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2020 Li-Ion Battery Costs Will Be Too High for Mass EV Adoption, Report Says

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.

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