Questions Linger on Battery Prices in Electric Car Industry – NYTimes.com
“We do not see any supply difficulty,” said Anand Sankaran, executive technology leader for energy storage and high-voltage systems at Ford Motor. “There is no shortage of raw materials but there is a time frame to capacity,” he added, referring to the time lag in achieving production capacity.
More critical in the long term is the question of whether the crucial lithium ion cells will become cheap enough, at a fast enough pace, to make pure electric and plug-in hybrid cars economically practical. After a rapid rate of price declines in the 1990s, the rate has slowed.
“Our view is that battery costs are coming down,” Mr. Sankaran said, adding that there is consensus that by 2020 battery prices will have reached an economically practical level — in the range of $200 to $250 a kilowatt-hour. That is a significant decline from the $1,000-a-kilowatt-hour cost that was the auto industry’s rule of thumb until recently.
To understand the effect that price drop would have on the window sticker of a new electric car, keep in mind that the Ford Focus EV has a 23-kilowatt-hour battery. Tesla’s new all-electric Model S sedan is offered with battery packs as big as 85 kilowatt-hours, which gives the car a range of 265 miles according to its official rating by the Environmental Protection Agency.