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High Battery Cost Curbs Electric Cars
WSJ ^ | OCTOBER 17, 2010 | MIKE RAMSEY

Posted on 10/19/2010 7:12:38 AM PDT by SmokingJoe

Unlike Other Devices, Power Packs May Not Enjoy Major Economies of Scale
The push to get electric cars on the road is backed by governments and auto makers around the world, but they face a big hurdle: the stubbornly high cost of the giant battery packs, which can account for more than half the cost of an electric vehicle.

Both the industry and government are betting that a quick takeoff in electric-car sales will drive down the battery prices. But a number of scientists and automotive engineers believe cost reductions will be hard to come by.

Unlike with tires or toasters, battery packs aren't likely to enjoy traditional economies of scale as their makers ramp up production, the scientists and engineers say.

A123 Systems in Michigan is counting on demand for electric cars despite the steep cost of its battery packs. These experts say increased production of batteries means the price of the key metals used in their manufacture will remain steady—or maybe even rise—at least in the short term. They also say the price of the electronic parts used in battery packs as well as the enclosures that house the batteries aren't likely to decline appreciably.

The U.S. Department of Energy has set a goal of bringing down car-battery costs by 70% from last year's price by 2014.

-snip-

Current industry estimates say the battery pack in the all-electric Nissan Leaf compact car coming out in December costs Nissan Motor Co. about $15,600.

That cost will make it difficult for the Leaf, which is priced at $33,000, to turn a profit. And it also may make the Leaf a tough sell, since even with federal tax breaks of $7,500, the car will cost about twice the $13,520 starting price of the similar-size Nissan Versa hatchback.

(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; Technical
KEYWORDS: batteries; ecar; electriccars; envirowackos; greenjobs
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-snip- But researchers such as Mr. Whitacre, the National Academies of Science and even some car makers aren't convinced, mainly because more than 30% of the cost of the batteries comes from metals such as nickel, manganese and cobalt. (Lithium makes up only a small portion of the metals in the batteries.)

Prices for these metals, which are set on commodities markets, aren't expected to fall with increasing battery production—and may even rise as demand grows, according to a study by the Academies of Science released earlier this year and engineers familiar with battery production.

Lithium-ion battery cells already are mass produced for computers and cellphones and the costs of the batteries fell 35% from 2000 through 2008—but they haven't gone down much more in recent years, according to the Academies of Science study.

1 posted on 10/19/2010 7:12:42 AM PDT by SmokingJoe
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To: SmokingJoe

unexpectedly.


2 posted on 10/19/2010 7:14:11 AM PDT by Doogle ((USAF.68-73..8th TFW Ubon Thailand..never store a threat you should have eliminated))
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To: SmokingJoe

China has been buying up lots of rare earth materials that go into batteries.


3 posted on 10/19/2010 7:14:15 AM PDT by Texas resident (Outlaw fisherman)
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To: SmokingJoe

Another Obama bust. How many energy boondoggles before even the left wakes up to the destruction caused by government control of the economy? These boondoggles are just escalating instead of stopping. Corn-based ethanol levels have been increased to 15 percent. Bio fuel mandates still loom in the near future.


4 posted on 10/19/2010 7:16:28 AM PDT by businessprofessor
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To: SmokingJoe

“... with federal tax breaks of $7,500....”

####

In which the rest of us, literally at the point of a gun, are forced to fianace the “Green” mythology.


5 posted on 10/19/2010 7:17:17 AM PDT by EyeGuy
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To: SmokingJoe

How long will the batteries last, and how much will it cost to dispose of the old ones?


6 posted on 10/19/2010 7:19:49 AM PDT by csmusaret (If the Bush recession ended in June 2009, did the Obama economy begin in July 2009?)
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To: businessprofessor
Yup.
This is the money quote IMO:
That cost will make it difficult for the Leaf, which is priced at $33,000, to turn a profit. And it also may make the Leaf a tough sell, since even with federal tax breaks of $7,500, the car will cost about twice the $13,520 starting price of the similar-size Nissan Versa hatchback.”

