Tuesday, November 10, 2009

How Much Do Lithium-Ion Batteries Cost to Make?

From Green Light:

Battery cost – that single factor will likely determine when and how fast cars move from gasoline to electricity. Driving range and charging infrastructure are two problems that will likely take care of themselves: Consumers will lose range anxiety when they realize they have another car that they can take to Disneyland and lose interest in public charging stations when they realize they don't need many of them.

But battery costs directly impact car costs and hence the attractiveness of electric vehicles to consumers.

The short answer? It costs about $250 a kilowatt hour to produce ordinary lithium-ion cells for laptops, said Mark Duvall, an analyst at EPRI at a greentech breakfast sponsored by the SD Forum this morning. Making lithium-ion packs for cars cost more: Automakers have strict safety and performance standards. The general consensus is that lithium-ion packs for cars cost around $900 per kilowatt hour. General Motors, though, has strongly hinted that it is closer to $500 a kilowatt hour than the $1,000 mark, Duvall said. The Volt has a 16 kilowatt hour battery, so the battery costs about $8,000. The Volt battery, he added, also is overbuilt: It is bigger than GM needs for the car to do 40 miles on a charge. A supersized battery, however, gives the battery more charge cycles.

Ultimately, the price of batteries will approach the cost of manufacturing, he said, and many expect manufacturing prices for batteries to decline as volumes pick up....MORE