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Published on April 18th, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan

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EV Battery Prices Fell 14% in Last Year

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April 18th, 2012 by Zachary Shahan
 
 
ev charging

The average price of batteries used in electric vehicles has dropped 14% in the last year (Q1 2012 compared to Q1 2011) with manufacturing up considerably. The average price of an EV battery is now $689 per kilowatt hour, compared to $800 per kilowatt hour in 2011, according to a new Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) report.

Compared to 2009, prices are down approximately 30%. By 2030, BNEF projects battery prices will fall to $150/kWh (in 2012 dollars).

“Electric vehicles such as the Mitsubishi Motor iMiEV, Nissan Leaf or Tesla Model S require between 16 and 85kWh of storage, with a total cost of $11,200 and $34,000, or around 25% of the total cost of the vehicle,” BNEF notes. “Battery pack prices for plug-in hybrid vehicles such as GM’s Volt are on average 67% higher in terms of $/kWh, than those for electric-only vehicles like Nissan’s Leaf. This higher price is mainly due to the greater power-to-energy performance required for plug-in hybrid vehicles.”

Part of the recent cost drops is due to manufacturing supply chain cost reductions, but the main part of the drop is simply due to increased supply relative to demand.

“As reported last year by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, current production capacity for electric vehicle battery packs outstrips demand by over 10GWh, equivalent to around 400,000 pure battery electric vehicles, and the gap is on course to widen to 17GWh by the end of 2013. By comparison, the total number of electric vehicles sold in 2011 was 43,237.”

While this mismatch results in lower profit margins for EV battery companies, it is considered good for the EV industry as a whole and consumer adoption.

“Batteries are one of the biggest drivers of the cost of electric vehicles, and hence of their uptake,” Michael Liebreich, chief executive of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, commented. “A sharp decline in price may be unwelcome for battery manufacturers, but it is essential for the long-term health of the sector. Battery prices will be one of the key pieces of data for investors, policy-makers and the car industry to watch over the next few years, and that is why we have launched this index.”

Source: Bloomberg New Energy Finance
Image: Electric vehicle charging via Shutterstock

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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.



  • RussellLowes

    Why are the author and a commenter putting capacity in terms of kilowatt-hours? A kilowatt-hour (kWh) is a small unit of energy, equivalent to 3413 Btu’s or the heat of 3413 old English matches (the kind to light a cigarette or fire with). What you mean is “kilowatts” which is the capacity to fire up one kilowatt-hour per hour.
    A kilowatt of capacity is capable of producing 8760 kWh in a year (24 hrsX365 days) if that capacity is capable of no down or decreased output. A coal plant might have a 70% capacity factor due to the down time of maintenance, etc. So it might produce 8760X0.70 kWh per kilowatt (kW) of capacity. An average kWh in the U.S. electrical grid systems is about 11 cents. I am sure that a battery has a lower cost than $150/kWh!
    Now the use of “between 16 and 85kWh of storage” seems correct, as this is the total output of energy (not capacity) that a battery can put out over time before it is discharged.

  • M Hurley

    Good news. But living in an apartment in a large city, I still have no way of plugging it in without major inconvenience.
    The electric bike featured recently would be ideal. I see more two wheel commuters in London now than ever. Be good if there was somewhere to hook up to at night.

  • Luke

    So am I correct in understanding the decrease in the cost of batteries is simply due to economies of scale, and not actual efficiency increases? Or is it a bit of both?

    Dang them’ batteries, they be holding us back a bit!

    • http://cleantechnica.com/ Zachary Shahan

      Seems both, but mostly the greater supply compared to demand.

  • Captivation

    Li-ion batteries on ebay are already well below $500 /kwh (when you subtract the value of the free shipping, free charging adapters, etc.) . And 2030 seems like a long wait for prices to drop to $150/kwh. I suspect the projections are somewhat conservative. Granted, I thought the ev1 would manage a difficult survival struggle in 2001. But so many variables have changed direction since then. Gasoline prices are about to ramp up, Climate Change is now obvious, and the ev1 pushed available technology to the limits. Battery technology improves at 9% per year which means that prices should drop by half every 7 years. That means that we should hit $200/kwh by 2020.

    • http://cleantechnica.com/ Zachary Shahan

      yeah, crossing my finger for that. :D

    • Guest

      The only thing “obvious” about man made global warming is that it is a politically motivated hoax.  How many times have the Global Warming alarmist been caught cooking the books now.  You don’t need to do that if the truth is on your side.  Otherwise I agree with your post except that there is one battery technology in large scale testing now that promises to cut the cost of batteries by more than half within the next few years.
      http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/26/envia-claims-breakthrough-in-lithium-ion-battery-cost-and-energy-density/

      • Bob_Wallace

        Ignorance pays us a visit.

        Welcome Guest.  Please don’t walk on the carpet, you seem to have something nasty on your boots.  At least there’s an odor suggesting….

        Hate to bust your bubble, but there are no incidences of climate scientists cooking the books, unless you’re talking about those semi-deniers down in Alabama who have a problem understanding the data they collect.

        Envia does look promising.  We’ve discussed it a few times, as I recall.  Along with EOS, Aquion, the MIT liquid metal battery and a few others.

        Try learning some science.  It will free your soul from the evil ones.  

      • Captivation

         The tragedy of every Mann (Michael): Too many hockey sticks, but no ice left to play on.  I remember a time when a hockey stick was just a hockey stick.  Every Christmas a bunch of us would just show up at the river with bundles of supplies.  Everyone brought something different.  Some brought hot chocolate, others brought shovels to clear the snow off the ice.
        My mom used to fill up balloons with water and let them freeze outside the night before.  When they froze on a board they gained a flat bottom and could be used as curling rocks (you had to peel the rubber off first).  Clearing the “rink” took hours, but once it was done you could play hockey or curl ice rocks.  We took turns.

        Went back for Christmas this year and there wasn’t any ice or snow (and not much river either but then again things always seem smaller as an adult.  Perhaps the reliable river had never been more than a fragile creek?)

        If this isn’t your story then I am sorry for you (you missed some good times) and happy for you (you live in a region where the climate hasn’t changed.)  But since I know that no unaffected regions exist, I think you are simply fooling yourself.  For me to pretend that climate change didn’t exist would require me to dishonor the past and the memories it fostered.

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