"Tonight, we're gonna party like it's 2020" doesn't quite have the same ring to it, but if Navigant Research is correct, electric-vehicle advocates will have reasons to be celebratory, whether Prince is playing or not. The research company formerly known as Pike is saying that lithium-ion battery costs may fall by almost two-thirds by the end of the decade, making EVs pretty price-competitive with comparable gas-powered cars and shortening any plug-in premium payoff period, according to Plug In Cars.

Specifically, lithium-ion costs, which are tipping the scales at about $500 per kilowatt hour now, could fall to $300 by 2015 and to $180 by 2020. In addition to the old economies-of-scale factor, battery makers are finding ways to reduce the amount of expensive cobalt used in batteries, while metal, wiring and plastic costs are also on the way down. As a result, by the end of the decade, EVs may be sold for as little as a $2,000 mark-up relative to conventional vehicles, which makes the plug-in proposition more attractive. Attractive enough, in fact, for plug-ins to account for as much as 5 percent of the new-car market by 2020, up from about a half a percent now.

While such projections have been all over the map, Navigant's is pretty close to at least one other made last summer. Last July, McKinsey & Co. put out a report saying that lithium-ion battery prices would fall from about $600/kWh to $200 by the end of the decade to a relatively thrifty $160 by 2025. We should also mention that Tesla CEO Elon Musk stated back in February of 2012 that he expected the price of cells to drop below the 200/kWh mark in the not-too-distant future.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 23 Comments
      Grendal
      • 1 Year Ago
      It depends on what format you're using. Tesla's small cells are probably around that price now. Large pouch batteries have a long way to go but they are headed for $200 in the next 8 years. Tesla's small cells, according to some research chart I saw said they will probably not go a lot lower in price. I think Tesla is counting on $150 per kWh for their Model E/Gen III.
        markrogo
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Grendal
        I think Tesla is counting on $100 per kW-hour actually. And I think there is no roadblock.
        EVSUPERHERO
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Grendal
        I paid 15k dollars for a 33 kwh pack (kokam pouch cells) but a Toyota Yaris came with the cells as well. All the accouterments as well. Air bags, antilock brakes, Air cond, blue tooth, pwr windows, locks and steering. EV Toyota,oh what a feeling!
          Grendal
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EVSUPERHERO
          Congratulations!
          DarylMc
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EVSUPERHERO
          Hi EV SUPERHERO Can you provide some links to information about that car. Thanks
      Dave
      • 1 Year Ago
      "Specifically, lithium-ion costs, which are tipping the scales at about $500 per kilowatt hour now, could fall to $300 by 2015 and to $180 by 2020." Assuming these are battery pack prices, not cell prices: Current Nissan Leaf battery pack = 24 x $500 - $8,500 = $3,500 2020 Leaf battery pack (after the tax credit phase-out) = 24 X $180 = $4,320
        Vlad
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Dave
        let's run it for a car with double the capacity: 48 x $500 - $8500 = $15,500 48 x $180 = $8,640
        j
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Dave
        Pack prices, can we assume that? And are these the prices that manufacturers negotiate in volume, wholesale, retail?
      lad
      • 1 Year Ago
      I gotta believe the price of the battery is offset by the cost of the more simple electric drive train in an EV. Leads me to believe the car companies will be very profitable once they finally decide to kill of the ICE car. But, I think it will take a different battery chemistry to bring this about. Batteries need to be lighter, more energy dense, and less-costly...and this is the key to the mass murder of internal combustion automobiles.
      danfred411
      • 1 Year Ago
      We are at 180 now... dumbasses
      HVH20
      • 1 Year Ago
      It will be $300/kWh at the pack level by 2017 once CAFE goes into effect. OEMs will be forced to electrify, driving up volumes and decreasing costs.
      EZEE
      • 1 Year Ago
      Hey Smart Kids that Follow This Stuff A while back ford mentioned the price of what the batteries add to the cost of the focus, so as to justify the scary price of the focus EV. What would this drop do, in terms of cost, to a leaf for focus? (Or volt or tesla,,,,?)00 I could figure this out but I am not in the mood to math today.
      Ricardo Gozinya
      • 1 Year Ago
      The problem is, that by then, lithium-ion batteries will be obsolete for EV purposes. Nobody knows how much the still in development lithium-air and various solid state batteries will cost.
        CoolWaters
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Ricardo Gozinya
        They should be cheaper, with higher energy density.
          Ricardo Gozinya
          • 1 Year Ago
          @CoolWaters
          Higher energy density won't necessarily make them cheaper. It depends on how much it costs for them to make, and how much they need to charge to get back the money put into R&D. Among other factors.
      Spec
      • 1 Year Ago
      I sure hope they are right. If they get it below $200/KWH at the pack level, that will really be a game-changer.
      Peter
      • 1 Year Ago
      I see ABG is this soothsayers publicist. If you make enough predictions one of them will be true. Or you can change your name so that people don't remember your prediction of 150,000 annual hydrogen fuel cell vehicle sales in 2015. But who knows, there are two years left.
      2 wheeled menace
      • 1 Year Ago
      Ay, i have seen some notable price drops as of late, particularly with the introduction of the LG D1 cells. Tesla's battery factory could give them a whopping huge advantage in the long run. Those price drops have always been mythical, but they are starting to feel real these days.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 1 Year Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        Oh, and when i invested in 2 kilowatt-hours of RC Lipo for my bikes, i paid just around $320/kw-hr 3 years ago. The price is mostly the same. The first 1kw-hr batch i bought is still kicking despite RC Lipo's notoriously short lifespan ( 300 cycles )
          Dave D
          • 1 Year Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          I know you say they're still kicking, but are those batteries still getting about the same range for you or have they noticeably dropped off? I'm hoping you'll say they still have good range because I'm thinking of getting some myself :-)
      jeff
      • 1 Year Ago
      I bought (as an individual) 36 LiFePo4 180 Ahr cells for about $400.00 / KWhr last year so the current prices quoted are quite high.
        HVH20
        • 1 Year Ago
        @jeff
        Your Chinese LiFePO4 cells cost about $0.90/Ah to the re-seller that sells it to you at $400/kWh.
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