EV batteries too expensive for widespread adoption, says study

A new report has warned that the high cost of current battery technology means that electric vehicles are unlikely to be widespread by 2020.

As the first lithium-ion battery rolled off GM's high-tech production facility in the US town of Brownstown, Michigan on January 7, the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) issued a stark warning that a "major breakthrough in battery technology" was needed to push electric cars mainstream.

The study concluded that the long-term cost target used by automakers - $250 (€174) per kilowatt-hour - is unlikely to be achieved without major innovation in battery chemistry to allow better energy storage without a cost increase. Current car battery packs deliver energy at a cost of around $1000-$1200 (€692-€838) per kilowatt-hour, according to BCG, far higher than the $250-$400 (€174-€279) per kilowatt hour achieved by the smaller lithium-ion batteries widely used in consumer technology.

"For years, people have been saying that one of the keys to reducing our dependency on fossil fuels is the electrification of the vehicle fleet," said Xavier Mosquet, Detroit-based leader of BCG's global automotive practice and a co-author of the study. "The reality is, electric-car batteries are both too expensive and too technologically limited for this to happen in the foreseeable future."

BCG believes that the most likely outcome is that 26 percent of the cars sold in major developed markets in 2020 will be electric or hybrid - some 14 million vehicles. Of these, 1.5 million will be fully electric, 1.5 million will be range extenders (where a conventional engine supplements battery power) and 11 million will be hybrid vehicles.

Lithium ion batteries are widely believed to be the most likely to be implemented in electric vehicles, as they offer considerably better efficiency than the nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries used today in hybrids such as the Toyota Prius. General Motors, which has started production of lithium-ion batteries for the Chevrolet Volt, intends to begin implementing them in production validation or test vehicles from spring 2010.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Sales - OTE £38,000

    £22000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role is a mixture of office...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Hosting Support Agent

    £17100 - £20900 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the North West's leading...

    Recruitment Genius: Experienced Health & Safety Support Tutor

    £19000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Legal Assistant

    £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join ...

    Day In a Page

    Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

    ‘Can we really just turn away?’

    Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

    ... and not just because of Isis vandalism
    Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

    Girl on a Plane

    An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
    Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

    That's a bit rich

    The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
    Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

    Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

    Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
    Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

    Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

    Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
    A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

    Britain's Atlantis

    Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
    The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

    The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

    David Starkey's assessment
    Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

    'An enormous privilege and adventure'

    Oliver Sacks writing about his life
    'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

    'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

    The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
    Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

    Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

    Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
    Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

    Orthorexia nervosa

    How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
    Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

    Lady Chatterley’s Lover

    Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
    Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

    Set a pest to catch a pest

    Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests