Published on January 7th, 2014 | by Zachary Shahan


Are EV Battery Prices Much Lower Than We Think? Under $200/kWh?

January 7th, 2014 by  

A couple of CleanTechnica’s readers/advisors recently gathered together some interesting numbers and insights. To start this piece, I’ll just repost what one of them passed along to me:

I’m finding Chevy Volt replacement batteries online for about $2,300.

$2,300/16 kWh = $144/kWh


On the GM Parts Store site a replacement battery for the 2012 Chevy Volt is listed at $2,305.88. No core (used battery) return required.

That’s 16 kWh. $144.12/kWh. Retail.

From the Volt forum

“When I checked thru a friends Shop about this time last year (to get the ‘good guy’ price), the ‘complete propulsion battery assembly’ for a 2012 (they didn’t Have a price for the 2013 yet at that time) was quoted at $1900. And NO exchange or “core” – they did Not want the old one back, apparently.” [sic]

Here’s another site selling for $2,620.

Volt battery at $2,995. Full retail price.
$2,995 / 16 kWh = $187 / kWh

Discounted retail price.
$2,306 / 16 kWh = $144 / kWh

Dealer’s cash price 30% off MSRP of $2,995
$2,097 / 16 kWh = $131/ kWh

If GM is buying these batteries for even less and making something on them, GM’s cost could be in the $100/kWh range. That would give GM a 30% profit for selling on to dealers. 30% might be high for a pass-through profit.

chevy volt inside

Now, if you don’t obsessively keep up with EV battery prices, let’s step back for some perspective. McKinsey in 2012 projected that EV batteries would get down to about $200/kWh by 2020. A bit more optimistically, Elon Musk in early 2012 projected $200/kWh in the “not too distant future.” Of course, we don’t know exactly what that meant, but it sounds a lot closer than 2020. Based on some investigating in the middle of 2013, some Tesla enthusiasts actually came to the conclusion that Tesla battery packs may be down to about $233/kWh, or even $204/kWh.

Beyond the McKinsey report and Tesla thread, here’s a January 2012 statement from then US Secretary of Energy Steven Chu on EV battery prices that we have over on our “Car Answers” page:

“Overall, the Department of Energy is partnering with industry to reduce the manufacturing cost of advanced batteries. While a typical battery for a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle with a 40-mile electric range cost $12,000 in 2008, we’re on track to demonstrate technology by 2015 that would reduce the cost to $3,600. And last year, we set a goal of demonstrating technology by 2020 that would further reduce the cost to $1,500 – an accomplishment that could help spur the mass-market adoption of electric vehicles.”

I’ve reached out to a couple of other people about these GM battery numbers, since it doesn’t seem like we should be anywhere close to $100/kWh for EV batteries, but neither of my sources have pointed out any glaring mistakes here. I think the best guess so far is simply that GM is dumping batteries. But why would it do so?

I know we have a lot of very informed readers, some of whom are industry insiders. If someone would like to point out an obvious mistake that we are making or something that we are missing, please do so. Any perspective would be appreciated.

I guess the overall questions are: Have we already dropped well below $200 per kWh? Have we already zipped below $3,600 for a Chevy Volt battery pack? Was the DOE way off (or super conservative) with its 2015 projection/goal? Have analysts been way off, projecting much higher EV battery prices than really are out in the real world? Or is GM dumping batteries for some reason? And what would that reason be?

Let us know what you think!

Image: inside a Chevy Volt via Ritu Manoj Jethani /

Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

  • VFanRJ

    The comment above about the Volt battery being as cheap as $2400 online was true until a couple of months ago. I now can’t find anything below $6.6k. Now, all of a sudden the discussion is quite different. It’s not longer equivalent to the price of a head job.

    Unfortunately, GM seems to have backed off its original positioning.

  • K. E.

    Until electric car batteries are equal in price to the battery I buy for my gas-powered car, I think it is still too expensive. Only $1200? For a replacement battery??? These are cars for the luxury set only or the few determined folk out there who don’t mind spending more $$ on an electric car (over time) than a gas powered car. Most of us, however, base our car purchases on cost.

  • john

    sorry to ask such a stupid question but I have no one else to ask. do you know where I can find a lithium ion battery for my superscooter 1000? I went to the site I bought the scooter at and they want 500.00. I know I can do better. please help. call me at 848 200 8010 if you are in the know. or reply here. thanks

  • skirkham

    Why has nobody pointed out the author’s clearly faulted calculations? A volt battery is 4kw, not 16kw. 2300+ to replace one is just shy of 10k for the lot, nowhere near $200/kW (simple math; it’s just under $600).

