse

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Alex

Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!




{ 28 comments… add one }
  • Lori October 10, 2017, 2:30 pm

    Looks more like a show room to me…an advertisement for the car….

    • Alex October 11, 2017, 7:33 am

      It is… It literally was built to help promote their products (cars, solar products, and whatever else they got going on).

  • Tom Osterdock October 10, 2017, 3:58 pm

    I am figuring a Tesla Powerwall II for my Tiny. I think it will be a perfect way for off the grid tinyhouse.

  • carla October 10, 2017, 6:55 pm

    I have to admit I am very intrigued by the tiny/mall house movement. I think I would need small rather than tiny but my question is about solar power. I’m clueless but my question is in real person language, how many hours of power could I expect from average solar panels and must they always be mounted to the roof esp if I won’t be mobil. Sunlight is not a problem here in South Texas. its almost always hot and sunny so here in houston its almost impossible to go without AC. I’m retired now and solar seems worth the investment to save money. Also I dont know much about the tesla batteries but I hear they are expensive?? All thoughts welcome from a newbie considering going small (5ooSF or slightly less) but not tiny

    • Cindy October 10, 2017, 8:22 pm

      Carla, The Tesla’s (and all litium-ion type of batteries) are expensive but the way to go if you’re going to be mobile. Consider checking out if some one in your area is a SimpliPhi Power dealer & run your ideas past them, we’ve installed a couple on Hawaii Island with great success and if the system is sized correctly, has no problem with running an AC.

      • Tom Osterdock October 12, 2017, 1:46 am

        wholesale solar sells the simpli Phi batteries. The 3.4KWH battery is one of them. To equal a powerwall it would take 3.88 batteries to equal the powerwall so saying 4 batteries would cost $14,980.00 and the powerwall costs $5,500.00. the powerwall sounds so much better. The Powerwall 2 is 13.4KWH.

    • Tom Osterdock October 11, 2017, 1:01 am

      Carla, James has given you a lot of good information. James knows a lot and willing to share it. If you want to start learning about solar there are several places. One I like a lot is Altestore, http://www.altestore.com. They sell all solar and wind turbines along with batteries and associated item. I am looking at building a 30 ft. tiny or small if you want to know. I am looking at what I want and looking at different ideas. I originally wanted to bump out the sides but James pretty much talked me out of that along with talking to builders. I do plan on putting solar on the roof for what will fit. When driving during sunlight hours those panels with put electricity in the batts. Now I am only looking at 6-300 watt panels. There are different size wattages on panels. I also plan on putting a wind turbine on also when I stop. I also plan eventually to have up to 12 more panels to put on the ground for added power. Just have to put portable racks for them and am planning a section to hole them. Depending on my decks for my small I will have 504-664 sq ft. in my tiny if all works as I want. I am also retired and when my mom passes I stand to inherit a little bit so plan to build and buy my vehicle once I have the weights of the trailer and my railroad equipment for the truck. If you have more questions ask.

    • James D. October 11, 2017, 8:51 pm

      Oh, forgot to mention that there are also alternate ways to get and use energy from the sun…

      The typical solar electric panels are only converting the visible light part of the spectrum coming from the sun.

      But there’s also infrared where most of the heat gets transmitted and that technology is actually cheaper than the solar electric.

      Solar Thermal Panels, Solar Chimneys, etc. are examples of how that energy can be tapped and then channeled to help reduce your energy needs.

      For the solar thermal panels, you can channel that directly into a water tank to provide you free hot water.

      Bonus with placing these on your house is that they’re drawing the heat gain from the sun away from the house exterior and thus helping to keep the house cooler… Hydronic based versions of this will also add thermal mass to the house to help better regulate temperature.

      For the solar chimney, it can be mounted on the sun side of the house to create a warm up draft that will create negative air pressure that will allow you to draw in cooler air from the shaded side of the house and keep the house ventilated.

      While, if it gets too cold you can reverse the air flow and have the solar chimney pipe warm air into the house.

