Published on June 8th, 2016 | by Zachary Shahan


Tesla’s Battery Prices Falling Faster Than Everyone Else’s — Who Knew? (+ Cool EV Battery Charts)

June 8th, 2016 by  

The International Energy Agency just released a blockbuster report on electric vehicles. Steve noted some interesting facts regarding charging networks unveiled by the report. James highlighted on EV Obsession that EVs are the only key decarbonizing technology that is on pace to keep global warming under 2ºC. And we’ll soon repost a great summary article from Carbon Brief on the report. But there’s one more interesting highlight EV Annex pulled out of it.

This highlight is one that I’ve been focusing on for presentations I’ve given around the world (India, Canada, US, Germany … and for the people from dozens or >100 countries around the world who read CleanTechnica): Tesla leads the industry in driving down the cost of EV batteries.

EV battery prices

From the report: “Key point • The development of battery energy density and cost over the past decade gives encouraging signs on the possibility to meet targets defined by carmakers and the United States Department of Energy.

Notably, though, and as I always point out when discussing Tesla’s battery leadership, LG Chem is very close to it, and the Chevy Bolt is one car that is clearly set to benefit from that.

This tags onto (or leads into) another chart I was planning to share and write about. CleanTechnica reader “Ed” shared this interesting chart on Monday (regarding Li-ion batteries for consumer electronics):

battery energy density cost

And followed up with this one:

LG Chem battery cost energy density

Clearly, from the IEA report, energy density keeps improving at a good pace, and cost is dropping at a great clip.

For more on the topic, we’ve covered it in the past here:

EV Battery Prices: Looking Back A Few Years, & Forward Yet Again

EV Battery Costs Already ‘Probably’ Cheaper Than 2020 Projections

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the 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 and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Canada. 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. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don't jump to conclusions.

  • Wayne Williamson

    sad to see the last couple of years have gone horizontal….

  • Matt

    As I comment when those to two charts were posted as comments. They can’t both be right since the $/kWh is off by factor of 15x.

    • Michael B

      You might be looking at the wrong color (graph icon) and/or not realize that one of the charts shows USD per Watt-hour, not per kWh, as is customary.

      $200/kWh is the same as 20c or $0.20/Wh.

      • Matt

        I did miss the top red $/Wh verse bottom blue $/kWh, that and they switch which side the $/?h was on. That and different years was enough to get me mixed up. Thanks, now I see the light.

  • Billi

    Ok , but what about the cycle life data of those batteries ? its
    no good to say in 2020 it will be down say 150 $ /kWh , but how
    often can i recharge and discharge without significant capacity loss ?

    • nakedChimp

      You can be sure they won’t tout those numbers for/with batteries that last less than 2000 cycles or 5 years. That’s what one can expect from a good lead acid battery under normal use conditions.

      • Billi

        my forklift battery is now 13 years old running the off grid house with mainly PV LIxxx battery types have to , if used in home storage ideas , clearly show , what to expect , if they are not able to provide information like this curve of my forklift batt , then i do not take them too serious ….

    • Bob_Wallace

      Unfortunately we ‘mere mortals’ don’t have access to a lot of industry data. Companies keep lots of their information secret in order to not help their competitors. Sometimes all we can do is take the info we have and try to guess the facts.

      Tesla has said that they expect owners to be able to drive their Model Ss 200,000 miles before the batteries drop to 70% of original capacity. That would mean somewhere close to 800 cycles. (200,000 / 265 = 755)

      Toshiba’s SCiB battery supposedly has a greater than 10,000 cycle life when used in consumer electronics. It’s used in the Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV and rated at 4,000 cycles. In a 62 mile range EV that would be about 250,000 miles.

      Bottom line, we’ll probably have to wait and see. It seems like EV batteries are holding up very well. But by the time the first generation of EV batteries pass 150,000 miles much better batteries will likely be in use.

      • Bob_Wallace

        Here’s some info. PlugIn America collects data from Tesla S owners. Here’s their latest graph.

        I highlighted the car with the most miles driven to date. It’s an 85P and has dropped from a 265 to 240 mile range at 132,070 miles. A 9.4% drop which makes it look to good to reach 200,000.


  • vensonata .

    Argonne labs grant from the DOE, runs from 2012-2017. Their goal, 400 wh/kg and $100 kwh. This is their last year to get it done. Will they make it? Stay tuned.

    • Mike Dill

      JB Strabel thinks you can get a viable intermediate range commercial passenger plane at those goal-points.

      • Chris B

        Batteries and motors already have the power and energy density to replace gas turbines for takeoff performance.

        Imagine replacing a brayton cycle turbine for long range flights with a 60%+ efficient stirling engine. Much heavier per unit of power, but you only need 30-40% of takeoff power to cruise and you can ditch half your fuel load. With electric taxiing, gate recharging and regeneration on descent you might be able to reduce total fuel use to half on long sectors, and substantially less than that on shorter flights.

    • Freddy D

      How has the national lab work contributed tangibly to this decline? I am certainly aware that Panasonic’s and Tesla’s internal efforts have driven the cost down dramatically. I’m not aware of any contribution by the national lab that has made this happen but I don’t know. Thanks

  • Shiggity

    Panasonic seemed to know 😉

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