  • CaptD

    It will be interesting to see what price Tesla charges for its batteries, and I suspect they are also looking at leasing them instead since that will allow both them and their customers to upgrade chemistry which means ever better range and/or storage as time goes on, which would be yet another reason to buy from Tesla and/or SolarCity instead of anybody else!

  • Dallas Gombash

    those are probably lead acid batteries not Li-ion =(

  • Bob_Wallace

    Tesla is probably buying battery cells from Japanese manufacturers for US$150/kWh.

    Starter batteries are $34/kWh.

    It’s all about volume….

    “…Dirk Uwe Sauer, from Aachen University’s Electrochemical Energy Storage Systems group. Sauer says that economies of scale for both lithium ion and lead acid batteries will cut battery costs by one-half to two-thirds.

    “Four years ago it was predicted that the prices for battery cells, if you buy large quantities as car manufacturers do, would go below €200/kWh for cells by 2020,” said Sauer. “What you see today is that prices are well below this. Tesla is probably buying battery cells from Japanese manufacturers for US$150/kWh.”

    “In home systems today, lead acid batteries are sold to the end user at €150 to €200/kWh, yet battery suppliers for car starter engines are sold to automotive manufacturers for €25/kWh.”

    Sauer says the difference is that the automotive lead acid battery suppliers produce at “high quantity production sites,” producing in the order of 5 million starter batteries a year. With sufficient demand, a manufacturer of this size could supply 500,000 10kWh residential storage systems annually.”

  • Kevin Kelly GM

    My name is Kevin Kelly and I am manager of electrification technology communications at General Motors and I wanted to respond to this piece to clarify some things. First, GM is NOT dumping batteries.

    The site is not the official GM parts website. The costs indicated on the site are not what we would charge our dealers or owners for a complete replacement battery. There would be no cost to the Volt owner if their battery needs replacement or repair while the battery is under the eight year/100,000 mile limited warranty coverage provided by Chevrolet.

    If the customer needs to have their battery repaired beyond the warranty, the cost to them would vary depending on what needs to be replaced or repaired (i.e. number of modules, which specific internal components need replacement, etc.). So, it’s hard for us to tell you exactly what the cost would be to the customer because it varies depending on what might need to be repaired/replaced.

    • rj

      How much does a brand new gm volt battery cost ?
      As many are interested in the new battery cost per kwh
      And why is it a secret ?

      • Kevin Kelly

        Kevin Kelly from GM communications here again. GM’s strategy when it comes to Volt battery servicing focuses on repair, not replacement. The cost for repair varies depending on the level of repair. However, I must point out that we warranty the Volt battery for 8-years / 100,000 miles. Any repairs that qualify under warranty are at no cost to the customer. The cost for us to manufacture any of our battery systems is competitive information and we do not release that.

        • Bob_Wallace

          That is a non-responsive answer, Kevin.

          Posting stuff like that will do your company no good.

        • rj

          Hi Kevin
          It is very strange in the market place not to know
          how much it costs to replace something on a major purchase
          such as a car. Just imagine you went to ikea and saw a really nice light fixture for $1500 and they had special light bulbs only ikea can make.You asked how much the light bulbs cost and you are told that is competitive information and we do not release that but the light bulbs are under warranty for 8 years
          or 15,000 hours

    • Bob_Wallace

      Thanks Kevin.

      Perhaps you could tell us about the current cost of EV batteries?

      If you can’t do that then perhaps you could explain why information that would be available to anyone in vehicle manufacturing is withheld from the public?

    • Dallas Gombash

      Kevin Kelly, I’m sorry but you have not cleared anything up. The question everyone is asking is “If I took the battery out of my car and set it on fire, how much would it cost for me to get a new battery (for just the part) so I can put a new one in my vehicle?”

  • Bob_Wallace

    On another site someone speculates that the ~$2k price is for the battery pack without the battery modules based on this drawing….

  • rj

    It could also be that many car buyers are asking about the replacement battery price before they purchase a new volt and gm is willing to sell some as a loss
    In order to make more new car sales more attractive

    Or it could be that there are a limited amount of customers that need new
    batteries and gm willing to sell at a loss in order to prevent 10 of millions in bad press

    Or it could be that they have too many of them in stock and it is better
    to sell them at a loss than build new large storage buildings

    Or you could be right that batteries may have become cheaper

    • Bob_Wallace

      At this point any battery replacements should be under warranty.