      Add a little wind turbine in the chimney exhaust and that could be used to charge a battery to run a fan to keep the air flowing at night for a nice closed system…

      These are separate from Solar Electric, and can make your home more energy efficient and at minimal extra cost.

      Mind, heating and cooling are usually the biggest energy cost for a home but using thermal energy is often overlooked among the list of options people consider but it can be the most cost effective option… Especially, as it’s possible to DIY these options.

      The solar thermal panels could also have other heat sources added, like a wood stove… and if you keep that running for long periods you can probably add a thermal-electric generator to help provide some of your energy needs…

      They have kits that can provide anywhere from 15W up to 100W, depending on size of stove and its heat output… Or you can set up a little steam generator… Either way, it gives some idea of the other options you can also consider…

  • James D. October 10, 2017, 8:21 pm

    The majority of the costs comes from the batteries, which is what you’re actually running everything from, especially at night, etc.

    The Solar just needs to be able to recharge the batteries given the number of daylight hours you can get and given your total energy requirements throughout the day.

    The panels don’t have to be on the roof, in fact it’s better to not need to put them on the roof because you can more easily angle them to directly face the sun on a dedicated platform rather than deal with whatever slope your roof provides… Closer to ground can make it easier to access them and thus to maintain them…

    In terms of power, it varies… In terms of efficiency, solar panels are only converting a little over 20% of the sun’s energy into electricity, some are getting close to 30%. This can still be significant as long as you have enough panels…

    Something the size of a van can still have enough panels to provide 900W with standard panels, for example, to give some sense of scale…

    Power will just vary depending on set up, how efficient your equipment is with how long wire runs are, DC vs AC transmission of power, etc., and how much power you actually need to be provided.

    Typically, if you just need power for lights and maybe a small DC fridge then you might be able to get away with a $500 set up… But need full residential house to be support and power anything you may need and the price can go $15,000 to over $30,000…

    But you aren’t limited to all or nothing, for example you can remain grid-tied and just use the solar to reduce your energy needs and thus still reduce your costs.

    Or you may have a very energy efficient home with very energy efficient appliances that don’t require as much power as other home might…

    Along with combining other energy generating sources such as wind turbines, generators, etc. that can give you more flexibility in how to have it set up…

    Mind, when providing your own utilities you’re basically paying an up front cost that’s like paying for utilities for the next several years in advance… So it can take a number of years before you break even and then experience the true savings…

    Getting solar is for long term gains, though there is the benefit of not having to worry about the grid going down, such as whenever a major storm hits and some people choose it because it lets them go places that may not otherwise have power…

    While you can start small and upgrade it over time to spread the costs as yet another option…

  • Lynda P Osborn October 10, 2017, 8:45 pm

    I need information on Solar or wind energy to power my converted short bus which I use as a camper. Can you help me?

    • James D. October 11, 2017, 9:39 am

      What do you need to know Lynda P Osborn?

      There’s plenty of options for a mobile home… Depending on the engine you could have a second alternator installed that’s specifically for keeping your batteries charged properly while traveling and prevents the need to have a separate generator and everything can run from the same fuel tank… Or get a larger alternator if you can only have one…

      Side benefit is an interconnect between the solar batteries and the vehicle batteries means you can always give yourself a jump start from the solar batteries.

      Wind turbine power can be iffy unless you’re either moving or in an area with consistent winds but can still be recommended to provide flexibility in how you can charge your batteries and can work with the solar to make sure you are generating enough per day.

      Your roof may limit how many panels you can have, especially if you need to put antennas, AC units, etc. on top and if it’s particularly curved, but when camping you can always deploy separate solar panels on the ground and that provides the benefit that you can keep the Bus in a shaded area and just run the panels out to the open area to still get power.

      The main thing to worry about when mounting panels on the roof is making sure they are secure enough to handle the high winds when traveling and that the wiring is all properly sealed up so you get no leaks through the roof.

