Tesla Model S battery pack teardown: frame from YouTube video by JehuGarcia, Feb 2017
Battery-pack prices are the lowest they've ever been, and like a yoga-obsessed limbo contestant, they're primed to go even lower.
A report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, based on a survey of "more than 50 companies," states the average cost of a electric-car battery pack is now $209 per kilowatt-hour.
But the real shocker is the report's claim of future battery pack prices: BNEF believes they will cost less than $100 per kilowatt-hour by 2025, just seven years hence.
Today's average lithium-ion battery-pack price of $209 per kilowatt-hour represents the lowest in history, a 24-percent decrease from a year ago and an 80-percent drop since 2010.
But the $100 benchmark is when the electric-vehicle market could get exceptionally interesting.
That's the price where many analysts believe EVs with 200 miles of range or more will be on par cost-wise with conventionally powered vehicles of similar size and with comparable features.
Tour of Tesla battery gigafactory for invited owners, Reno, Nevada, July 2016
A global production increase in batteries and “the economies of scale that come with it” are responsible for the price decrease, reports Bloomberg, citing the BNEF report.
But manufacturers of stationary battery systems are likely to "pay 51 percent more than automakers because of much lower order volumes," says Bloomberg.
This isn't the first time projections of accelerated rates of battery price reductions have been issued.
Earlier this year, WardsAuto estimated electric-car battery prices could drop below $100 per kilowatt-hour by 2020, and below $80 per kilowatt-hour not long after that.
The industry journal said the price drop could cut $4,000 off the Bolt EV's price once the additional costs of the battery pack are added to the total cell cost.
Note, however, that these per-kilowatt-hour prices are for completed battery packs, not just the cells inside them.
2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV
2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV
GM product chief Mark Reuss is on record saying the cells inside the battery packs of every Chevrolet Bolt EV electric car cost the company just $145 per kilowatt-hour when production started in December 2016.
Engineers and analysts suggest that the additional cost of the pack enclosure, module housings, wiring, circuitry, and plumbing adds an additional 20 percent to 40 percent to the cost of the cells themselves.
Taking the high end of that range, since GM uses liquid cooling to condition its battery packs, would put the Bolt EV's pack at just over $200 per kilowatt-hour, right in line with the average cost stated in the report.