The experience curve for Li-Ion EV batteries shows a rapid rate of price reduction. There are some pretty optimistic numbers coming out from analysts for the cost of Lithium Ion batteries in the not to distant future. It is looking likely that they will drop from today’s $500+ / kwhr to below $200 / kwhr by 2020 and $160 / kwhr by 2025. Using the experience curve in the link above, assuming a 30% annual growth rate for EVs, adjusting for more recent battery cost data data and then using the less steep learning curve associated with consumer electronics, we come up with $100 / kwhr by 2029 and $50 / kwhr by 2034. McKinsey, Navigant and Elon Musk’s projections get us to the $160 / kwhr and I have done the additional extrapolations.
UPDATE: October 2015: GM Claiming $145 / kwhr batteries beginning 2016 HERE. Note, this is cell cost not fully assembled battery pack. However current news coming out of GM and Tesla strongly suggest that my prediction of $100/kwhr which seemed optimistic 2 years ago, was actually conservative and it appears we will reach that benchmark much sooner.
UPDATE: July 2015: Updated Bloomberg Li-Ion experience curve HERE
UPDATE: October 2014: Now experts are openly talking about $100 / kwhr in 10 years.
UPDATE July 2014: Nissan has introduced replacement battery packs for $270 / kWhr suggesting that the more aggressive projections by Navigant are on target.*
UPDATE June 2015: Plot of EV competitiveness reflecting collapsing battery prices and firming gasoline prices. The current conditions are reflected in the rectangle at lower left in the graph above.
Lithium Ion Experience Curve Further cost reductions may be achieved through repurposing the batteries after they are depleted and their capacity to weight ratio is insufficient for transportation. See this link for post vehicular grid storage. This may also end up being a real problem for the flow battery folks. Even though their solution may be better, this may give Lithium Ion and its successor technologies the edge through scale and learning curve benefits.
UPDATE: Goldman Sachs, in their Low Carbon Economy report showed that they are expecting significant improvements in the EV sector as well. They put together the graphic below:
* Near term Nissan is taking a loss. However there is currently little demand for replacement batteries. It is a near certainty that they have priced this so that when demand becomes substantial it will be break-even or profitable.
Comprehensive post aggregating links on Li-ion technology – Supply, Technology, Costs etc. Experience Curves explained HERE Recent update on cost of Lithium Ion batteries HERE clean Technica About 5 minutes into this video the presenter talks about the rate of Li-ion battery improvement and the expectation that it will continue. http://gmauthority.com/blog/2013/11/lithium-ion-battery-prices-expected-to-drop/
Another article predicting cost declines in Lithium Ion technology.
EPRI Li-ion battery study – From 2009 but useful Lithium sources are being looked for and found Here . EV prices expected to drop below that of ICE vehicles Here . Clayton Handleman, Tesla, Elon Musk battery cost curves, battery costs, EV Cost reduction, battery cost reduction, batteries