      However, if possible, keep a air gap between the roof and the panels because the panels can get hot and that can conduct through the roof… While it’s good to have a easy way to get to the roof so you can more easily maintain them and monitor your roof for long term issues that may develop…

      Panels may be self sufficient but things like bird poop, leaves, etc. can build up over time. So good to occasionally go up to clean them out.

      Depending on the panels and how they are connected, partial shading may be a issue on power output as it follows the weakest link rule. So one cell shaded can cause all the others to drop output as well.

      A higher cost MPPT charge controller and/or micro-inverter equipped panels can usually mitigate this but it’s good to have a way to see how much power you’re actually getting to make sure the panels are operating at peak and not minimum output…

      The rest is usually just scaling but as long as you keep your needs minimal then a minimal set up can work for you…

      There are other options but they start to require significant modification to the roof and more expensive components.

      But some can be worth it like getting lithium instead of lead acid… Lead Acid is of course cheaper but you can’t drain them more than 30-50% and they are very bulky and heavy… Vs lithium that can be drained to 80-90% and can be a quarter the size and weight.

      So you can save the difference on just how much space they use and on fuel economy by the up to hundreds of pounds savings.

      You can also typically handle higher max loads with lithium, so easier to run an AC, etc.

      There are many conversions out there using solar, and many of them have been documented on you can look them up on youtube, etc.

      The FitRV channel, for example has done solar upgrades, lithium battery upgrade, and second alternator install on their Class B RV.

      On the very high end, there’s examples from a company called Advanced RV which does custom work… Extremely pricey but you can draw ideas from what they have done.

      Using things like a 48v system means it’s much easier to wire long runs and the set up they show can run the AC unit for hours to show what’s possible.

      But on a budget, it’s best to keep goals more reasonable… So you may still have to rely on a generator if you need to run something like an AC while boondocking and only use the solar for more basic needs.

      Lots of options, though… If I didn’t cover what you wanted or you just have any more questions, feel free to ask…

  • Alex October 10, 2017, 9:31 pm

    Great, another expensive toy for rich people to make them feel good about themselves. I remember a few years back I asked a Tesla dealer when an affordable model would be coming out. He told me the model S would be around $60,000 or so. Hilarious.

    $30,000 set up for this tiny house… just wait a couple of years until it goes on the market, it’ll be over $100,000.

    I love what they’re doing over at Tesla, their concepts and product quality are absolutely amazing. But BMWs and Mercedes and homes/condos are so common now…, the well-to-do need to own something that maintains their sense exclusivity. 99% of us can still only afford to get conventional fossil fuel burning antiquities.

    • Alex October 11, 2017, 7:28 am

      I know right. On a better note, here’s a really inspiring example of what you can actually do with the whole tiny house idea (for under $10k in this example): http://tinyhousetalk.com/man-builds-road-warrior-tiny-house-9174/

    • James D. October 11, 2017, 10:02 am

      The rich actually have even more expensive toys… You should check out Will Smith’s $2.5 million travel trailer…

      So this is more the middle class range but can still seem far out of the reach of those in the very low income ranges.

      There are cheaper ways to get the same thing, however… There are people you can check out online that are developing DIY ways to make your own power wall, as well as cheaper ways to source the parts.

      There’s some risk involved, the dangers of handling lithium can be significant if you don’t know what you’re doing but done right you can make a more affordable version.

      Prices will eventually go down, though… Something like the Model S used to cost over $100,000, for example… We’re just still years away before it’s easily affordable.

      Tesla is hardly the only game in town, however… The Tesla power wall is mainly marketed to residential homes anyway. Since it needs to be wall mounted and in a space it can get proper ventilation because it needs to be air cooled to ensure it doesn’t over heat… and not everyone is going to need as robust a system to meet their needs.

      For Tiny Houses… Something to perhaps to at least check out is Incredible Tiny Homes is about to come out with their own solar system option that they’ll offer to their customers that they think they can get done for around a little over $8000 but say it compares to systems in the $15,000 range and can manage to power the AC and even the hot water heater…

      We’ll see but it’s at least a step in the right direction if they can do it…

      They also have a water recycling system that’ll let you use one tank of water for a year, which can be a game changer for people wanting to live off-grid.

