At an Automotive Press Association meeting this week, the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) released the results of a new cost study on battery electric vehicles and it doesn't look good for electric vehicle fans. BCG thinks it is unlikely that the cost of batteries will drop nearly enough to make EVs price competitive with internal combustion vehicles in the next decade without continued tax incentives. The current $7,500 federal tax break for plug-in buyers is unlikely to still be in place by 2020 and BCG doesn't see any battery breakthroughs on the horizon.

However, it's not all bad news for EVs. There do appear to be some holes in the new study. For example, the study cites a current cost of $1,000-1,200 per kWh for automotive lithium ion batteries. That figure may be as much double the actual cost if General Motors is to be believed. When we spoke with Denise Grey and Jon Laukner from GM this week they both hinted that the Volt battery was actually in the $500-600 / kWh range now and they expect this number to drop. We obviously don't have any independent data to back that up, but Grey indicated that the $1,000+ cost was for prototype units, not mass production.

One of the reasons the cost of automotive batteries will likely remain higher than the $250 price of consumer electronics units is because of the need for robust testing, including crash and vibration proof packaging, thermal management and safety sensing. Nonetheless, Grey was confident that a $300 price point was achievable, which would prove BCG wrong. Thanks to Mike M. for the tip!

[Source: Detroit News]

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