      • rj

        If they are all still under warranty 100k miles they would have no reason to be selling them to people either

    • Zer0Sum

      They could also be packs from ruined vehicle and the chop shops are trying to get rid of them to make some extra cash out of the salvageable parts.

  • cburk

    I’m sure this blog makes plenty of money. Why not purchase a Volt replacement pack to prove these prices are real. I’m sure you could sell the pack at cost to one of your many blog readers to get your money back.

  • vdiv

    You need to interview someone who can show us the new battery pack and the receipt from GM showing how much they paid for it. Most Volt battery packs are still under warranty so no one has had to buy a whole new one. There is also another possibility, GM is subsidizing the cost for the replacement battery.

    • Dave R

      Exactly. Until someone actually walks out with a 16 kWh battery for $2,300, I remain skeptical. I’m not aware of anyone who has actually purchased a pack for that price – and the price is low enough that hobbyists would have done so already.

      However, one can buy what the seller claims to be new Nissan LEAF modules for $125/ea or $5,000 for 48 which works out to about $208/kWh.

      Just search eBay or Google for “hybrid auto center nissan leaf”.

    • Bob_Wallace

      There is a chance that there’s a pricing error. But if so it’s an error that’s showing up in multiple places and over at least a year.

      Subsidizing replacement batteries. I don’t see a lot to be gained from that. It’s going to be several more years before Volts start needing new batteries.

      • vdiv

        There isn’t much to be lost either since as far as we know no one has had to buy a new one. What is to be gained is squashing the criticism that EV batteries are expensive and EV buyers face the cost of replacing them. If an ostensible battery replacement costs less than the ostensible trannie or engine rebuilt/replace then EVs look more attractive.

        So much for that line of argument. It is also possible that with over 60,000 Volts roaming the world GM and LG Chem have achieved an economy of scale that has indeed lowered the price. And if not yet the temporal “subsidy” hides that.

  • Marion Meads

    Been sayin’…. Thanks for publishing this info Zachary! Now am seriously considering using one for solar PV storage system.

    • Bob_Wallace

      You’re the source, Marion. Thanks for bring the info.

    • anderlan

      Keep us updated! Or maybe you could do an EV conversion with it. The possibilities are endless. I’ve listened to the fossil fools tell me forever that this point was decades off. Lying scum. All we needed was volume, spurred by a modicum of will and optimism instead of pessimism and devil’s bargains with our future. The thing about devil’s bargains is THE DEVIL LIES.

      • Bob_Wallace

        Look at how quickly technology prices fall.

        Cell phones went from $2,000 to under $20? in a few years.

        Digital cameras went from $700 to under $100 in not much more than five years.

        Flat screen TV prices fell like rocks.

        It seems to come down to developing a large enough market to drive automation and better supply streams in factories. Then down come the prices.

        As the prices fall, demand increases, and companies work harder to bring down prices in order to grab market share.

        From $1,000 to $100 in few years doesn’t seem unreasonable for batteries. They’re nothing more than containers full of not very expensive materials. There’s no unobtainium in them.

        The market for EV batteries is going to be immense. I would image battery manufacturer have been working overtime at full speed to bring down costs. Fortunes await someone.

        • johnvoelcker

          @Bob_Wallace:disqus Yeah, but battery costs don’t fall according to Moore’s Law as some consumer-electronic components do.

          The average over ~ 20 years of consumer Li-ion cells works out to about 7 percent a year, and the auto engineers and battery folks I talked to felt that was a fair number for large-format automotive cells as well. More here:

          • Bob_Wallace

            The rate of battery cost decrease is in question. That’s what this article is about.

            EV batteries are consumer components.

            Moore’s Law didn’t push down the cost of digital cameras. The price of the “computer” parts was already low. A bunch of manufacturers working for market share in a rapidly growing market brought the cost down.

            History may well not be a good predictor. History may have been bringing things down at 7% per annum given market size/demand. A significant increase in demand could easily change the rate of decline.

            One can look at the increase of Europeans moving to the West Coast pre 1840 and observe it low. Then gold was discovered.