      So there’s a number of innovations and options to keep on eye on… Progress may be slow but it’s getting there… Just compare to what solar used to cost 15 years ago…

  • Silver Gypsy October 11, 2017, 7:36 pm

    I’d like to see Tesla, or anybody, develop whatever so that all Tiny Houses are off-grid first and foremost. If someone wants to put in standard hook-ups for back-up, that’s fine, but a THOW should be totally self-sufficient with enough electricity and water production to be able to stand alone without any lines into the city. That’s the challenge: Off-grid at full power and water.

    • Tom Osterdock October 12, 2017, 1:25 am

      I am planning the powerwall 2 for my tiny and is quite cheap compared to other batteries. Tesla has dropped the cost for batteries with this unit. there is a water generator that makes 100 gallons a day and is stackable for more water usuages. It can be found at suntowater.com. It does require solar or electricity along with solar heat. I think it is a great system but would not really be useful for tiny homes on the move.

      • James D. October 12, 2017, 2:18 am

        Yeah, the problem with atmospheric generators is they require a fair amount of power to operate as they’re basically supped up dehumidifiers that push a large volume of air through to draw out the moisture from the air by cooling it and allowing the moisture to condense but this of course won’t work as well in all weather conditions and varying ranges of ambient humidity.

        You can get a more limited effect by just channeling the runoff from the AC, which is basically doing the same thing but on a smaller scale, along with a dehumidifier so you don’t have to rely on the AC, and combine that with rain catchment and you can have something that can at least off-set your water needs while traveling…

        Add a Berkey water filtering system, along with a UV water decontamination system, and it can even be potable, as well as allow some outside sources of water to be made drinkable as well…

        For more consistent and easier to use while mobile option, there’s the system developed by Incredible Tiny Homes… It’s a full house water reclamation system that continuously, decontaminates, cleans and filters the water to let you basically continuously use one tank of water for around a year… Then just replace the water and filters and you’re good for another year…

        They’ve yet to show off their solar power system but if they can offer that at an affordable price then it will be a full off-grid package they can offer…

        They’re particularly committed to offering off-grid solutions because the rules in Tennessee require that their off-grid Tiny House community that they’re setting up must have no gray water discharge… So they borrowed a design from NASA that had been used on the ISS for years to make that work…

        Side benefit, unlimited showers off-grid ;-p

        Combine it with the rain catchment, etc. and you can even manage with a smaller tank for better mobility…

        • Tom Osterdock October 12, 2017, 3:10 am

          I like the rain catchment system and want to be able to have one on my tiny. The only problem I see with the is where I live we could probably get a gallon or two every couple of years. Doesn’t rain much where I live in the desert, plenty of sun though.

        • James D. October 12, 2017, 4:04 am

          Yeah, in desert regions it helps if you can remain stationary so you can scale up the rain catchment system large enough to still provide enough water to last you the whole year.

          It’s basically a matter of scale, the bigger you can go then the easier it would be to turn what little rain you do get into enough to provide for your needs.

          It’s just much harder to do if the only surface area you have to work with is the roof of your Tiny House…

          Homesteadonomics and DIY Homestead Projects are two youtubers who rely on rain catchment and they live in Arizona…

          DIY Homestead Projects (formerly Life In A Box) live in a THOW on their property but as they don’t need to travel they have set up a rather large and elaborate rain catchment system that provides all their needs and they’re basically farming their land too with a couple of permaculture based solutions.

          Like you they only get very little rain each year, but their catchment system is scaled large enough to still make it work and there are other examples where people have managed to turn a piece of the desert into a little oasis…

          It’s just not applicable in your case as you’ll still be traveling and can’t have that large of a setup in a mobile scenario.

