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Does Anyone Know the True Cost of EV Batteries? (Not Really)

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Re: Round and round
GeoOT   10/11/2012 1:12:31 PM
TJ-  It is true that replacing the storage system in a car would mean "replacing the pack not the cells" but that (of course) includes the cells.  The rest of the pack is quite valuable. We have to believe that the rest of the pack would be recovered/recycled by replacing the cells and returning the pack to the replacement market.  This is no different than what currently exists for many repairable automotive parts (e.g. starters, generators, air conditioning compressors).  In truth, this is only a mechanism to have the repair moved from the individual shop to a centralized repair facility that has specialized tooling and tha can take advantage of the economies of scale.  So once a volume market is established the cost for replacing a pack should be (cost of a rebatteried pack) - (value of a dead pack) + swapout labor.  The first two factors should lie somewhere between the cell cost and the pack cost unless the recycle value of the cells is very high.

N. Christopher Perry
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Re: Round and round
N. Christopher Perry   1/24/2012 2:29:08 PM
@ JRoque:  It's not necessarily that the cells need any special cooling requirements, it's primarily a safety system with a reliability aspect too.  It ensures that if a damaged cell overheats for any reason, it doesn't 'cook off' the nearby cells and trigger a chain reaction.  It also serves to maximize cell life by assuring cell string charge balancing: If all of the cells are within 2C of each other they will optimally share charge/discharge loads.

LiIon/LiPo Battery packs, at any scale, require extensive redundant safety systems: Over voltage, under voltage, over current, under temp, over temp, fault tolerance to cell failure, drop, crush, puncture, short circuit, etc.  All of these systems must be qualified prior to commercial use, which is a significant investment.  Take a look at UL2048 to get a sense for how a non-automotive battery has to perform and how many samples are required for qualification.  An application I'm working on will require nearly 100 samples and 6-8 months to demonstrate compliance with that standard alone.  Designing and qualifying batteries is expensive and must be accounted for in the delivered cost.

N. Christopher Perry
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Re: Is all Common Sense Lost?
N. Christopher Perry   1/24/2012 2:08:18 PM
@ Powa-Master:  Based on my readings the conversion efficiency of coal fired power plants is typically closer to 33%.  Also, combined cycle plants are breaking records with efficiencies reaching 50%.  How do you arrive at 8-10%?

Additionally, your arguments are based on the current state of power generation.  One point made by pluggable hybrid and electric car advocates make is; as the grid generation system gets cleaner and more efficient, the cars do the same, continuously over the life of the car.  Internal combustion cars are arguably at their cleanest and most efficient when they finish their break-in, and get 'dirtier' and less efficient from that point on.  These factors should also be figured all of these arguments.

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Re: Is all Common Sense Lost?
Common.Sense.1st   9/19/2011 8:52:04 PM
Both of the battery types mentioned are indeed primary cells, however if you do a bit of web searching you will find that there are also working Al and Mg batteries that are rechargeable that function on a different premise.

As I started commenting on the third type, the Al and Mg follow along the same premise the third type took, a hybrid between a battery and a fuel cell.... with a surprisingly available "fuel"

As for the commentary concerning efficiencies by someone else, I agree there are inefficiencies but not 50% line losses as someone stated.

And in response to the 6 cent level...  Right off the answer is hydro.....  unless ofcourse the owner of the facility is getting a 6 or 7 figure paycheck (Which they are) But think about this...I'm in NY and presently pay around 6.8 cents, not counting the meter/delivery charge, while my house in TN is under 6 cents.




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Re: Is all Common Sense Lost?
drdhdmd   9/19/2011 8:46:21 PM
Well I do have an eLectric DeLorean.  Right now it is using old fashion lead acid batteries because for $2000 I can accelerate really fast and maintain highway speeds.  The problem is I only get 40 miles on a charge.  I'd love to be able to afford a more exotic battery chemistry, but to have a battery pack that can put out over 1000 amps and be at least 100 ah we're talking close to $20,000.  Hopely the prices will continue to drop... electricdelorean.com

Jerry dycus
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Re: Energy Storage is the Heart of the EV
Jerry dycus   9/19/2011 8:42:13 PM

   Hi Charles and All,

              First thing I learned is car salemen lie and battery saleman are even worse.  So I go to basic econo 101 and physics.

