During one of the sessions at the Electric Drive Transportation Association meeting here alongside the Washington Auto Show, our friend Felix Kramer from CalCars got an answer to a question that's been on his mind for a while: just how much will large-format lithium-ion batteries cost in five or ten years?

It's not that Kramer doesn't have his own estimates based on reading lots of reports and studies, it's just that, a while back, the Committee on Assessment of Resource Needs for Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Technologies put out a report with the help of the National Academies of Science (NAS) that said that li-ion batteries would go from $1,000 per kilowatt hour (kWh) today to maybe $400/kWh by 2020. This is higher than a lot of other estimates (that the cost is closer to $600 or maybe even $500 per kWh today, for example), but with the NAS imprimatur, the high cost got a lot of play in the media. More importantly, the Department of Energy is likely to trust a report from the NAS, and if the number is too high, it could have a big impact on future funding and legislation.

Yesterday, Kramer asked A123 Systems, Ener1, Electrovaya and Johnson Controls-Saft how much their kWh cost is today and what their response was to the NAS study. The short version: there was broad consensus among the battery makers that the NAS numbers are too high, with Sankar Das Gupta, CEO of Electrovaya, saying that, "there are a lot of crazy reports out there." A123's Ric Fulop said that he expects his company's packs to sell for less than the NAS' 2020 price as early as 2012. Cheap packs are coming, and soon, is the message from the battery makers. Read Kramer's full report of the exchange here.

[Source: CalCars]
Our travel and lodging for this media event were provided by the Auto Alliance.

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