The special batteries used to power electric vehicles (EV) are expensive. However, there is good news for future EV consumers, EV builders, and EV enthusiasts. U.S. Energy Secretary Dr. Steven Chu in a recent speech predicted that the price of EV batteries could drop dramatically by 2015.
Technology is a funny thing. As the cost of goods and fuel increases the price of modern gadgets decreases. HD TVs used to cost thousands and now cost hundreds. Cell phones were once a luxury of the wealthy and now everyone has them and you can even get one for free. According to Dr. Chu, EV batteries will follow a similar trend, and less expensive EV batteries means cheaper EV prices.
“Overall, the Department of Energy is partnering with industry to reduce the manufacturing cost of advanced batteries. While a typical battery for a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle with a 40-mile electric range cost $12,000 in 2008, we’re on track to demonstrate technology by 2015 that would reduce the cost to $3,600. And last year, we set a goal of demonstrating technology by 2020 that would further reduce the cost to $1,500 – an accomplishment that could help spur the mass-market adoption of electric vehicles.”, said Dr. Chu in a speech to The Detroit Economic Club.
The trend of the dropping price of modern technology has, obviously, lead to more people buying and adopting the tech into their everyday lives – and fast. HD TVs went from the minority to the majority, ownership doubling from 2007 to 2008 alone. Cell phones have penetrated the American market by as much as 96% and are becoming the norm in developing nations worldwide; while 76% of Americans own a personal computer.
The fast adoption of these products has lead to some minor infrastructural issues such as the construction of more cell towers and the running of cables to provide internet service. Yet nothing really compares to what needs to be done from an infrastructure stand point to accommodate EVs on a grand scale. Some American cities are working to accommodate EVs in the near future but most are not. However if Dr. Chu’s predictions of cheaper EV batteries does come to pass, and the trend of dropping prices in technologies continues to lead to the fast adoption of that technology, plus gas prices continue to climb, it would seem likely that ownership of EVs will increase. This means more of a strain on regional power grids and a need for public charging stations to become a common sight in America.
Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. Being an Eagle Scout, Andrew has a passion for all things environmental. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail. You can follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewMeggison