Electric vehicle manufacturers need to focus on strategies other than scaling up production if they are to lower Li-ion battery costs and boost flagging EV sales, according to a report by Lux Research.
Sales of such vehicles are tied to the cost of Li-ion batteries, Lux says, and early demand has fallen short of projections. However, ramping-up production of Li-ion batteries would only bring nominal battery pack cost down to $397/kWh in 2020 – far short of the $150/kWh target set by the U.S. Advanced Battery Consortium and not enough to reach the mass market, according to Searching for Innovations to Cut Li-ion Battery Costs.
A far better strategy would be to focus on cathode capacity and voltage improvement, Lux says. In the optimal case, with a maximum voltage increase of 1V and capacity increase of 200 mAh/g, the nominal pack cost drops 20 percent, the report says.
Manufacturers should also be investigating battery technologies other than Li-ion, Lux says. Technologies such as Li-air, Mg-ion, Li-S and solid-state batteries push past the limitations of Li-ion batteries and achieve higher energy densities and specific energies, the report says.
Each technology has its own supporters – such as PolyPlus and IBM for Li-air, and Toyota for Mg-ion – but all face significant obstacles, the report says.