Herve Tardy, Eaton Corp.’s vice president and general manager of distributed power quality for the Americas, kicked off day two of the sixth annual, invitation-only Eaton Partner Summit with a keynote presentation about the future of the power market. Here are just a few of his thought-provoking prognostications.
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Tardy isn’t losing any sleep worrying about current arch-rival APC, as companies with the kind of market share it enjoys can’t launch innovative new offerings without potentially disrupting their own established business lines.*
The company Tardy worries about instead is Tesla Motors Inc. Best known as a maker of electric cars, Elon Musk’s Palo Alto, Calif.-based “startup” (its market capitalization currently exceeds that of far larger and more established Eaton by a wide margin) is on the cutting edge of lithium ion battery design, manufacturing, and management, as reflected by the “Gigafactory” (pictured) it’s building outside Reno, Nev., and the consumer-oriented Powerwall energy storage system it unveiled last year.
“This could become a business application tomorrow,” Tardy notes warily of Powerwall. And competing with Tesla if that does transpire won’t be easy, given that company’s enormous public mindshare and massive media profile.
“For the first time someone was able to make power sexy,” Tardy says enviously of Tesla.
* Changed from an earlier draft of this story, which suggested that Tardy believes APC is incapable of disrupting the power industry any longer due to its entanglements in legacy products. The issue, he believes, isn’t APC itself or its products so much as its position in the marketplace, and the implications that position has for potentially disrupting its own base business.
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