White House: Big cost reductions in electric vehicle batteries coming

The Obama administration (via the Department of Energy and Recovery.gov) has published a positioning paper about electric vehicles that is worth a read by those with a stake in how this industry will play out.

The Obama administration (via the Department of Energy and Recovery.gov) has published a positioning paper about electric vehicles that is worth a read by those with a stake in how this industry will play out.

"Transforming America's Transportation Sector: Batteries and Electric Vehicles," predicts major opportunities for U.S. businesses when it comes to electric vehicle battery and component technology.

Are you aware that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) includes $2.4 billion dedicated to the creation of 30 different manufacturing plants and to support demonstration projects. These funds are matched AT LEAST dollar for dollar, so that's roughly $5 billion for electrical vehicle developments. Oh yeah, the United States has put another $2.6 billion behind the Advanced Technology Manufacturing (ATVM) Loan Program.

Here are some noteworthy developments:

  • Construction for all 9 battery manufacturing projects funded by ARRA is officially under way and four of the plants are projected to open by the end of 2010.
  • 11 battery component manufacturing facilities are likewise underway; the Celgard fplant in North Carolina, as one example, is being expanded to produce 1 million electric drive batteries per year.
  • There are 10 electric drive component projects supported, including one in Kokomo, Indiana, with Delphi that will be capable of supporting 200,000 electric drive vehicles by the end of 2012.
  • If all goes right, these developments should help inspire a 70 percent reduction in electric vehicle battery costs by 2015, even while extending charge ranges.
  • The projects will have the ability to provide U.S.-made batteries and components for 500,000 electric vehicles annually. That's about 40 percent of the worldwide share of advanced vehicle batteries.

The White House notes:

"Before the Recovery Act, the only highway-enabled electric vehicles on the road cost more than $100,000. This high cost resulted in large part from the high cost of batteries -- a car with a 100-mile range required a battery that cost more than $33,000. Between 2009 and 2013, the Department of Energy expects battery costs to drop by half as Recovery Act-funded factories begin to achieve economies of scale. by the end of 2013, a comparable 100-mile-range battery is expected to cost only $16,000. By the end of 2015, Recovery Act investments should help lower the cost of some electric car batteries by nearly 70 percent to $10,000. The same cost improvement applies to plug-in hybrids ... "

The White House predicts that there will be 20,000 charging stations in place in residential, commercial and public locations by December 2013.

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