At this point, probably anyone who intends to buy an electric car knows that they are significantly more expensive than motor vehicles (especially cars with a range of 500 km per charge or more). So, when will global users be able to access affordable electric cars?
autocar The above spoke to Andy Palmer, former COO of Nissan and former manager of the Leaf electric car project, to find out the issue.
According to the former Nissan COO, when the Nissan Leaf first opened for sale in 2010, the car’s selling price was not enough to cover the cost of purchasing manufacturing materials, let alone the production costs. The company accepts losses to take advantage of the electric vehicle market, like Toyota did with the Prius in the hybrid segment.
At the time, the cost of producing the batteries used by Nissan was up to 1,000 USD per kWh. After nearly 15 years developing battery technology, he now estimates the average cost across the market has fallen to $150 per kWh. With this cost, an average electric battery with a capacity of 60 kWh costs 9,000 USD.
Including the average cost of making a car and the external costs of dealers, the average electric car costs about 41,500 USD (not including profit for the manufacturer). This is still a very high number for many users, considering that the starting price of a cheap gasoline car model is usually less than 20,000 USD.
To keep an electric car model at an acceptable price range, battery production costs must be reduced to about 80 USD/kWh. However, battery manufacturing technology is slowing down as it reaches the limits of available technology. Therefore, it may take a few more years to reach the above rate.
One solution for automakers to reduce electric vehicle prices is to reduce battery size. At a cost of 150 USD/kWh, the 24 kWh battery allows the company to reduce the price of the car by 20,000 USD without losing money. However, the vehicle’s operating range at the time was very poor, causing consumers to become wary.
With adequate infrastructure for electric vehicles, electric vehicles with small batteries are not a big problem. However, at present no country, including China and the US, has infrastructure reaching this level.
When the infrastructure is developed to a certain level, electric vehicle prices will gradually decline, when the capacity race will no longer be as fierce as it is now.
One solution being implemented very successfully by the Chinese is to replace lithium-ion batteries with lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries. This material helps reduce battery production costs significantly and is the biggest reason for BYD’s current success. In the future, new materials for battery production may emerge, which promise to further reduce the cost of producing this device.
Users who are planning to buy an electric car will have to consider it very carefully to buy a car model that is suitable for their needs. Buying a car with a battery that is too large will not only cost them more money, but will also increase future costs (such as battery replacement costs).
One solution that users can consider is that car companies have battery rental services like VinFast so they don’t have to worry about this area.