Lithium Ion Batteries May Drop Electric Car Prices

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Lithium Ion Batteries May Drop Electric Car Prices

Toyota and other automakers are testing lower cost Tesla rechargeable batteries in hopes they ll make the vehicles more affordable.

By Esther Shein. InformationWeek

December 8, 2010 03:43 PM

Automakers, including Toyota, Daimler, and Bayerische Motoren Werke, are testing lithium ion batteries assembled by Silicon Valley startup Tesla Motors to power electric cars.

The lithium ion batteries cost less than larger batteries developed exclusively for cars and used by automakers like General Motors, Nissan, and Mitsubishi. Tesla s roadster sports car, which sells for $109,000, is powered by a pack of 6,831 Panasonic cylinder-shaped cells that provides up to 245 miles per charge, Bloomberg reported.

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Sales of lithium ion batteries will more than triple to $60 billion in the next 10 years, according to the world s largest maker of the batteries, Sanyo Electric, Bloomberg said. Economies of scale may help cut manufacturing costs and sticker prices of rechargeable consumer electronic batteries for the burgeoning electric car industry, an analyst at Tokyo-based Advanced Research Japan told Bloomberg.

It may lead to the total component cost of an electric car getting lower than that of a gasoline car, Koji Endo said. As the cost lowers, there ll be more likelihood that retail prices of electric cars will drop.

Presently, consumers pay higher prices for electric volt-powered vehicles, which are more expensive than three-quarters of the cars sold, Bloomberg said, due to the high cost of batteries. The Chevrolet Volt sells for $41,000 and the Nissan Leaf is $32,780.

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