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The electric vehicle opportunity is set to expand, as leading battery developers such as Panasonic drive down prices of Li-ion battery packs by 35% to $172/kWh in 2025, according to a new report, “Crossing the Line: Li-ion Battery Cost Reduction and Its Effect on Vehicles and Stationary Storage,” by Lux Research. However, only the best-in-class players will achieve that cost threshold, while others lag at $229/kWh.
The estimate is based on a new bottom-up cost model built by Lux Research in an industry known for being highly secretive about its costs. The model accounts for differences in battery chemistry, form factor, production scale, location and other nuances.
High battery prices have led to some huge missed opportunities in the electric vehicle market. Now if developers can drive down prices to $200/kWh or less at the pack level, they have a chance of selling millions of EVs by the mid- to late-2020s, and reap great revenues.—Cosmin Laslau, Lux Research Senior Analyst and lead author
Lux Research analysts used primary interviews and research to build out its cost model for Li-ion batteries and evaluate the new opportunities emerging for developers and OEMs. Among their findings:
Competitive gap is widening. Technological innovation and scale are helping leaders like Panasonic, in partnership with Tesla, widen their competitive advantage. While Panasonic-Tesla and China’s BYD will achieve $172/kWh and $211/kWh at the pack levels, respectively, the Nissan-AESC partnership risks falling behind at $261/kWh unless it changes technologies and production strategies.
Disruptive Li-rich NMC will deliver more gains. In 2025, a disruptive Li-rich NMC would bring in cost gains of $17/kWh over conventional NMC/graphite cells. While scale-up efficiencies like Tesla's “Gigafactory” remain a key strategy, geographical location and technology like high-voltage cathodes are also key factors.
Benefits for the stationary storage market. Li-ion cost reduction will positively impact the stationary storage market as well. However, it will not address added costs like the power conditioning system, land, construction and integration. Therefore, installed stationary systems spanning from residential to grid-scale will range from $655/kWh to $498/kWh in 2025, respectively.
The report is part of the Lux Research Energy Storage Intelligence service.
In a major expansion move, Evident Thermoelectrics has purchased the assets of GMZ Energy, Inc. a developer of high temperature thermoelectric generation (TEG) systems, in an acquisition that includes all patents, equipment, product lines, website, customer contacts and brand. In December 2014, GMZ had successfully demonstrated a 1kW TEG designed for diesel engine exhaust heat recapture in a Bradley Fighting Vehicle (earlier post).
The purchase comes shortly after Evident’s April announcement of a licensing agreement with NASA and is intended to solidify the company’s position as a leader in high temperature thermoelectric applications. (Earlier post.)
GMZ Energy has been very successful at developing nanomaterial-based thermoelectric modules, and making them commercially available. This acquisition is a key element in our investment core strategy to accelerate our product development, as it broadens our market segments and allows us to offer even more products that perform at higher temperatures, meeting customer demand.—Dr. Clinton Ballinger, CEO of Evident Thermoelectrics
Founded in 2006, GMZ commercialized technologies that were developed at the labs of MIT and Boston College, and launched the first commercial high temperature modules overcoming significant challenges in integration and packaged for waste heat applications in cars, furnaces and other industrial applications.
Most recently, its technology focus was on new Hafnium-free p-type half-Heusler materials which offered substantially lower raw material cost than conventional half-Heusler materials—high temperature, stable semiconductor nano-materials and well suited for thermoelectric applications like waste heat recovery. (Earlier post.)
Evident, founded in 2000, is a leader in nanomaterials synthesis and products, and its record of achievement has included commercial product launches in quantum dots, LEDs, biotech and military applications. Leveraging its semiconductor experience to expand into thermoelectrics in 2013, Evident is developing printable thermoelectric materials, as well as nano-bulk materials aimed at increasing the performance of thermoelectric modules.
I am excited to work with Evident as we continue the work we started at GMZ. This combination of Evident and GMZ will greatly benefit the industry since there will now be a single point of contact for anything related to nano-materials used in TE applications.—Dr. Giri Joshi, manager of R&D GMZ Energy
The AeroVironment portable TurboCord Dual (120V/240V) charger will come standard with the 2016 Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine plug-in electric hybrid (earlier post), which will go on sale in the US later this year.
This marks the first time a plug-in hybrid manufacturer is including a Level 2 capable, 240V charger as part of its “standard equipment package”.
For Volvo XC90 owners who already have a 240-volt outlet in their homes, fast charging their new vehicle is as simple as taking TurboCord out of the trunk and plugging it in (a different outlet receptacle may be required). Owners who do not have a 240-volt outlet can have one installed by an electrician.
Features of the TurboCord include:
At 240-volt Level 2 charging, the Volvo XC90 can be fully charged in as little as 2.5 hours versus 7 hours with a normal Level 1 cordset that comes with other EVs.
TurboCord Dual allows Volvo XC90 drivers to charge at Level 1 with any standard 120-volt outlet or charge at Level 2 (about 3 times faster) by simply installing a 240-volt outlet.
TurboCord is UL-listed, has advanced safety features and is rugged and waterproof (NEMA 6P), enabling users to safely and reliably charge anywhere, even outdoors.