GM recently showed a slide that said that its lithium-ion battery costs are down to about $145 per kilowatt hour, Hybrid Cars says, citing comments General Motors made at its Global Business Conference in Michigan. The company also showed that these costs may drop to $100/kWh by 2021. Heady stuff considering that Tesla Motors has said it'd hit those cost levels in 2020, and Tesla is not outsourcing the job like GM is (LG Chem makes the cells for the 2015 Spark EV and the Chevy Volts) . General Motors representatives confirmed to Autoblog that GM executive Mark Reuss presented the battery-cost estimate slide in a presentation at the conference.
This battery-cost news comes out as GM is working on the Chevrolet Bolt Electric Vehicle. That model is said to have a single-charge range of 200 miles, and may be priced in the $37,000 range. No word on when the model will see the light of day, exactly, but spy shots of a Bolt prototype being tested surfaced in June, and GM's said to be running more than 50 test mules through their paces. The Bolt will go into production near Detroit, probably some time in 2017.
GM's numbers indicate that economies of scale for lithium-ion battery production may be being reached sooner than previously expected. Two years ago, Navigant Research estimated that battery-pack costs would hit $180/kWh by the end of the decade. And a 2014 study in Nature Climate Change pegged battery-pack costs at about $300/kWh, so that $145 figure is a lot lower than others expect.