EV battery forecasts hinge on new technologies

Advances in battery chemistry, the design of cells or the manufacturing process may be needed to fulfil the promising electric vehicle outlook. By Megan Lampinen

The long-term success of electric vehicles (EVs) hinges on a number of factors, but battery performance and price are two big ones. The ideal battery will be safe, able to store a great amount of energy, charge quickly and come at an affordable price. The good news is that prices have fallen rapidly over the years. Continued momentum means that EVs could soon reach price parity with internal combustion engine (ICE) models, paving the way for zero-emission transport. Developments are certainly going in the right direction, but the final step looks likely to demand a radical jump in technological capability.

According to BloombergNEF data, the volume-weighted average of lithium-ion battery pack prices in 2010 stood at about US$1,000/kWh. By 2020 that had dropped to US$137/kWh. James Fritch, Head of energy storage at BloombergNEF, points to a combination of forces at work behind the progress. “One major factor is the increasing economies of scale within the industry and the supply chains of key manufacturers,” he told attendees at a recent media event. “There have also been chemistry changes to the cell technology.”

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