          • CaptD

            I believe that the “Scale” or number of battery sales and/or leasing of what we are now calling EV batteries will skyrocket as additional uses for them outside the eVehicle becomes a reality. Just like computers, once their price dropped, many new applications were developed which lead to many more computers being sold…

            Ten+ years form now, people will look back and wonder who/what was holding us up from going Solar much sooner…

            At least they will not point their fingers at US…

          • OneHundredbyFifty

            It is not based upon time it is based upon cumulative production. So the price drop can be accelerated by increasing cumulative production, . This is how the Chinese did so well with PV. They looked at the experience curves, saw that if they scaled production by x amount, they could get costs down by y amount. It is what Elon Musk is doing now with the Giga factory.

    • Jouni Valkonen

      good luck with that!

    • CaptD

      Marion Great Effort Follow!

      I believe that It will be just like parking an eV in your garage for an extended period of time…

      For those that can afford one or more batteries, why not store more of your own energy and soon it will become no different that folks with big gardens, sharing what they grow with their neighbors…

      Got Energy?

      • Dallas Gombash

        isn’t there laws against sharing electricity/cable/etc with your neighbors?

  • Batteries have been much cheaper for a long while, I think car companies have been paying exceedingly high prices. Take a quick look on Alibaba and you can quickly find prismatic LFP for well under $200/kWh at the cell level, same chemistry as A123.

    • Dallas Gombash

      once you factor in shipping and how many they want you to buy (assuming they aren’t scamming you) you mind as well buy a new car

  • UKGary

    There is a big difference between the cost of a battery pack complete with BMS and the cost of replacing the cells. I think the latter could be feasible for around $150 per kWh as I have bought small rechargable cells for around this price. I know the vehicle ones are more expensive as a longer design life is required, however I do not have the buying power of a major car manufacturer so I expect this balances out.

  • A lot of great comments here. Thanks for chiming in!

  • tibi stibi

    or its a marketing stratagy. buyers have (maybe) some fear of what happens when my battery dies. so the support them with cheap batteries.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Were that the case then one would expect GM to be advertising battery cost in order to increase sales.

      • tibi stibi


  • DavidSnydacker

    My guess: batteries are getting more durable and more powerful and can therefore operate across wider charge states. originally, the chevy volt battery was 16 kWh, but the car could only use about half of that energy to keep the battery from wearing out. the new chevy volt batteries may now be less than 16 kWh. that’s great news for PHEVs, but it doesn’t necessarily mean $200/kWh, which would be amazing news for BEVs.

    • DavidSnydacker

      PS Zachary – please tweet @dsnydacker if you have any technical battery questions. always happy to chat. 🙂

    • Bob_Wallace

      I think the new Volt has a 16.5 kWh battery.

    • the depth of discharge was 50% because they have to all begin from the same voltage so that no cell is over drawn. Its a very simplistic and poorly designed battery management system that leaves a lot of money on the table in terms of asset utilization of the battery system. Its not much of a different system logic design from the EV-1, pack is a little smaller because of more energy dense battery chemistries, even the same configuration.

  • Justin Barkewich

    I think they are dropping really fast now…..I just bought a 2011 Nissan Leaf SL with 41800 miles, one bar of degen, in perfect condition for $13800 US. Electric Mobility for everyone is coming faster than we think.

    • Nice! That’s exciting to hear. 😀

    • sault

      Did the Nissan dealer say anything about bringing it back in a few years to change out the small number of problem cells in the pack to get it back to nearly 100%, like-new capacity?

      • Dave R

        Aside from a few isolated cases, capacity loss on a 3 year old LEAF is caused by all cells losing capacity very evenly. The consistency of LEAF battery modules appears to be very good. Replacing a few of the lowest capacity cells would only bring up the capacity of the pack by a small amount.

        • Amy Clavero Real

          Degradation was more severe for Leaf owners of Arizona.

          • Dave R

            That’s for sure. But even in Arizona LEAF cells have lost capacity evenly. Replacing the weakest couple cells won’t change the capacity of the pack significantly, which is why Nissan is simply replacing packs that have lost 4 capacity bars (under 70% capacity).

    • Jouni Valkonen

      This is also the problem with EVs, their resale value declines very fast. We need to hope that Tesla can live up their eight year warranty program and also maintain their resale value. We see after few years how well modern Tesla batteries perform on long term.

      • Bob_Wallace

        Rapid depreciation is likely a very short term issue.

        Once people realize how cheap per mile EVs are the demand for used EVs is likely to increase. There is already data that shows that more efficient fuel cars hold their value better than less efficient cars.

        (Exotics, excepted.)

