Recently we posted findings on this site from a report posted by the National Research Council. The reports were met with great criticism for many reasons including obvious faults in calculating the future costs of lithium-ion battery. The NRC reports stated excessively high costs for li-ion batteries and have been criticism for this fault. Additional assumption made by the NRC include the belief that PHEVs such as the Chevy Volt will require billions of dollars in government subsidies to become successful on the market. This report was later backed by the Boston Consulting Group.
As predicted, the reports were met with angst by many who support both PHEVs and EVs. Several have spoken out to discredit the reports and now Mark Duvall, EPRI Electric-Drive Director, has gone on record stating that the reports undeniably overstate the future costs of these vehicles and their components. (For NRC predictions of costs for vehicles such as the Chevy Volt and the plug-in Prius click this link.)
Mark Duvall is the director of the Electric Power Research Institute. The institute is a non-profit, independent center for public interest and collaborative research of electric drive vehicles. His position grants him access to data and research from automakers. This data is not publicized. Furthermore, his work with utilities, government agencies, national laboratories and academic research groups gives him a full view of the situation.
Duval spoke with Edmunds.com in an interview for their Green Car Advisor site. Duvall stated that the flaws in the reports by the NRC and Boston Consulting Group stem from the fact that they do not have access to current information. Their predictions for future costs are based on old data. As Duval said in the interview, " They basically directly state, 'Plug-in vehicles don't make any sense and they're not going to make any sense for decades." These conclusions led Duvall to inspect his data and conduct independent research to see if the reports were indeed correct.
Duvall found that the reports as he said, " Really overstate the cost of the vehicles, especially over time."
Why did they overstate the costs of these vehicles? The NRC reports used a battery cost assumption of $1,750 per kWh. According to Duvall, this number for the Volt should be only $1,100 per kWh. GM lists the Volt battery at 16 kWh, but only uses half of that amount for cost calculations. Therefore, the NRC reports that the Volt's battery costs $14,000 as calculated by their numbers. Whereas Duvall states that cost is actually only $8,800.
Therefore, Duvall believes that the entire report by the NRC is flawed. He cites constantly dropping battery costs and the use of outdated data as the reason for the flaws in the reports by both the NRC and the Boston Consulting Group.
Click the link below for additional information presented by Mark Duvall during the interview with Green Car Advisor.