Battery price skeptic says Tesla's $35,000 EV won't happen [UPDATE]

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UPDATE: The story's been updated to include a response from Tesla.

It's a good thing Dr. Menahem Anderman doesn't run the Nevada state government. The longtime battery-technology researcher, who heads the Advanced Automotive Batteries conference, isn't buying Tesla Motors' claim that it'll get lithium-ion battery costs down to less than $100 per kilowatt hour within the next 10 years. That would be bad news, since that price will be key to the automaker's ability to make a $35,000 electric vehicle.

The good doctor is instead pegging battery costs at about $167/kWh in 2025, and says they will "unlikely" drop below $200/kWh before the end of the decade. He makes a rather detailed case in his report, which can be found here (PDF). We all know how confident CEO Elon Musk has been on his company's price predictions to drop the price of a pack by "more than 30 percent." As for Anderman's estimates, Tesla is taking the high road, as company spokeswoman Alexis Georgeson, in an e-mail to AutoblogGreen, declined to comment directly on the report, choosing instead to defer to Musk's previous comments.

Tesla has said its planned Gigafactory will provide the scale needed to bring battery costs down enough to make the $35,000 EV. By Anderman's estimates, the battery costs will be more commensurate to a $50,000 EV, which isn't horrible, but it's not the type of mass-market price that the industry (and Tesla stockholders, for that matter) are expecting. Earlier this month, Nevada offered an incentive package worth about $1.3 billion to Tesla, which is planning its plant near Reno. Battery-maker Panasonic is an investor in the factory as well.

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