Though it seems like forever ago, the world is a much different place from 2009. Osama Bin Laden is dead, The News Of The World is no more, and electric cars are hitting the streets in ever larger numbers. Another big difference? Since 2009, battery prices for electric vehicles have fallen a whooping 30%…but don’t expect to see savings until the next-generation of vehicles.
Seeing as how battery prices are the number one driver of EV costs, seeing prices drop by 30% over just three years is rather amazing. In cars like the Tesla Roadster, the battery pack costs up to $40,000. Even in cars with smaller packs like the Chevy Volt, the battery makes up a disproportionate amount of the price. Translation; a 30% reduction in battery costs can shave thousands of dollars off the cost of electric vehicles.
Here’s the thing though; it takes a long time to develop and build a car. The Chevy Volt first hit the stage as a concept way back in 2007. The Nissan Leaf first appeared in production dress in 2009, though you can bet both GM and Nissan were already hard at work on the NEXT generation of their respective vehicles before the first ones ever left the factory.
Now I’m not sure the exact pace of things, but I do expect the next generation of the Leaf and Volt to try and shave a few grand off the price. Either that, or they may offer less range with a smaller battery for a lower price, because it is obvious to everyone that the high cost of entry is keeping EV sales rather limited.
At a rate of 10% price decreases per year though, by 2020, battery prices could be just ⅓ of what they are today. On the same token, there have been dozens, if not hundreds of studies trying to predict how fast and how far battery prices will go. And frankly, I just don’t trust studies.
But the facts speak for themselves, and battery prices HAVE come down a significant amount in a relatively short time. If battery makers can continue to bring the cost down then a lot of the arguments against electric vehicles just sort of…disappear. I hope one day that electric vehicles will hold a premium of no more than $5,000 over their gas-powered cousins, and that will come with extra features that automakers like to load up on top-level vehicles.
But maybe $5,000 is still too much. You tell me what, if any, price premium electric vehicles should carry.