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Pike Research forecasts automotive Li-ion battery prices to drop by more than 1/3 by 2017

According to a recent report examining batteries for electric vehicles from Pike Research, as manufacturing efficiencies improve and access to lithium expands, the installed cost of Li-ion batteries will fall by more than one-third by the end of 2017. In terms of revenue, the market for Li-ion batteries for transportation will grow from $2.0 billion annually in 2011 to more than $14.6 billion by 2017, the market intelligence firm forecasts.

Government subsidies that gave the initial impetus to the electric vehicle market will continue to drive the market in the near term, according to Pike. However, significant reductions in battery cost are imperative for the industry to grow to the $14.6 billion and 28 million kWh market that Pike Research also forecasts by 2017.

The market for [automotive] Li-ion batteries will be driven primarily by plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs), which require much larger battery packs than hybrids. Battery chemistries that prioritize energy capacity over power density can satisfy both the PHEV and EV battery segments, enabling vendors to offer products to multiple vendors for multiple models. Reducing the installed price of EV batteries to $523 per kilowatt hour in 2017 will be a critical step towards making PEVs cost-competitive with petroleum-powered vehicles.

—John Gartner

(In its 2009 forecast on EV batteries, Pike forecast that Li-ion prices would drop to $470 per kWh in 2015. Earlier post.)

EVs will continue to be a niche market in the global transportation industry throughout the forecast period of this report (2011-2017), Pike noted, projecting that vehicles that use electricity for propulsion will represent less than 1.4% of the global market in 2017. Nearly half of the demand is likely to come from Asia (led primarily by China) while Europe and the United States are likely to constitute 25% and 21% shares respectively.

Substantial challenges to growing the PEV market persist—on both the supply side and the demand side of the market. While most PEVs today have a range of between 40 and 100 miles, continued concerns over range and the availability of charging infrastructure, remain among the biggest impediments to the wider adoption of Li-ion batteries. On the supply side, challenges such as achieving higher energy density, better safety, and greater discharge/charge rates linger despite advances in battery technology. Although a number of Li-ion chemistries are available today, none of them can claim to be the ideal solution. There are tradeoffs that a manufacturer has to make in choosing a particular type of Li-ion battery over others.

Regardless of the direction of the EV market, the landscape of Li-ion battery suppliers is likely to consolidate to a small number of major players that lead the industry and a handful of much smaller niche companies. A limited number (likely four or fewer) of battery chemistries that provide the best mix of performance, reliability, and cost will win out, with others likely to be abandoned by mid-decade. It is probable that lithium iron phosphate will emerge as the battery chemistry of choice by the end of the forecast period because of its superiority in safety, which has been an issue with the other Li-ion chemistries.

China will likely supplant Japan as the leader in global Li-ion battery production by the turn of the decade, Pike suggests.

To boost the US Li-ion battery market, Pike suggests that the federal government needs to encourage the purchase of PEVs beyond early adopters by:

  • Encouraging and providing access to capital for wide-scale commercial deployment of EV charging infrastructure.

  • Extending consumer incentives beyond the current $7,500 for purchasing to further encourage customers who buy primarily on convenience and cost.

  • Providing incentives for stationary storage systems that would create additional first and second life markets for batteries.


Thomas Pedersen

So does everyone else... ;-)


"Reducing the installed price of EV batteries to $523 per kilowatt hour in 2017 will be a critical step towards making PEVs cost-competitive with petroleum-powered vehicles."

They need to get it down to $250 kWh with advances like vanadium phosphate and other techniques. When you look at how many millions of cells have to be made each hour, it requires an advance in energy density.


The new Envia 400 Wh/Kg batteries reaching the market place in 2014/2015 will make these forecasts look rather near sighted.

By 2017, high performance 400+ Wh/Kg batteries will be mass produced at under $250 KWh.

By 2017/2020 affordable PHEVs will have extended e-range (100+ Km) with 40+ KWh battery packs and total range (1000+ Km) with ultra light one or two cyls multi-fuel gensets.

By 2017/200 affordable light weight BEVs will have extended e-range (500+ Km) with 75+ Kwh quick charge battery packs.


Correction: By 2017/200 should read 2017/2020.....


The talent of the folk at Pike has to be admired.
They actually get paid for churning out this pap.
That takes talent!

The price of the batteries in the Renault cars is clearly in the $400kwh range, as can be seen by their lease prices.

Atul Kapadia

I think it will be 2018 for mass production and 2019 for integration into vehicles. But past history suggests that bearish prognostications on technology are often wrong. Like IBM's early perspective on computers. I do think some form of EVs are here to stay and I do think that a bubble is forming around Li-air and Li-S.


I believe in EVs, I think batteries and quick charging will make them viable, I just don't think the U.S. market is going to switch to 10 million units per year any time soon.

That does not really matter, except in the imported oil picture. What matters is personal finance, people will save half the lease rate in fuel savings. This will spur even more advances.

It is amazing what markets can do, once there is a proven market, resources converge and progress is made. This could be the "perfect storm" for advanced batteries coming our way soon enough.


Yes SJC...the breaking point may be the arrival of affordable 400+ Wh/Kw by 2014/2015 or so. Meanwhile, rented batteries may have success.