We have budgets deficits of $1.3 Trillion per year, and 0bama still has tax payer money to squander to the tune of $7500 per electric car, that some idiot in Hollywood decides to buy, so they can look cute to their pals? This 0bama regime is just nuts.

7 posted on 10/19/2010 7:23:41 AM PDT by SmokingJoe
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To: csmusaret
Here in our hot low desert climate, battery life is considerably shortened. A "Five year" or "Seven year" car battery generally craps out between 2 and 3 years.

Every spring, I stop leaving any battery tools or phones in the garage....they take up indoor living until fall, being as that area never gets below 100 degrees.

8 posted on 10/19/2010 7:24:35 AM PDT by ErnBatavia (It's not the Obama Administration....it's the "Obama Regime".)
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To: SmokingJoe
"High Battery Cost Curbs Electric Cars"


9 posted on 10/19/2010 7:25:13 AM PDT by Iron Munro (The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion. -- Edmund Burke)
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To: SmokingJoe; sully777; vigl; Cagey; Abathar; A. Patriot; B Knotts; getsoutalive; muleskinner; ...

Expensive green auto tech ping!............


10 posted on 10/19/2010 7:29:16 AM PDT by Red Badger (WOULD SOMEBODY PLEASE GIVE MEGHAN MCCAIN A BOX OF KRISPY KREMES SO SHE'LL SHUT THE HELL UP?!)
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To: Texas resident

China isn’t buying up rare earths in markets in a speculative play to drive up prices. However, they do have 97% of the world’s reserves of rare earths at current market prices, and have imposed limitations on exports.

China acts in China’s interest ... just like every other nation, but a little bit more intelligently. Their limitations on exports of rare earths is strategic in nature, not speculative.


11 posted on 10/19/2010 7:29:38 AM PDT by Skepolitic
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To: SmokingJoe

“Both the industry and government are betting that a quick takeoff in electric-car sales will drive down the battery prices”

That was the bet for solar panels, too. That’s why every roof in America is covered with cheap solar panels today.


12 posted on 10/19/2010 7:30:32 AM PDT by ModelBreaker
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To: SmokingJoe

It won’t be long now that teens will find these affordable used electric cars that have been discarded like a used up battery and will give them a new life with a retrofitted gas or diesel engine conversion.

I did several Oldsmobile diesel to gas engine conversions and also a couple of Jaguar V12 to Chevy small block conversions.

If nothing else a person could stick one on top of a pole and connect a propeller to it for a wind generator.

Or a millwheel from a running stream, up here in Alaska I would say it would make a great towing vehicle for the dog sledders in training, plus it will charge up a battery bank for the remote site cabins by doggy power.


13 posted on 10/19/2010 7:33:15 AM PDT by Eye of Unk (If your enemy is quick to anger, seek to irritate him. Sun Tzu, The Art of War.)
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To: ModelBreaker

“That’s why every roof in America is covered with cheap solar panels today.”

You should get a gig in stand-up, you’re that good!


14 posted on 10/19/2010 7:35:05 AM PDT by DBrow
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To: SmokingJoe

$15,000 for a battery pack that’s probably going to last around 5 years? I can buy a lot of gasoline for that kind of money.

Wonder what the battery pack is worth as recycled material/


15 posted on 10/19/2010 7:40:10 AM PDT by smokingfrog (Because you don't live near a bakery doesn't mean you have to go without cheesecake.)
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To: steelyourfaith

Ping.


16 posted on 10/19/2010 7:40:45 AM PDT by Army Air Corps (Four fried chickens and a coke)
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To: csmusaret

An automobile is a major capital outlay for most families. Why would broader market participants pay more (even with ‘subsidies’) for radical technology, unproven over time, that may well render an already diminishing asset worthless well before the anticipated replacement time. Unless authoritarian state power is used (such as banning or taxing internal combustion engines) it is unlikely that mass demand will supply any price moderating economies of scale. Given the cost factor and the unknown reliability factor, with the associated ‘side of the road’costs, most consumers will wisely let the ‘Greenies’ take the arrows on this technology.