          So the system developed by Incredible Tiny Homes may be something to check into as it’s more ideal where other water solutions may not be viable options, at least none by themselves but a combination of them may work for you… Also, a system that recycles water may still lose some to evaporation. So even a few gallons a year could keep that in balance…

          While there’s also costs to consider as each of these solutions do involve some investment and that has to be considered along with the pros and cons of each solution…

    • Silver Gypsy October 12, 2017, 1:05 pm

      Tom O. and James D.: Thank you so much for sharing this valuable information. These improvements are a step in the right direction but we need to keep going. THOWs need to be fully off-grid as standard fare. If the people in NoCal (Santa Rosa) all had fully self-sufficient THOWs, they could have hitched up and driven everything they own out of the danger zone; big insurance savings. Later, they could have returned with just a little yard/grounds clean-up. But they would have needed to be fully self-sustaining with no limitations on their electricity and/or water supplies to be able to park/stand just about anywhere until the fires were under control. This is a goal for all THOWs as SOP (standard operating procedures) what with earthquakes, fires, hurricanes, and storm surges. Just like once upon a time Tiny Houses only came with ladders, storage staircases are a common part of THOWs design features today. Fully off-grid with no limitations is not only do-able, but it is also very eco-friendly. If they can make cars whose whole skin is one solar collector panel, then we can do something like it with Tiny Houses. I’m sorry we don’t have a THOWs online reference or resource center to keep everyone posted on (1) the latest improvements, (2) available land to rent or own, and (3) changes to local residential codes. All of this is vitally important. Again, thank you for sharing this wonderful information that we can all benefit from. 🙂

      • James D. October 14, 2017, 2:21 am

        Agreed, Silver Gypsy, we really need a one stop online resource to make this kind of information easily available to everyone.

        Though, the solar car example has the problem that the brittle solar panels don’t make good surface material for a whole house…

        However, MIT researchers have developed a transparent solar cell that can be integrated as a layer and that could be used for whole house construction but it’s still a few years from reaching the market but we may see solar power windows first…

        While Tesla solar roof tiles are supposedly cheaper than original expectations but still need to reach mass production before they will be widely available.

        Solar panel efficiency is set to improve by about 15% soon with panels set to come out in the next few months and on through next year…

        The components like MPPT charge controller and micro-inverters are getting cheaper as well as batteries.

        Efforts to develop battery capacities sufficient to make electric planes practical are getting closer to realization and when that happens we can have electric cars that can travel over 1000 miles on a single charge and it would be much easier to power our houses.

        There’s also development for those near the sea that that provides a solar reactive paint that reacts with moisture from sea mist to produce hydrogen that then runs through a fuel cell to generate electricity as one of the alternative solar technology they’re also working on…

        Some of these are further away from being useful than others but some are coming out pretty soon. So options available are getting better.

        There’s also options not everyone is aware of like besides skylights you can have solar tubes that channel light into the house without needing a window or skylight.

        Options besides putting in possibly costly windows that you have to worry about durability and insulation is virtual windows… Basically taking a screen connected to a camera and appears just like a regular window and the screen technology is getting close to paper thin… There’s even virtual skylights too…

        Or you can opt for plexiglass double to triple pane windows instead of glass, providing more durability and better insulation value… This is already being done in the UK for RV’s and they’re starting to show up in the states too.

        • Tom Osterdock October 14, 2017, 3:12 am

          James, I like the power glass for windows and am interested in getting Cat 5 glass pricing for my house. I want the outer glass to be cat 5 glass and the middle maybe leaded glass and the inner layer to be smart glass but probably will be regular glass with smart tint for the glass. With power applied it is clear with power off it is opaque.

        • James D. October 14, 2017, 3:40 am

          Yes, there’s certainly multiple ways you can take advantage of a triple pane design.

          Even for art, people can opt for tempered material on the outer layers and put something like stained glass in the middle so they don’t have to worry about it breaking while traveling and add a little insulation it wouldn’t otherwise have…

          While you can also add smart glass to an existing window as you basically just need to add the thin film layer and then wire it up…

      • James D. October 15, 2017, 1:51 am

        Something else to keep an eye on is micro-grids and the ability to not only create them but for people to sell and share power with each other instead of relying on the utility companies.

