Letter

Rapidly falling costs of battery packs for electric vehicles

Received:
Accepted:
Published online:

Abstract

To properly evaluate the prospects for commercially competitive battery electric vehicles (BEV) one must have accurate information on current and predicted cost of battery packs. The literature reveals that costs are coming down, but with large uncertainties on past, current and future costs of the dominating Li-ion technology1,2,3. This paper presents an original systematic review, analysing over 80 different estimates reported 2007–2014 to systematically trace the costs of Li-ion battery packs for BEV manufacturers. We show that industry-wide cost estimates declined by approximately 14% annually between 2007 and 2014, from above US$1,000 per kWh to around US$410 per kWh, and that the cost of battery packs used by market-leading BEV manufacturers are even lower, at US$300 per kWh, and has declined by 8% annually. Learning rate, the cost reduction following a cumulative doubling of production, is found to be between 6 and 9%, in line with earlier studies on vehicle battery technology2. We reveal that the costs of Li-ion battery packs continue to decline and that the costs among market leaders are much lower than previously reported. This has significant implications for the assumptions used when modelling future energy and transport systems and permits an optimistic outlook for BEVs contributing to low-carbon transport.

  • Subscribe to Nature Climate Change for full access:

    $59

    Subscribe

Additional access options:

Already a subscriber?  Log in  now or  Register  for online access.

References

  1. 1.

    et al. On the electrification of road transport—Learning rates and price forecasts for hybrid-electric and battery-electric vehicles. Energy Policy 48, 374–393 (2012).

  2. 2.

    & Performance of batteries for electric vehicles on short and longer term. J. Power Sources 212, 111–129 (2012).

  3. 3.

    , , & Going electric: Expert survey on the future of battery technologies for electric vehicles. Energy Policy 61, 403–413 (2013).

  4. 4.

    , , & Realizing the electric-vehicle revolution. Nature Clim. Change 2, 328–333 (2012).

  5. 5.

    Costs of Lithium-Ion Batteries for Vehicles (Department of Energy, 2012).

  6. 6.

    International Technology Perspectives 2008—Scenarios and strategies to 2050 (International Energy Agency, 2008);

  7. 7.

    Transport Technologies and Policy Scenarios to 2050 (World Energy Council, 2007);

  8. 8.

    , & Cost and CO2 aspects of future vehicle options in Europe under new energy policy scenarios. Energy Policy 38, 7142–7151 (2010).

  9. 9.

    A better battery. Nature 507, 26–28 (2014).

  10. 10.

    & The EV paradox—A multilevel study of why Stockholm is not a leader in electric vehicles. Environ. Innov. Soc. Transit. 14, 26–44 (2015).

  11. 11.

    The End of the Oil Age 2011 and Beyond: A Reality Check. Industry Update (Deutsche Bank, 2010);

  12. 12.

    Bloomberg New Energy Finance Summit (Bloomberg New Energy Finance, 2013);

  13. 13.

    Batteries for Electric Cars—Challenges Opportunities and the Outlook to 2020 (The Boston Consulting Group, 2010); http://www.bcg.com/documents/file36615.pdf

  14. 14.

    How Battery Improvements will Revolutionize the Design of the Electric Car (Gigaom, 2013)

  15. 15.

    Battery Technology Charges Ahead (Mckinsey Quaterly, 2012);

  16. 16.

    , , , & Energy use, cost and CO2 emissions of electric cars. J. Power Sources 196, 2298–2310 (2011).

  17. 17.

    Global EV Outlook. Understanding the Electric Vehicle Landscape to 2020 (IEA, 2013);

  18. 18.

    , , & The influence of financial incentives and other socio-economic factors on electric vehicle adoption. Energy Policy 68, 183–194 (2014).

  19. 19.

    How Tesla is driving electric car innovation. MIT Technology Review (7 August 2013);

  20. 20.

    Battery prices for electric vehicles fall 14%, BNEF says. Bloomberg News (16 April 2012);

  21. 21.

    & Batteries for electric and hybrid-electric vehicles. Annu. Rev. Chem. Biomol. Eng. 1, 299–320 (2010).

  22. 22.

    , , & Feasibility study of 2020 target costs for PEM fuel cells and lithium-ion batteries: A two-factor experience curve approach. Int. J. Hydrog. Energy 37, 14463–14474 (2012).

  23. 23.

    Partnership with LG chem: Renault reaffirms its support for an EV electrics industry in France (Renault, 27 July 2012);

  24. 24.

    Nevada selected as official site for Tesla battery gigafactory. Tesla Motors (4 September 2014);

  25. 25.

    Gigafactory. Tesla Motors (26 February 2014);

  26. 26.

    , , , & Status and Prospects for Zero Emissions Vehicle Technology—Report of the ARB Independent Expert Panel 2007 (State of California Air Resources Board, 2012);

  27. 27.

    , & Advanced Batteries for Electric Vehicles: An Assessment of Performance, Cost, and Availability (State of California Air Resources Board, 2000);

  28. 28.

    World top 20 December 2013 (Special edition). EV Sales (30 January 2014);

  29. 29.

    World electrified vehicle sales (2013 report). EV Obsession (10 February 2014);

  30. 30.

    Introducing errors in progress ratios determined from experience curves. Technol. Forecast. Soc. Change 75, 405–415 (2008).

Download references

Acknowledgements

This study is supported by grants from Nordic Energy Research (NORSTRAT, award number 06-64) and EU FP7 (PATHWAYS, award number 603942).

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Stockholm Environment Institute, Linnégatan 87 D, 115 23 Stockholm, Sweden

    • Björn Nykvist
    •  & Måns Nilsson
  2. KTH Royal Institute of Technology, School of Architecture and the Built Environment, Division of Environmental Strategies Research, Drottning Kristinas väg 30, 100 44 Stockholm, Sweden

    • Måns Nilsson

Authors

  1. Search for Björn Nykvist in:

  2. Search for Måns Nilsson in:

Contributions

B.N. conducted the main part of data gathering, review, analysis and writing. M.N. contributed to analysis and writing.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Björn Nykvist.

Supplementary information