Industry analysts have held up $100 per kilowatt-hour battery costs as the point where electric cars will achieve cost parity with internal combustion, but now the target has shifted to an even more ambitious $60 per kwh, according to a blog post by The Mobilist.
Tesla and Volkswagen have already discussed driving battery prices down to around $60 per kwh on the cell level, but that is now also viewed as a viable target by the Department of Energy, the post said. That’s based on an interview with Dave Howell, who runs the Energy Department’s Office of Vehicle Technologies, which funds battery research.
If costs can be driven down that far, the total cost of ownership for an EV would average 26 cents per mile, compared to 27 cents per mile for an internal-combustion car, Howell said in the interview.
Just a few years ago, even reaching $100 per kwh seemed impossible. That goal is now generally considered to be in reach, but Howell said he was surprised how quickly the industry has gotten there.
Mercedes-Benz battery production
The research firm Wood Mackenzie has predicted we’ll reach the $100 per kwh price on a pack basis in 2024. That’s based on the cost of an entire battery pack, rather than per-cell cost, as discussed in the blog post.
According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, battery prices fell to an average $137 per kwh in 2020—with prices already below $100 per kwh on a pack basis in some instances.
Granted, these analyses indicate battery costs aren’t falling as rapidly as they were earlier last decade, but the turn rate should still put parity with internal combustion in sight.
Perhaps the lower price-per-kwh target will help reconcile the idea that higher costs in other manufacturing areas will keep EVs from quite reaching parity until late in the decade.