17 posted on 10/19/2010 7:41:36 AM PDT by dogcaller
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Electric cars are a fraud.

Anyone who buys one in the hopes of helping the environment is a moron.

Where do they think the electric for the car comes from? (Besides the eletric outlet?)

The power comes from coal fired power plants and other fossil fuel generation plants.

These electric cars are less efficient and use more energy than traditional vehicles.

These electric cars also cause huge damage to the natural environment in the toxic mining for the rare metal for their batteries.

Lastly, without untold hundreds of billions for new power grids and power plants, exactly how are these new electric cars supposed to be charged with our current infrastructure?


18 posted on 10/19/2010 7:42:10 AM PDT by WaterBoard
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To: csmusaret

I imagine the old batteries will be recycled. My question is what will it cost to recycle them. Will the cost be prohibitive as opposed to manufacturing new ones? I don’t know.


19 posted on 10/19/2010 7:43:26 AM PDT by BBell
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To: WaterBoard

The idea is that people will be charging them mostly at night thus negating the strain on our existing infrastructure. That is the idea anyway.


20 posted on 10/19/2010 7:46:17 AM PDT by BBell
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To: Eye of Unk

Heck the Leaf is such a dinky car I bet that you could do a gas conversion for it with a two-stroke motor. Heck, use the engine from a Citroen 2CV.


21 posted on 10/19/2010 7:47:00 AM PDT by Army Air Corps (Four fried chickens and a coke)
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To: BBell

Ah, so we can millions of appliances plugged-in sucking up juice all night.


22 posted on 10/19/2010 7:49:25 AM PDT by Army Air Corps (Four fried chickens and a coke)
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To: WaterBoard

To me the only electric car worth buying is one that can be charged solely for free, either its by solar cells on board or through a landline or it has some form of fuel cell that converts water to hydrogen and then to electrical.

I have no problem with an electric vehicle, the problem is that its like becoming a heroin addict, you will be forced to keep up the habit of battery replacement and electrical usage, you become a slave to its needs.

There are ways to get free electricity with proper planning and some investment.

Ultimately I think electric cars will be disposable vehicles, nobody will buy one for its classic value, and its options later in life may be limited to just what a person is willing to do to keep it on the road, I have several old power tools that are nearly useless now because their battery packs are now obsolete, the same will happen in a few years with these cars.


23 posted on 10/19/2010 7:51:09 AM PDT by Eye of Unk (If your enemy is quick to anger, seek to irritate him. Sun Tzu, The Art of War.)
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To: SmokingJoe

I like the internal combustion engine. It is very reliable and powerful and runs on relatively cheap and abundant fuel.


24 posted on 10/19/2010 7:55:08 AM PDT by Jack Wilson
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To: Army Air Corps

When you mentioned “two stroke motor” I think you made at least a dozen green zombies have a stroke.

I remember the good old days of interstate busses using Detroit Diesels which are two stroke, personally I think its possible to create a pretty clean large two stroke engine for automotive use.


25 posted on 10/19/2010 7:55:22 AM PDT by Eye of Unk (If your enemy is quick to anger, seek to irritate him. Sun Tzu, The Art of War.)
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To: Eye of Unk

I agree on this: the only electric vehicle I like is a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle.


26 posted on 10/19/2010 7:59:59 AM PDT by Army Air Corps (Four fried chickens and a coke)
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To: tubebender

>>Current industry estimates say the battery pack in the all-electric Nissan Leaf compact car coming out in December costs Nissan Motor Co. about $15,600.<<

If you’re looking to recoup your financial losses, design a cheaper battery pack. Or buy coal stock.


27 posted on 10/19/2010 8:00:56 AM PDT by B4Ranch (Conflict is inevitable; Combat is an option. Train for the fight.)
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To: smokingfrog
"Wonder what the battery pack is worth as recycled material"

Nothing, it will cost the person disposing of it a considerable amount IMHO........

28 posted on 10/19/2010 8:01:59 AM PDT by sniper63 (I am the leader of the TEA Party, I, myself am the leader of me, myself for I am the TEA Party!)
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To: SmokingJoe

Problem is the amount of lithium mined annually will support enough large lithium ion batteries for 40 to 60 thousand vehicles per year. Lithium mines are in South America and Western Africa. Most of it is owned by China. Can we say OOPS!!!!!