      • Johnny Le

        I hope Tesla won’t maintain their resale value because their cars are improving fast. So eight years from now, no one would want a 2013 model S.

        • Jouni Valkonen

          Then you are saying that Tesla is pretty much out of business and EVs do not have future.

          Tesla is not a tech company.

          • Johnny Le

            No, I’m saying everyone wants a Tesla 2022 model at that time, just like everyone wants an iphone 5 now. I don’t think anyone wants to buy an iphone 1 at this point.

            Tesla is a tech company. A car is a piece of technology. Elon promise a car with 90% auto pilot in three years, probably can avoid accidents 90% of the times, and can handle snow, ice and slippery roads well. I can’t see anyone buying an old car that doesn’t have those features to save their lives and is more expensive than the latest model (assuming the latest is a mass-market car).

          • Jouni Valkonen

            Mercedes already has 90 % autopiloted car. It does not make Mercedes a tech company. And in general Mercedes is light years ahead of Tesla in cool car technology.

  • Kyle Field

    It doesnt make sense for them to dump batteries if a) most Volts are still very new and won’t require packs (low demand requiring low (central) supply). Also, Volts are selling better than they have in the past so demand for new Volts is high. If they had excess battery inventory, they could just push it over to new cars vs dumping it for next to nothing (estimated at 60% ($1900) of expected retail (minimum $3200 or $200/kwh)).

    The only thing that makes sense to me is that maybe their battery ordering forecast was off causing them to SIGNIFICANTLY over-order their batteries and end up with oversupply. Batteries might not have a long shelf life if they aren’t being used so they need to turn them over quickly.

    What’s odd there is that this could create a second hand market if the batteries are available at much cheaper than the going rate for large battery packs. Someone could take that pack and make it the core for a home storage unit for off-grid houses, battery backup, etc.

    GM should be used to sourcing parts from outside of it’s own internal supply chain but batteries are a new market for them and a very costly one at that. This could have contributed to an over forecasting of battery pack ordering…resulting in what seems to be below market pricing for them (similar to what we saw in the solar panel market where there was too much supply without corresponding demand resulting in artificially deflated pricing.

    • Jouni Valkonen

      That is good hypothesis. Lithium batteries lasts only about 10 years indifferently whether they are in use or not. Cycle life is typically around 2000–7000, so they probably do not lose their juice because they are used. Therefore if GM has lots of surplus batteries as Volt’s demand has been weaker than anticipated, then it might make sense to dump batteries.

      Leaf and Tesla Roadster batteries lasts only about 1000–1500 cycles, before they are losing significantly range, but they are mostly older generation batteries.

      However I think that simpler hypothesis is that GM offers affordable battery replacement, because it is probable that Volt battery must be replaced one or two times during cars lifespan.

      • Amy Clavero Real

        Volt car life span is estimated to be 250,000 miles with one battery replacement.

        • Jouni Valkonen

          thanks for this info. If true, then it would make sense that GM is offering affordable battery replacement as it is assumed that Volt will need at least one battery replacement.

          Also I think that GM is betting on that the cost of batteries will decline in near future. Therefore they are offering tomorrows prices today.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I don’t think it would be necessary to under-price (lose money) on a replacement battery that would be needed until the vehicle had acquired 250k miles.

            A new engine for a gasmobile would cost a lot more than the battery price.

          • Jouni Valkonen

            Amy said that the total estimated lifetime of Volt is 250 kilomiles. This includes one battery replacement. Therefore the estimated mileage for one battery is 125 kilomiles. Naturally significant portion of Volts total mileage is driven using ICE, so estimated total mileage of Volt battery is 80–100 kilomiles.

            This is quite close in line what performance Leaf has shown in real life.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Sorry, I missed the “one battery replacement”.

          • PLUG1N

            My Volt has 42,000 EV miles. I drive almost exclusively on battery and only have 139 gas miles.

            I plan on maximizing the 100,000 mile battery warranty as it is tied to total miles, not EV miles. That being said, in the 2 years I have driven my Volt I have detected absolutely no range loss. My range is as good now as new, maybe better due to the fact my tries are worn.

            I figure I am already over 1,000 cycles on my battery.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Someone at GM stated not long ago that the Volt batteries were holding up much better than they had anticipated.

            Perhaps companies spread a bit of low expectation figuring that good news would be valuable and complaints would really hurt.

            Better to announce 30 MPG and let most people discover they’re getting 32 than to announce 32 and get a lot of noise from a few people getting 30.