This may be a bit simplistic, but IMO when $400 kWh and 200 Wh per liter become $200 kWh and 400 Wh per liter, we will see a "tipping point" then a cascade could occur.


The tipping point will occur when customers find out what a great value deal it is, and the batteries and vehicles become highly profitable.  This seems unlikely to reverse, because the supply of batteries and their raw materials has a lot of room for growth and the flow of crude oil can't grow much if at all.


That little Devil, sitting on our shoulders and whispering input directly into our unconscious, is saying things like, "Oil is GOOD! So is COAL! So is WIND, PVs, HYDROGEN, ETC."

"Don't you just LOVE the RUMBLE of that 500 hp engine? The screech of the TIRES? The SMELL of the EXHAUST?"

A whole lot of us just lap it up, never questioning where it came from, or why.

If we really want to change what we are doing to our world, we have got to start here.It's a very difficult thing to do.

Billions of dollars are being spent every year to feed that little Devil's appetite.


When the "researchers" at Pike look in the mirror, do they see a reflection?


That multi-facets little devil (I like the little devil expression) has been implanted in our mind over many decades, with smart repeated (often false) Ads and is still very effective with the majority who still believe that bigger is better, that bigger is a sign of good taste and prosperity and that a 8000 lbs Hummer was fit for successful families etc.

Tobacco, sweet Soft Drinks, Junk Food and many other not so healthy products were (and still are) pushed on us with similar ever successful tactics.

That type of long lasting brain wash is very effective and very difficult to repair.


Well said, Harvey!

Bob Wallace

We switched from slide rules to pocket calculators in less than five years. Computers pushed typewriters and ledger books aside in only a decade. Film fell to digital in a decade.

We won't switch out our ICEVs quite as fast because of the much larger cost of throwing away a usable vehicle. Most likely what will happen is that we will switch our new vehicle purchases very rapidly as soon as we have "almost as good, almost as cheap to purchase" EVs. Existing ICEVs will move into short range driving where gas costs aren't as bothersome.

According to Green Tech Media $400/watt has been achieved.

Perhaps 2017 came early this time round....



I think you mean $400 per kWh, but point taken. We should see some advances in the next few years, there has been a lot of good ground work laid the past decade.

There will have to be a change in the way people look at personal transportation. Does one car have to do everything, or can the second car take you on trips, or the rental car take you out of town?


$400 per kWh has/can be acheived at unit quantities of 100,000 or greater. Which car company is going to order 100,000 units?


That depends on the meaning of "unit", if unit is 1 kWh then that is 4000 25 kWh packs for 4000 cars per year, no problem.

Bob Wallace

(Yes, $400/kW. Sorry for the missing 'k'.)

Now, how far behind the curve might Pike be?

Envia claims a 3x improvement in capacity and a price of $125/kW. Their capacity claims have been verified by an independent testing lab. They also claim a minimum of 1,000 cycles. (200,000 miles in a "200 mile range Leaf". And then you've got a 160 mile range EV.)

They expect to be manufacturing within two years. This is apparently possible because they will not manufacture themselves, but license their cathode technology to existing battery manufacturers.

Now, we've all seen stuff promise and fade away and perhaps Envia is yet another of these companies, but since it's being backed by both GM and the DoE it's worth watching.


"We switched from slide rules to pocket calculators in less than five years. "
Your examples are correct, but they are not a good analogy for EVs replacing ICEvs.
They describe one type of information device replacing another. These are subject to Moore's law regarding the number of transistors / unit area.
Evs are not information devices, they are bulk power devices. Moore's law does not apply here, so the analogy does not hold.
Improving batteries will be a long hard slog, not a Moore's law sprint.
As the field (automotive batteries) is quite young, I expect to see innovation, but it won't match Moore's law.


As a measure of the pace of consumer preference shift, the slide-rule to calculator transition is of interest.



Batteries are not on a Moore's law curve but now they are also not on a 5-7% annual improvement curve. They are now falling somewhere between.

Panasonic already has 265Wh/kg batteries shipping this year and that is NOT a 5-7% improvement, but actually closer to a Moore's Law type of curve.

You can't judge battery progress by the last 100 years where battery companies were in the business of selling us lots and lots and lots of disposable batteries. If YOU were in that business, would you make your batteries last longer or spend your money advertising to sell more of what you're already got?

Don't confuse previous market conditions as a cause -> leading to the effect of slow battery development with what COULD have been done with a different set of market conditions.


As a measure of the pace of consumer preference shift, the (Desktop-Laptop-Notebook) to (super tablets with WHDI and WiFi etc) transition will surprise the most optimists.

High performance 3D Tablets will not only replace most larger predecessors and most digital cameras and many large HDTV in less than 5 years but will also replace a few million tonnes of printed material including newspapers, books and many magazines.

To wirelessly surf the WEB, read all preferred daily papers even before they are printed, read any selected magazine, books; take and transmit photos; listen to music of choice; watch HDTV: use as GPS; etc in and out of the house, will all be done with a single 500 gram unit.


I look at enabling technologies accelerating battery development. Scanning Electron Microscopes, molecular modeling, nano technology and other advances help batteries advance more rapidly with less guess work.

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