Frito-Lay boosts electric fleet; 275 electric trucks by the end of 2012
Toyota opens new plant in Brazil for subcompact Etios

New cost forecast model finds 2020 cost/kW for PEM fuel cell stacks and Li-ion high-power batteries could be roughly equal

Researchers at Daimler AG and a colleague at Albstadt-Sigmaringen University have developed a new cost forecast model for hydrogen fuel cell stacks and Li-ion batteries using a two-factor experience curve approach. Among the findings reported in a paper published in the International Journal of hydrogen energy were a year 2020 cost for fuel cell stacks of €36–€49/kW; for Li-ion high power batteries, €38–€46/kW; and for high-energy Li-ion batteries, €309–€408/kWh.

The endogenous cost degression in the model is driven by output and patent publications. To demonstrate the performance of the model, the team used the proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell stack, a high-energy lithium-ion battery and a high-power lithium-ion battery.

The cost trends of the individual components in the electric drive train are a central aspect of the future market success of the different vehicle drive systems.

A comparison of the forecast values calculated using this model with the industry targets determined by McKinsey in the study “A portfolio of power-trains for Europe” shows that the realization of these targets for the fuel cell stack is possible if the product volume increases rapidly enough. For the high energy and high power lithium-ion battery targets, the product volume and research and development activity, measured here in terms of patent growth, need to grow compared to the trend of the last years.

—Mayer et al.


  • Thomas Mayer, Danny Kreyenberg, Jörg Wind, Frank Braun (2012) Feasibility study of 2020 target costs for PEM fuel cells and lithium-ion batteries: A two-factor experience curve approach, International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, doi: 10.1016/j.ijhydene.2012.07.022



Interesting. If this claim becomes true,the world may have a difficult decision to make between batteries and FCs for future electrified vehicles.

Could both technologies be used? Batteries for shorter range individual vehicles, boats, tools etc and FCs for larger, longer range units such as Intercity buses, large trucks, locomotives, ships, heavy machinery etc?


At similar prices, the cost of energy for each becomes a bigger factor.

Fossil fuels make hydrogen more cheaply; RE and non-carbon fuels like nuclear make electricity more cheaply.  It's largely a tradeoff between competing lobbies.

Aaron Turpen

Since HFCs are basically just a different type of electric vehicle (the cells and H2 are the battery instead of a chemical option), why not use both? It would not be difficult for manufacturers to churn out one model with both power trains available for it. Batteries can be shaped almost any way you want, so they could take up the same space the fuel cells would. For those with more means and the desire, a swappable option could even be had.

So for those of you who live in downtown LA or NYC and drive 10 miles a day, you can have your small batteries (and cheaper car). Those of us who live in rural America and drive 50+ miles each way regularly can have the fuel cell instead.

The comments to this entry are closed.