          • PLUG1N

            Yes, it seems a common trait of the Volt to over-deliver.

            Even though my Volt has a quoted 35 mile EV range, I can do much better than that. During the non-winter months I can usually get to 50 miles without much trouble. It was 2F yesterday and I was able to get 37 miles out of it!

          • Bob_Wallace

            How about contacting your Volt dealer and asking them how much they would charge you for a new battery if you happened to ruin it in a way that wouldn’t be covered by the warranty.

            Your brother in law or someone is wondering. For example if he was showing off his new concealed carry and the bullet kept going through his foot and into the battery….

          • NewtonPulsifer

            When a company says “2,000 cycles 60% DOD to 80% capacity” that’s a worst case scenario. 2/3 of their cells could be significantly better than that but if their Q&A process can’t actually tell the good from the mediocre at time of manufacture, that’s what they have to advertise.

          • VFanRJ

            I watch an interview with a Volt engineer who claimed that they engineered the battery for 160k miles. No talk about capacity so perhaps about it’s seals and circuitry. You can find people in GM-Volt with over 200k miles on their car.

      • sault

        “Leaf and Tesla Roadster batteries lasts only about 1000–1500 cycles…”
        This is complete BS. There are LEAF owners that bought in 2010 or 2011 that have surpassed 1000 cycles no problem. Roadster batteries are performing much better than expected too. Replacing the Volt battery 1 or 2 times over the car’s lifespan? Are you serious? Quit spreading FUD for the oil companies!

        • Jouni Valkonen

          Idiot, after 1000–1300 cycles Leaf batteries has lost already 20 % of range and and after 30 % loss in range battery is kaput. Tesla Roadster batteries have performed even worse.

        • Amy Clavero Real

          So far the 125,000 EV miles before battery replacement are assumed to be when batteries lose 20% original capacity. Who says you cannot use it beyond that degradation? Afterall, the Volt has a powerful generator and can perform well even if battery degrades to 60% original capacity.

          So far, based on VoltStat, one Volt owner is nearing 100K miles and three or more are more than 80K miles without any battery degradation at all. The battery lifetime estimate may have to be revised or redefined.

          In contrast, many Leaf owners in Arizona had significant degradation in range due to poor battery cooling system in a hot environment. Remember losing 20% or more of their bars after one to two years?

          • PLUG1N

            Amy, those VoltStats numbers are total miles. Top Volt in EV miles is 57,800. I’m #17 on the list for EV miles with 42,140. No range loss at all for me.

      • Dave R

        Calendar life of lithium batteries vary very significantly based on chemistry, temperatures and how the batteries are used. They can definitely last longer than 10 years…

        • Jouni Valkonen

          This is very doubtful.

          • Dave R

            LiFePo batteries will have no issue remaining usable past 10 years, especially if stored at around 40-50% SOC in moderate temperatures. A123 projected 15 years to 25% capacity loss when stored at 100% SOC / 60C which is very, very good (too good to believe, frankly!).

            Other chemistries won’t necessarily fare as well.

          • Jouni Valkonen

            That is true. Iron-phosphate batteries has proven to be incredibly stable and durable. BYD predicts over one million km total range for e6.

          • derekbolton

            You mean LiFePO4, yes? For a nasty moment I thought there was polonium in the mix.

        • David Peilow

          Indeed. Satellites are designed for 15 years minimum…

      • Darren

        For large battery packs, there is a limited window (months) that you can guarantee the out of factory specification. After this period, the batteries need to be taken back out of storage, cycled and tested and respecified again. Its a bit of a headache to manage. Shelf life is very much an issue in terms of production planning for cell manufacturers.

    • Gherkin007

      …”What’s odd there is that this could create a second hand market if the batteries are available at much cheaper than the going rate for large battery packs. Someone could take that pack and make it the core for a home storage unit for off-grid houses, battery backup, etc.”

      That’s what’s solar city just announced in November, taking Tesla batteries and selling them to businesses and mfgs for an off grid energy supply to reduce peak demand charges.

  • Jouni Valkonen

    GM is dumping batteries. This is good to see as Tesla has industry’s cheapest battery cost and new Tesla battery pack costs $44 000. Volt’s battery pack costs probably at least $10 000, if their battery cost is in same par as Tesla’s.

    If GM would make profit with those prices it could have annually over one teradollar battery sales as these price levels are cheaper as grid storage than peak demand generation. But for some reasons GM sells batteries only for Chevy Volt owners.