        There’s presently an experiment being run in a neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY by a company called LO3 that makes use of a credit system based around block chains – an ultra-secure online credit system that tracks transactions between users… Just like Bitcoins or Venom…

        Essentially, they’re allowing residents there the ability to buy and sell electricity directly to their neighbors – cutting out the utility provider entirely.

        Imagine communities where everyone can readily share their solar power…

        Typical power grid distribution has an average 6% power loss or greater, depending on how far the power has to travel that micro-grids can greatly reduce and allow much more efficient use and distribution of power as well as providing another way we can pool resources. So even those of us who can’t readily afford a higher end solar power system can still benefit.

        While other things to look at is the ways they’re starting to figure out how to reduce installation costs…

        An example is Stick-on solar panels, which have an adhesive backing, have just been introduced commercially to the residential market and are a step towards plug-and-play solar systems that of course reduces the time, skill requirement, and work needed to install a roof top solar system… Along with reduced worry about roof maintenance and leaks because a stick on doesn’t require you to drill holes to mount rails to mount solar panels with, which also means you’re dealing with less than half the weight of a typical solar roof install…

        We may also start seeing in the next few years broad spectrum solar panels that make use of UV to the near infrared range of the spectrum that could potentially double the power we can get from the typical panel…

        While on energy storage, MIT professor Yet-Ming Chiang has launched a startup called Baseload Renewables that is trying to bring to market flow batteries, which can be designed with a very high energy-to-power ratio, which means they can hold a lot of energy, and continue delivering it over long periods.

        Though, flow batteries are still a developing technology, the company expects the new sulfur based batteries they’re developing to boast a “multi-day or longer” discharge duration, and last 20 years in the field, but it may be three to five years before we see anything solid from them that may be ready to bring to market.

        But flow batteries could potentially be more economical, better for the environment, and last longer than lithium batteries and there’s at least one company already using them for an electric car…

        The QUANTiNO 48VOLT electric sports car has traveled over 100,000 km to demonstrate the battery’s indurance… I believe the company behind that one is called nanoFlowcell, and while they have been focused on the car application for the last few years it appears they are finally going to branch out into energy storage applications… So they’re another one to keep an eye on as well…

        It looks like the Solar Windows I mentioned before are getting closer to coming to market, multiple companies are running tests on them, but they’re having issues with efficiency and costs that still leave it up in the air as to whether they will actually bring it to market or wait till the technology improves more…

        While on construction, one engineering company to keep an eye on is called Ten Fold Engineering… They’ve developed a folding technology that has a wide range of applications to turn easily transportable structures that can expand to a much larger size.

        This covers everything from instant road barriers, to turning shipping container into a full two story house, or modular structures that can be stacked and have interior layouts that are customizable with minutes, etc.

  • James D. October 13, 2017, 1:51 pm

    Here’s an example of someone using many of the options mentioned.

    Done on 4 acres near the Maine coast, the owner has a garden and a tiny house, built on a 48 foot refrigerated over-the-road trailer. Half of the trailer is living space, the other half is a workshop.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6x974hnDKE

    Implementing Solar Thermal with heat exchanger, Solar power, wood stove, diesel generators, water pumps with gravity fed distribution. DC power distribution with 6v, 12v, and 18v set up… He’s basically got all his bases covered and is providing all his own utilities.

    Still a work in progress, thus the construction mess, but gives some idea how it can be done for those thinking of going off-grid… At least while stationary on a property, though, this set up can still be moved… And despite how advance the set up is it’s entirely DIY…

    • Tom Osterdock October 13, 2017, 11:35 pm

      Jame s, thanks I really liked the video. Interesting how he did things, The power routing does not look efficient but it works, I hope it is safe or there could be a hot time in the old town tonight. Very interesting what he has done and if he had planned ahead of time I bet it would of really been fantastic. Good job to him though.

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