29 posted on 10/19/2010 8:03:41 AM PDT by Fee
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To: Eye of Unk

I used to have a lawn mower with a Clinton two-stroke motor on it. There was a spool on the end of the crankshaft that you had to wrap a rope around for starting.


30 posted on 10/19/2010 8:15:52 AM PDT by shorty_harris
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To: sniper63; smokingfrog
Nothing, it will cost the person disposing of it a considerable amount IMHO........

Major companies say otherwise. There will be a strong market in recycling used ev batteries.

31 posted on 10/19/2010 8:17:58 AM PDT by SeeSac
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To: shorty_harris

My Dad had one back in the 50s, I remember mowing with it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5USNqweOpbw


32 posted on 10/19/2010 8:19:04 AM PDT by nascarnation
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To: ErnBatavia

Yeah it’s kind of a myth that cold weather kills batteries.
HOT weather is what kills batteries.
Of course under the hood in Arizona it gets pretty darn hot.


33 posted on 10/19/2010 8:21:07 AM PDT by nascarnation
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To: WaterBoard

only about 50% of the US juice is from coal
so a lot of places will charge with hydro, nat gas, or nuke juice

(not that I’m advocating this but wanted to correct the point)


34 posted on 10/19/2010 8:23:44 AM PDT by nascarnation
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To: smokingfrog

$15,000 will by 5000 gallons at $3/gal. That’s 150,000 miles at 30 mpg. Doesn’t really sound very cost effective at all, especially when you consider the thing has to be recharged and electricity isn’t free, and that most of these cars are also gasoline assisted.


35 posted on 10/19/2010 8:25:22 AM PDT by zeugma (Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam)
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To: Eye of Unk
I think its possible to create a pretty clean large two stroke engine for automotive use.

100% of the world's automotive engineers disagree.

But there's always room for breakthroughs.

36 posted on 10/19/2010 8:25:36 AM PDT by nascarnation
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To: BBell
The idea is that people will be charging them mostly at night thus negating the strain on our existing infrastructure. That is the idea anyway.

So the power producers (who, for decades, have been generating 'baseline' power at night and 'peaking' power for daytime increases) will just generate daytime levels 24/7.

What could possibly go wrong?

37 posted on 10/19/2010 8:40:12 AM PDT by Bob
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To: SmokingJoe

Sadly, there is no Moore’s Law for chemestry.


38 posted on 10/19/2010 8:41:33 AM PDT by Yo-Yo (Is the /sarc tag really necessary?)
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To: B4Ranch

I want to see the look on the face of a EV owner when he goes to trade it in and the dealer tells him it has ZERO trade in value...


39 posted on 10/19/2010 8:44:52 AM PDT by tubebender (Life is short so drink the good wine first...)
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To: tubebender

Or the dealer tells the owner that there is a $2000 HAZMAT fee for dropping it off.


40 posted on 10/19/2010 9:39:09 AM PDT by B4Ranch (Conflict is inevitable; Combat is an option. Train for the fight.)
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To: businessprofessor

I have this trusty 22 year old Toro 2-stroke snowblower that has run perfect for the way i’ve learned to use it over all those years.

The thing was built “just” powerful enough for most of the snowstorms i get around here in MA.
Now i got this 10% crap cutting into the power of my Toro and now i can now exect 5% more here soon? (This is MA ya know)
ARGH!!!!
Too bad there wasn’t some simple process to remove the stuff.
Hmmmmm, I wonder....

You may say 22 years??!!!?, Buy a new one!!
I can’t, I’ve grown sentimental over those years...


41 posted on 10/19/2010 9:51:41 AM PDT by mowowie
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To: SmokingJoe

There is also the little matter of building enough nuclear, coal and gas fired electric power plants along with transmission lines to power all of those electric cars if they ever hit the road.

Being “green” means never having to worry about consequences.