    • sault

      Again, quit spreading FUD for the oil companies! Tesla’s battery pack costs $44,000??? Where in the world are you getting this information besides pulling it out of your own backside? Tesla’s battery costs are a closely-held secret, so unless you have some inside info, all you are doing is making stuff up!

      • Jouni Valkonen

        Idiot, that $44 000 is the list price for 85 kWh battery. Tesla’s list price for 60 kWh battery is $39 000.

        Why Internet is filled with ignorant and arrogant fools, who do not have any understanding how little they actually know about the topic what they are arrogantly commenting.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Enough of the name calling.

          Talk points. Bring facts.

          • Jouni Valkonen

            Do you have any idea how insulting that sault’s ad hominem assault was? Only good thing about the ad hominem assault was that even a child sees that sault is an idiot who does not even understand that he is trolling.

          • Bob_Wallace

            One warned is all warned

          • Bob_Wallace

            You’ve been around for a while and contributed some decent stuff so I’m not going to blacklist you. Right now.

            I’ll take down your post and suggest you search for your inner nice person.

          • Jouni Valkonen

            I suggest for you to look on mirror.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Oh, I agree. I have a name-calling problem.

            You should see the number of times I slap myself on the wrist.

            eta: You should see the number of comments I edit before posting.

          • Jouni Valkonen

            It is more important what is written between lines than what words are used. I prefer to minimize between lines insulting, and I prefer direct insults, because they are more honest.

        • patb2009

          People get batteries from Tesla Dealers for way less then $44K.

      • Leo

        $44k seems reasonable but higher estimate , if you just assume cost of goods is entirely manufactirug cost.. TSLA has a gross margin of 25% which means their cars cost them about 60k to 75K; assuming cost of chasis and others are in normal car range, batteries must cost around $30-40K, now with the $5B mega factory, the cost might come down to 10-15k in the next 2-3 years, completly justifying its warranty program accounting….

        • Leo

          And not to mention their gross margin increase of 100% with the current price in 2 years.. now that makes it viable for TSLA to make lower priced cars in the next 2-3 years.

    • Bob_Wallace

      “Volt’s battery pack costs probably at least $10 000”

      That would make the Volt battery $625/kWh. I haven’t seen anyone argue that battery prices are higher than $400/kWh.

      • Jouni Valkonen

        Battery pack cost ≠ battery cell cost. Tesla’s battery cell cost is estimated to be 220–300 dollars per kWh. Battery packs cost that include packaging and cooling and electronics and profits is naturally much higher. Therefore Tesla’s battery pack costs about $40 000.

        • Bob_Wallace

          This article is all about “What if assumptions aren’t true?”.

          Here we have multiple sources putting the retail/repair shop price of Volt replacement batteries under $150/kWh. GM is buying their batteries from someone and almost certainly making something off the sale.

          $125/kWh? Tesla’s 85 kWh pack would cost $10,625.

          People have been buying lithium-ion batteries from China in this price range for a while.

          There’s no proof that battery prices are now this low, but hints abide.

          • NewtonPulsifer

            It’s not 150/kWh, as the chemistry in the Volt on does a 2/3 depth of discharge. So its 10 kilowatt-hours usable – so $230/kWh.

            Tesla is capable of deeper discharge.

          • Bob_Wallace

            We need to stick with common pricing practices. Not the price on percentage of the battery used but on its total capacity.

          • Tim

            You mean abound here, not abide.

          • Bob_Wallace

            The Dude.

          • Tim

            The Dude abides.

        • geoffderuiter

          Even on the high end $300/kwh for 85kwh battery is $25,500. I don’t think the rest of the components and assembly cost $14,500.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I’d like to see someone break down the “rest of the pack” cost for the batteries.

            Obviously the box to hold the batteries can’t cost a lot. And CPUs are cheap. Heat sensors are cheap. What’s in the system that would cost a bunch of money if EVs were being built in large numbers?

          • geoffderuiter

            This link says $30,000 in 2009 but this was for the roadster with 53 kWh. How much have battery costs dropped in 4 years and then add the difference for the 85 kwh Model S battery. I think $30,000 is very reasonable perhaps a smidgen higher.

            As for the other components, cooling system, welding of battery leads, box as you said, and the computer stuff. I can’t see more than $5k.

            I could be wrong though and I am okay with that 🙂

          • Jouni Valkonen

            List price for new Tesla battery is $44 000. You cannot change facts.

