Electric Car Batteries To Plummet In Cost Over The Next Decade: Report

When we told you how much the all-electric Holden Volt would be a few weeks ago, a huge argument broke out over the cost of the car compared to its petrol cousin, the Holden Cruze. Turns out that the batteries reportedly only add around $9000 to the $59,990 cost and that number is set to drop over the next 10 to 15 years.

According some research picked up by The Motor Report, the cost of batteries that car manufactures are currently putting into electric cars like the Mitsubishi iMiev, the Holden Volt and the Nissan Leaf won't be so expensive when the year 2025 rolls around.

That's according to a study by a consulting firm called McKinsey & Co, who reckon that because tighter of the energy standards and environmental regulations that will be introduced over the next decade the demand for electric cars will increase.

The efficiencies that come with better battery technology over the years, along with the economy of scale that comes with mass-producing electric cars, will drop the prices significantly.

Here's hoping, because I don't think many people are prepared to spend $60,000 on an all-electric sedan right now. [TMR]



    Excluding the cost of the batteries, why are electric vehicles so expensive? I have not worked with electric vehicles however as a mechanical engineer, I think that they should be a lot cheaper as they have a lot less ancillary equipment - no cooling system, no exhaust, no fuel injection/carburettor, no distributor, electronic ignition, etc?

    Anyone know why they are so expensive without the batteries?

      Massive R&D cost mainly.

        Exactly. They should be a lot cheaper and in time they will be a lot cheaper. And with added pollution standards and taxes, they will seem cheaper still. Exciting times.

        Those electric motors aren't cheap and some of these vehicles have one on each corner.

        Regarding why electric cars are expensive-the dealerships lose money on electric cars because there is hardly any Maintence. Dealerships really don't make that much money on selling cars it's the Maintence that makes the money about 20%. I own a leaf and love it

        They are expensive because the Govt. funds them and so they take advantage of that to load up the prices.

      It's the RnD cost, but also, cars like the Volt and Prius still have all the things you mentioned - fuel injectors, exhausts, cooling etc. That's because they all have a "range extending" petrol engine.
      The exception is the Leaf and the Tesla I believe are only electric.
      That being said, the Tesla is a sports car of relatively small production quantities.
      I'm actually surprised that the Leaf is $51K+. I would much rather the Volt with the extra range and more room...
      I'd love to see the actual cost of manufacture of these cars over the petrol versions (RnD cost excluded)

    Maybe it's the cost of R&D and low production runs? Higher volumnes would drive prices down.

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    Link to Holden article.

    Just to clarify, the Holden Volt is NOT an electric car, it is a HYBRID. Don't let the marketing spin fool you.

      the engine in the volt is just to charge the battery, not power the car. So if you drive far away from a power point you can still use petrol to charge the battery and get home again. A hybrid car uses the engine to drive the car when needed, ie going up hills etc.

    This comment has been deemed inappropriate and has been deleted.

    Here's the link they messed up

    For a second there I thought we had discovered a new planet to strip mine raw materials from, hence it getting cheaper

    I agree with Keeback, an electric car should be about $15,000 plus the battery. But these hybrids have both the electric motor and the combustion engine. With good batteries they can eliminate the combustion engine and everything that goes with it. A fuel cell might be nice though, it would convert gas or alcohol directly into electricity. I think we'll have batteries in 5 years that will do the job, not 2025. They are already talking about doubling with lithium-air batteries.

    I'm not sure why they're not talking hydrogen more.
    The biggest issue with batteries is the charge time.
    We need to be able to stop fill and continue without having to wait 4-8 hours.

      The battery issue can be resoloved by legislating a single common design where all batteries are the same and be removed and replaced at a service station. I believe this has already been tested and they where able to replace the battery automatically in much the same time as it took to fill up with gas.

      Hydrogen is still a viable solution but its development curve for efficiency is much longer. Its probably going to be a solution in 15+ years.

      We aren't "talking Hydrogen more", because it is a highly explosive gas that is difficult to transport and store.

      Hydrogen is *hugely* dangerous and explosive, it leaks through solid steel, and it makes metals brittle over time. these are some pretty serious drawbacks that work together to make hydrogen not worth the trouble. A far better energy storage medium is artificial fuel, whether it is biofuel (preferably not from food) or synthesised directly from CO2 using waste gas, air or other feedstocks and renewable energy.

    Cost? Easy. The manufacturing plants aren't tooled for mass production of them.

    Economy of scale at work.

    Think of how many other cars on the market share parts. Like the ol' Mazda 323 and Ford Laser of times of yore. Identical, except badges. Cost? Cheap.

    Electric cars? Not much in the way of shared parts. Even the parts you think could be shared, often aren't. Batteries. Motors. This is the area where the companies do all their R&D. Not going to share that.

    Until we start getting standardized parts which can then be mass produced, you'll have to shell out the big $'s.

    The reason that electric cars are expensive is that dealerships don't make that much money on selling cars but on Maintence. About 20% electric cars have very little Maintence there by the dealership can't make good downstream money. The leaf is great

    Now I could probably force myself to live with a carbon tax if it went to subsidize these sort of cars actually encouraging people to change from fossil fuels in a smart way. Would still hate that lying bitch Gillard, but, meh. However when this car lists for $31k in the US and we have to pay double the price thanks to changing the steering wheel from the left side to the right side then get stuffed. Oh and that's after wanting all those millions just to stay in Australia. Are you f**king kidding me.

    Again.. People will not be educated...

    The volt Petrol engine DOES power the wheels... Under "Certain circumstances"...
    Though the Drive is still varied using an electric motor, sort of similar to the Prius...
    This makes it a Hybrid, not a true electric....

    Most hydrid (if not all) cars can drive with only electric power, though usually for a fairly short distance....
    Many cannot drive under petrol power only, though while the petrol engine is running it is always generating electric power, sufficient at least to charge the battery and provide drive to the electric motor(s)..
    Discussions amongst technical pedants almost always descends into semantics and technical definitions when there is a "point of difference". (Never use the term Always, unless you are sure there is no exception.)
    Discussions amongst Non-Technical Pedants is not worth it. They need to read into the technology a little more.

    The US Volt configured with the options that Holden is presenting is often reported in gm-volt.com with a price around $45k USD. The $31k commented above if taken from the Chevrolet web site has a notation in small print saying this is the price available to some if they are eligible for the rebates (introduced during the Presidency of George W Bush).

    In Australia we also have GST to add to the price, as well as a special ADR config and compliance, small production volumes, shipping and storage costs, etc.

    The Holden Volt although not low in cost, it certainly compares well with Prius, Audi, and BMW - the market brands most commonly traded in on the Volt in the US.

    We will all have to wait until we each drive a Volt to experience whether it is sufficiently superior to ICE vehicles to warrant the market price being asked for.

      I'm no genius but why would you do this with a "petrol engine"?
      A diesel would make more torque for real generator use and require less fuel doing it especially a little common rail
      I see a lot of small diesel cars around getting very good mileage and would, if I could afford a new one, buy a little diesel instead of a Volt.

        Sorry mws1047 wasn't meant to be a directed reply :)

    Holden should consider halving the size of the Volt's battery and range-extender engine. It would still meet 99% of my driving needs with an electric range of 40km and could do the occasional long trip at slightly reduced cruising speed. Weight and cost should come down a lot, while interior space and performance would increase.

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