             Since the batteries Tesla, others use cost $250kwhr in 1000 lots, that sets lithium battery material costs at under $175kw and probably under $125/kwhr.  There is nothing that expensive in good lithiums but about 18 lbs of alum, copper, iron, plastic, electrolyte and a lb of lithium carbonate, none of which are more than $6/lb.

             Packaging, temp control and BMS is about $100/kwhr but that is likely to drop as electronics gets better and production experience increases.

             Since batteries really are commoditities because so many battery companies and so few orders, battery companies will be lucky to get cost +10%.

             While car companies spend way too much calculating and just need to get some time in EV's, it's not the battery's fault nor should it be put in the EV battery's cost unless over several  yrs like other car's tooling is.  

            So this leads me to read into the lines that lithium batteries now cost OEM's about $400/kwhr in finished pack form and probably under $200/kwhr in 5 yrs if not earlier.

           Interesting both the battery cost and last week's too many battery manufacturers for a limited market were just my points here a couple articles ago. Thanks for bringing them to a brighter light.

William K.
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The true cost of batteries.
William K.   9/19/2011 6:44:00 PM
Interesting about some of the battery chemistries that have been mentioned, is that I think most of them are prinary-cell types that are not rechargeable. But maybe they could be. The problem with EV batterys is that they will not be interchangable and they will not be second sourced, which means that the sellers can charge what they want. That is the huge advantage of not hyaving any competition. Just like cell phone batteries, with a special chip to prevent the use of "counterfit" batteries. If we look at the price of a cell phone battery and scale it up by the AH ratio, it does seem to get kind of expensive, doesn't it? My guess is that the car companies are as profit motivated as the cell phone companies, and far more likely to have folks buy a replacement battery than a new phone, because of the greater expense.

So no matter what the actual selling price, EV battery  packs will indeed be quite expensive.

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Re: Is all Common Sense Lost?
reader22   9/19/2011 5:26:29 PM
Thanks for the reply.

But for EV's and PV solar, a secondary cell is needed.  Of course for EV's, there is the added dimension of weight and crash safety.

The aluminum oxide battery is a primary battery and uses aluminum for fuel.  On the upside, we could mount it to the top of a DeLorean, call it Mr Fusion and power it with empty beer cans. :)

The magnesium-copper chloride battery is a reserve batter.  Just add water and its torpedos away!

Look at it from the utility-scale solar/wind side - how do you store Gw-hrs or Tw-hrs of electricity for later use?  Solve that problem and they'll find a way to use it in cars.  If utility-generated electricity is 12 cents per kw-hr and there is 50% line loss in distribution, then the generating cost must be less than 6 cents per kw-hr.  So...  how do you store electricity (or energy) for less than 6 cents per kw-hr?


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Re: Is all Common Sense Lost?
Common.Sense.1st   9/19/2011 3:28:12 PM
There are actually three chemistries but for my immediate answer 1)Magnesium and 2) aluminum. In each case the cost is so much less than lithium battery technology. They are heavier, but the dramatic cost difference makes up for the fact. The third chemistry I appologise for not covering but it I can say it actually forms a Hybrid between and Battery and a fuel cell, which was demonstrated to scientists from multiple Universities and finally studied at a major Univ. and then reviewed by a National Lab Director....  in the mid. 90's in New York. The energy density exceeded 2100 KWh... and would cost pennies to the dollar of lithium. The developer designed it for the automotive industry at the time, but certain agencies wanted it for military use, and it was pulled out of circulation by it's developer.

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Wanting to go solar
curious_device   9/19/2011 3:09:13 PM
@Reader22: "So I'm at $0.41 per kw-hr (minimum) vs $0.12 per kw-hr utilities.  I really WANT to go solar"

Right, but going solar is available in many flavours.  You could start out as a grid tie only system, using the utilies as storage (sort of).  Starting there, you can add some battery backup capabilty and size it to your choice of demand - like minimum emergency, full use emergency, and full off-the-grid systems.  It depends on your circumstances.  If your utility company has peak/off-peak metering, dumping back to the grid can be pretty attractive and it helps out during those summer time power crunches.

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