A recently released and peer-reviewed study from the Stockholm Environment Institute estimates that battery pack costs are much lower than initially presumed by energy-policy analysts.
The study reports that more than 80 assessments of battery prices calculated between 2007 and 2014 were considerably higher than the actual cost of the battery packs.
As well, the study found that battery packs used by leading EV manufacturers such as Nissan and Tesla cost roughly $300 per kilowatt-hour of energy in 2014. A number lower than the most positive estimate for 2015, and even under the average released predictions for 2020.
By 2018, SEI estimates that battery pricing will drop to around $230 per kilowatt-hour, approximately an 8% decrease per year.
According to research fellows Bjӧrn Nykvist and Måns Nilsson at SEI, if battery packs were to fall into the range of about $150 per kilowatt-hour it could bring about “a potential paradigm shift in vehicle technology.”
This shift would ultimately make the vehicles cheaper, due in part to the batteries being a significant percent of the overall cost.
Although, rather than making the car cheaper, car manufacturers could potentially continue with current EV pricing but increase the range of the vehicles. A vehicle with a 300 mile range could cost as little as $10 to fully charge states MIT Technology Review.
While this study would generally be construed as positive news throughout the EV community, Luis Munuera, an energy analyst for the International Energy Agency, and Pierpaolo Cazzola, a transport policy analyst also working for IEA stated in an email to MIT Technology Review that this analysis “should be taken with care,” stating battery cost figures from such diverse sources are sometimes not comparable.
Even with the IEA analysis of the study, this didn’t dissuade them from commenting that “we have seen events moving quicker than expected in lithium-ion battery technology.”