42 posted on 10/19/2010 9:58:09 AM PDT by Bubba_Leroy (The Obamanation Continues)
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To: SmokingJoe
It isn't just the cost that is holding back electric cars, it is their practicality. The touted 100 mile range of the Nissan Leaf doesn't take into account real world conditions like running the headlights, defroster, heater, air conditioner, windshield wipers or even the stereo radio.

All of the electrical accessories that we take for granted or are necessities must either run off the same battery that powers the car or have their own power uource. If the main battery is the sole source of power Using any of these electric devices cuts the range before recharge.

As those of us who live in the north well know, cold winter weather wreaks havoc on batteries. Even hybrid cars that have a gasoline engine see drops of 20-25% in mileage when the temperatures are below freezing. Imagine starting your morning commute in your electric car with temperatures hovering around freezing and wet slushy snow falling requiring the use of the defroster, heater and windshield wipers and using the radio to get the latest road conditions. Lots of luck getting to work. Even if your commute is short enough to get by, would you have the charging station available to top off the battery enough to get home when you must also use your headlights?

What about taking a family vacation? Would you have to limit your trip to about 40 miles so you could get home to recharge and hope that you do not have to use the air conditioner, windshield wipers or headlights? Need a recharge? Even with a recharging station at hand recharging a battery to "full" takes hours.

I seriously doubt that many people would find this mode of transportation the least bit practical.

43 posted on 10/19/2010 10:13:43 AM PDT by The Great RJ (The Bill of Rights: Another bill members of Congress haven't read.)
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To: SmokingJoe

This 0bama regime is just nuts.You may want to look at carinitiative.com and see what other members in his regime are up to.


44 posted on 10/19/2010 10:18:13 AM PDT by Vaduz
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To: Bubba_Leroy

Transmission lines and electric motors. That made me think of this: Copper. How do we get Copper, green guys and gals?


45 posted on 10/19/2010 10:43:09 AM PDT by Army Air Corps (Four fried chickens and a coke)
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To: ModelBreaker

“Both the industry and government are betting that a quick takeoff in electric-car sales will drive down the battery prices”

“That was the bet for solar panels, too. That’s why every roof in America is covered with cheap solar panels today.”

The cost of solar panels actually has decreased (especially when you factor in dollar inflation), but not to the degree that most consumer electronics have. I don’t see battery prices dropping as fast. I have been studying the economics of photovoltaics for an off-the-grid cabin. Batteries unfortunately constitute half the cost and won’t last long enough to ever pay for themselves, whereas the panels themselves can.


46 posted on 10/19/2010 11:08:33 AM PDT by TexasRepublic (Socialism is the gospel of envy and the religion of thieves)
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To: TexasRepublic

“The cost of solar panels actually has decreased (especially when you factor in dollar inflation), but not to the degree that most consumer electronics have.”

To an extent. But not to nearly the extent necessary to make them economic. I’d like to have them on my roof. But the cost-benefit is still way out of whack.

Thirty years of subsidies have not made much of a dent. Which is, of course, why subsidies. Were there an economic scale-up where someone could make a lot of money on mass-produced solar panels, the market wouldn’t need the help.


47 posted on 10/19/2010 11:36:11 AM PDT by ModelBreaker
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To: businessprofessor
Corn-based ethanol levels have been increased to 15 percent.

And the price of corn is going through the roof!

48 posted on 10/19/2010 11:40:44 AM PDT by 6ppc (It's torch and pitchfork time)
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To: Skepolitic

100 % Correct

TT


49 posted on 10/19/2010 1:45:23 PM PDT by TexasTransplant (I don't mind liberals... I hate liars...there just tends to be a high degree of overlap)
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To: Jack Wilson
I like the internal combustion engine. It is very reliable and powerful and runs on relatively cheap and abundant fuel.

You and me, both. It's hard to conceive of a power source that, within a closed system, is as cheap, reliable and non-polluting as the internal combustion engine.

Even though the Iowa farmers may not like to hear it, ethyl alcohol blended in gasoline is an net power loser.

50 posted on 10/19/2010 2:03:24 PM PDT by Ole Okie (American.)
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