          • geoffderuiter

            It’s a good thing I went out and found and potential source for your claim then, eh? Something that you could have done a long time ago and prevented a lot immature name calling and arrogance (See the respectable conversation and discourse below). Shakes head slowly.

          • Amy Clavero Real

            How come you conclude that the list price of Tesla’s battery price as facts and for GM with GM sponsored sites are just speculation? Marion has pointed direct sources, you can order and you can call the retailers or dealerships and the price are accurate as reported and yet GM’s prices are not facts? What kind of double standard rating are we doing here? We should be well informed intelligent and well balanced contributors! As it is, the GM pricing of the batteries as reported are facts and have been verified to be true and correct. Because the price is too good to be true, it doesn’t mean it is just speculation.

          • Jouni Valkonen

            How come GM can sell batteries that are more than four times cheaper than the cheapest grid scale energy storage batteries on markets?

            You can use your head. GM is not a miracle company, but it is a bureaucratic company that crushed over one thousand EV1 cars.

          • Bob_Wallace

            That’s not cheaper than EOS Systems zinc-air batteries.

            Why don’t you get over the EV-1 thing. The people running GM now aren’t the same people running it during the EV-1 days. And they aren’t part of the “planned obsolescence” move that destroyed GM’s reputation.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “There are also new warranty and battery replacement costs and options.
            Perhaps the biggest surprises are the low costs for (pre-purchasing) replacement batteries: $8,000 for the 40-kWh battery, $10,000 for the 60-kWh and $12,000 for the 85-kWh pack.”


            Where do you find the list price of $39k?

          • Jouni Valkonen

            I tell you only if you apologize of being wrong. Otherwise I do not benefit by telling you.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Grow up.

          • Darren

            The pre-purchase prices are for 8 years from the time of purchase.

          • Jouni Valkonen

            Tesla takes 14 500 as profits as it has close to 30 % gross margins. There is also taxes.

      • Leo

        I think TSLA’s business model vastly beats any one else’s hybrid or any clean energy business…
        If you check the fuel+ vehicle cost, TSLA is on par or better than most luxury models. In two years, it will beat any of those by a huge margin….

        • Leo

          + cost of operation

          • Leo

            If you look at the PLUG/FCEL stocks, they are a bubble once more, since the distribution + production cost of fuel for fuel cells + fuel cell cost is higher than the sum of grid powercost + Li-ion battery cost and losing battle to the battery.

      • Ziv Bnd

        Bob, I am way late to the discussion, but to add to what you said, in mid-2010, Patil stated the the battery pack per kWh was $625, or $10,000. It has come down since then and most estimates are, as you noted, around, or just under, $400 a kWh, with pack management system included in that figure.
        I have seen figures as low as $1000 and as high as $2500 for the cost of labor, assembly and parts for the pack and the pack management system itself, with most of them looking like $2000 is pretty reasonable.
        So $400 * 16.5 = $6600 less $2000 for labor and PMS (unfortunate acronym) or $4600 for the cells / 16.5 = approx. $278 per cell kWh, though this number may be a touch on the high side this year, as the prices have continued to drop.
        I would guess from what is out there that Tesla per kWh for cells is around 80% what GM is paying, or around $230 per kWh, plus the cost of assembly and the pack management system.

    • Ralf Schurer

      I’d suggest to look at it from a different point of view. Selling it to Chevy Volt owners only gives me an idea of the probably real reason for this price. Besides range anxiety for pure EV also all Liion battery containing cars face the problem of this unknown, costly spare part which might need replacement at some point of the cars life. So it becomes much more clearer: Give the customer a good feeling about buying into a relatively new technology which may not be as good or durable as one thinks. Making the battery an affordable spare part which does not ruin the owner in case of a replacement is a good way to get people into the technology as long as the uncertainty exist (even if it is just a problem of customers mind set).

      • Bob_Wallace

        If GM was purposely selling batteries cheap in order to reassure potential buyers don’t you think they’d make that a bit more public?

        Right now most people don’t have a clue that these prices are posted a couple of places on replacement parts sites.

        Where’s the ads that say “Don’t worry, if you need a new battery years from now we’ll sell you one for the low, low…”?

  • David Fuchs

    Perhaps chevy is dumping the nickel metal hydride battery for Lithium-Ion only.

    • Benjamin Nead

      But the Volt never used NiMH cells. It’s been a Li cell car from the beginning.

Back to Top ↑