I hate say I told ya so (not really) but…..  


Battery costs for electric vehicles are falling faster than industry estimates — study

Umair Irfan, E&E reporter

Costs of battery packs in electric vehicles are declining faster than expected, according to a new report.

While industry analysts predicted battery pack costs would decline from $1,000 per kilowatt-hour to $410 per kWh between 2007 and 2014, costs have now declined below $300 per kWh.

“The key highlights are that the costs are lower than expected and the decline has been very rapid,” said Björn Nykvist, a researcher at the Stockholm Environment Institute.
Nykvist reviewed 85 published cost forecasts for batteries in electric vehicles in a study published yesterday in the journalNature Climate Change.
Battery packs are often the single most expensive component in an electric car, adding up to anywhere between a quarter to a half of the vehicle’s sticker price. This adds a significant premium compared to a comparable gasoline drivetrain. For example, the 2015 Ford Focus retails for $17,000, but the electric version starts at $29,000.
Bringing down the cost of an electric drivetrain is therefore an important step in increasing adoption of zero-emission vehicles. In the United States, transportation accounts for 28 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, so electrifying cars and trucks stands to make a dent in carbon pollution.
The Department of Energy reports that there are already more than 3 million electric-drive vehicles on the road in the United States. Between 1999 and 2012, these vehicles saved $16.6 billion in oil.
Figuring out when electric cars will hit the tipping point of competitiveness with gasoline is tricky because the technology is new and advancing rapidly, but many manufacturers are aiming to bring costs below $150 per kWh.
Nykvist drew a distinction between cost, which is a function of raw material and processing, and price, which shifts according to market forces. Falling costs reflect improvements in technology and economies of scale, but price changes based on demand and tax incentives.
Room to cut more costs
The accelerated price drop comes from general improvement in battery chemistry and economies of scale as more manufacturers step in. However, a battery pack includes power management hardware, cooling systems and safety features. Engineers have found ways to trim costs in these components, as well, which may explain part of the discrepancy between forecasts that didn’t account for these improvements and actual costs.
Claus Daniel, deputy director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Sustainable Transportation Program, who was not involved in the study, said he agreed with the cost projections but was not surprised by the rate of decline.
He noted that DOE set a cost target of $125 per kWh by 2022 and that the agency’s cost trend estimates have proved correct so far.
To get the rest of the way to the goal, Daniel said, there are two main strategies: increasing energy density in batteries and curbing manufacturing costs. Increasing energy densities requires finding better materials and chemistries for storing electricity.
Manufacturing, on the other hand, is ripe for improvement. In particular, Daniel said there is vast room for reducing costs in indirect materials, which are materials that are required to build something but don’t make it into the final product.
An example is the solvent used to print electronic components in a battery, N-Methylpyrrolidone. The substance is toxic and flammable, so replacing it with something safe and inert like water could reduce electrode manufacturing costs by 75 percent, according to Daniel.
“The product you buy is exactly the same; the way you get there is different,” he said.
Twitter: @umairfan | Email: uirfan@eenews.net

Leave a comment

FranklyTalking © 2024 All rights reserved.