Battery costs for electric cars 87% lower in 2021 than in 2008

Battery costs for electric cars 87% lower in 2021 than in 2008-costs

A study by the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Vehicle Technologies Office estimates that the cost of a lithium-ion battery pack for electric vehicles fell by 87% between 2008 and 2021. Fluctuations in the dollar exchange rate are ignored. A development that benefits the growth of e-mobility.

This also coincides with the subjective feeling that there has been a clear downward trend in battery costs for years. This development is important because batteries, as key components, account for the majority of the costs of electric cars and stationary energy storage. Today these products are not yet fully competitive. Further battery cost reductions are therefore necessary so that e-cars can experience a breakthrough in the masses.

In the electromobility scene, the $100 threshold is considered to be the point at which electric cars become cheaper than models with internal combustion engines. A study from January 2017 by McKinsey expects battery prices of $100/kWh by 2030 – Tesla wanted to achieve this by 2020. There has not yet been any communication as to whether this has been achieved. However, one can assume that Tesla is taking the right steps in this direction by setting up its own battery cell production.

In September 2020, the Tesla boss already had batteries that were half as expensive and an electric car for 25.000 dollars announced for the next three years. As part of his presentation at the conference on the European battery industry, he went one better. He explained that his long-term goal is $50 per kilowatt hour at the cell level for a “long range battery cell.”. In other words, for a battery cell running in series. How huge this step into the cent range per kWh would be becomes apparent when you look at the figures from the consulting firm Strategy& next to it. As recently as September, they predicted costs of €68/kWh in 2030. Tesla will probably achieve this through a variety of factors, all of which should contribute to the desired goal. Not only the format of the cell and its structure want to be adjusted. Progress has also been made on the battery cell chemistry side.

A few more figures on the reduction in costs for a lithium-ion battery pack for electric vehicles mentioned at the beginning. Estimate for 2021 is $157/kWh based on usable energy (equivalent to $143/kWh based on rated power) at large scale production i.e. 100.000 units per year. In 2008 there were still 1.$237/kWh based on usable energy. The cost reduction is a combination of improvements in battery technologies and chemistries and an increase in production volume.

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3 thoughts on “Battery costs for electric cars 87% lower in 2021 than in 2008”

  1. Tesla has done this very cleverly in PR for years, so that they behaved as if they were developing cells themselves. After it became clear that this is not the case, they somehow tried to give the impression that they were one step ahead, more capacity and lower costs, even though they were simply buying from big manufacturers.

    However, at the small customer checkout, because one never signed large supply contracts due to financial difficulties. Things first cracked two years ago when drunken VW executives revealed that VW was buying under $100 a kilowatt hour. It also turned out that the assembly at Tesla is significantly more expensive because 8256 cells have to be used and wired for the largest battery, while – current example – the much larger battery of the EQS has only 216 cells. Of course, the construction of the battery does not count in the production time for a car that can be communicated as a benchmark. But it still has to be paid for. Tesla then started Project Roadrunner, which, in addition to PR fodder, included many small-scale goals, such as laser spot welding of the cells. So you were at the back..

    I don’t know where the researchers got their prices from. The cost of the battery is a lot of work and a lot of irrelevant hardware. In this respect, they are significantly higher than the cell prices, but they currently start at well below €60/kWh. CATL announced prices last year. Can be found with the following search words: catl 60 euro kwh

  2. The empirical data and strategic considerations at the beginning and end of the article are very interesting.
    On the other hand, there would be no need to try to reconcile reality with the predictions of the Prophet. He talks a lot when the day is long. A few years ago, the Prophet announced $100/kWh for 2020, McKinsey does not see that until 2030. Anyone can believe whatever they want.
    The price development shown here should finally bury the numerous conspiracy myths according to which the established manufacturers and the oil lobby choked off the BEV decades ago for sinister motives, even though it already existed. If today it is hardly possible (without subsidies) to build a marketable BEV – primarily because of the cost of the battery, the rest is rather cheaper – then it was clearly completely impossible at the time. These were small series, where the manufacturers had massively upped the ante.

  3. Lithium iron phosphate (and other lower-end technologies to come) have arrived at around $60/kWh at the cell level and around $100 at the battery pack level. Why is someone prophesying 2030? These things have some advantages and some disadvantages compared to “classic” lithium cells, but they are finding their way into BEVs with vehemence.


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