Premium all-in-one power system face-off — Tesla Powerwall vs Huawei Power-M vs Livoltek

South African households who want a backup power system with as few cables as possible, a sleek design suitable for placement near common living areas, and a quick and simple installation can opt for an all-in-one system.

The two key parts of a backup power system — the inverter and battery — are often sold separately.

Unique configurations of the plethora of models of each system available on the market require professionals to link them together using specific cables that carry the alternating (AC) and direct current (DC).

With an all-in-one system, much of this has already been done, and an installer would only need to connect it to solar and the distribution board (DB).

Elon Musk’s Tesla was among the first major players to bring a premium all-in-one energy storage system (ESS) — the Powerwall — to South Africa.

Following its local introduction in 2020, demand was so high that distributor Rubicon quickly sold out.

The second generation of the Powerwall is currently on sale in South Africa and has also been performing well.

Foschini was one of the businesses that saw the system’s potential, acquiring 307 Powerwalls in 2022 to keep many of its stores operational during load-shedding.

Editorial credit: Roschetzky Photography / Shutterstock.com

Chinese tech giant Huawei launched its rival Power-M line-up in South Africa that same year, with big price cuts in 2023.

Since then, the Power-M has frequently featured in the online catalogues of major retailers like Takealot, AC Direct, and Leroy Merlin.

A lesser-known brand, Hexing Group’s Livoltek, has also been offering its Hyper-5000 ESS in South Africa for several years.

Like Huawei, the company originated in China but has expanded to roughly 90 countries.

While the main idea behind all three of these systems is the same — simple, sleek, all-in-one back — they have some important feature differences to consider.

Firstly, the Powerwall 2’s built-in inverter has a higher short peak output of 7kW compared to 5.5kW on the Power-M and Hyper-5000.

That might make it more suitable for use with appliances that might only have a high startup power draw and then settle down to a lower continuous consumption.

However, all three systems have the same continuous power output of 5kW, so they will generally be capable of powering the same number of appliances.

Huawei’s Power-M system

The Power-M and Livoltek ESS are more flexible with regard to energy storage.

The Powerwall 2 comes with 13.5kWh of useable capacity as standard, making it suitable to power the average household in South Africa for over 10 hours.

To increase the storage, you have to buy an additional Powerwall 2, which will be more expensive than when only adding a battery as it also doubles the inverter capacity.

The Power-M and Livoltek ESS can be configured with either one or multiple 5kWh battery modules, providing a range of energy storage capacity options.

The Power-M can have up to three batteries while the Hyper-5000 supports up to five on the same inverter, for respective maximum nominal capacities of 15kWh and 25kWh.

Livoltek Hyper-5000 ESS

When it comes to picking a spot for your installation, it is important to note that all three systems are rated for indoor and outdoor use.

However, the Powerwall 2 has a higher IP67 rating, while the other two have IP65 ratings.

The first number in the IP rating refers to the level of protection against the ingress of solids like dust, dirt, and debris, and accidental contact.

With a “6” rating, all three models offer high protection in this department.

The second number in the IP rating refers to protection against ingress from liquids — like water.

The “7” in the Powerwall 2’s rating means it is protected against high-pressure water jet streams and can even be safely submerged in water up to a metre deep for a temporary period.

The “5” rating on Huawei and Livoltek’s systems indicates that they are only protected against low-pressure water streams, including condensation and water spray.

Whereas the Powerwall 2 could be placed outside a building with limited protection against the elements, doing the same with one of the other systems could spell disaster.

Keep in mind, however, it is generally good practice to offer some shelter for any important power equipment — particularly batteries with high street value.

Money, money, money

This additional protection of the Powerwall 2 comes with a premium.

It is substantially more expensive than the other two options when configuring them with similar battery capacity.

Recommended retail pricing for the unit is currently R174,000 from Tesla’s official local distributor Rubicon.

We could not find actual selling prices with any online retailers at the time of publication, so pricing might vary.

That price does not include the Tesla Gateway, which is required to add support for a solar connection.

The Huawei Power-M with three batteries and 14.4kWh of useable capacity was available from several stores at just over R100,000.

If you require just the one 5kWh battery, then it can be had for as little as R69,995 from SSS Cellular.

The entry-level Livoltek Hyper-5000 with one battery is the most affordable of the bunch, starting at R49,950 on Takealot at the time of publication.

We could not find preconfigured models available online with similar capacity as the Powerwall 2.

If one were to buy two additional 5kWh Livoltek batteries from Livestainable for R33,999 each, the total price of a 15kWh system would be R117,948.

The table below summarises the differences between the Tesla Powerwall 2, Huawei Power-M, and Livoltek Hyper-5000 ESS.

Battle of the load-shedding batteries
Specifications Huawei Power-M Tesla Powerwall 2 Livoltek Hyper-5000 ESS
Total capacity 15kWh 14kWh 25kWh
Useable capacity 4.8kWh—14.4kWh 13.5kWh 4.6—23kWh
Depth of Discharge (DoD) 100% 100% 90% maximum
80% recommended
Peak output 5.5kW 7kW 5.5kW
Continuous output 5kW 5kW 5kW
Solar support Built-in Requires Tesla Gateway at additional cost Built-in
Wi-Fi connectivity Standard Standard Standard
Environmental protection IP65 water and dust resistant
Indoor and outdoor
Unknown ambient operating temperatures
IP67 water and dust resistant
Indoor and outdoor
Operating temperatures:
-20°C to +50°C
IP65 water and dust resistant
Indoor and outdoor
Operating temperatures:
-20°C to +60°C
Warranty 10 years
6,000 cycles@25℃ and 80% DoD
10 years
Unlimited cycles
Minimum 70% retained capacity
5 years
6,000 cycles @25℃ and 80% DoD
Minimum 60% retained capacity
Service life Unknown Estimated 20 years Unknown
Dimensions and weight 15kWh: 1,471 × 700 × 158mm (166kg) 14kWh: 745 × 490 × 290mm (130kg) 15kWh: 1,690 × 1,040 × 520mm (197kg)
Price R74,499—R109,999 R174,000 RRP R49,950—R117,948

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Premium all-in-one power system face-off — Tesla Powerwall vs Huawei Power-M vs Livoltek