It has already been noticed that the adoption curve for Electric Vehicles in India is not following the expected pattern. While electric two- and three-wheelers have led the onset of Electric Vehicles in India, Indian customers are still shying away from buying an Electric passenger car for personal use. The main factor is the total cost of ownership (TCO), which includes the cost for acquisition, running, and maintenance is the most important factor determining the viability of the vehicle, is higher for electrical vehicles than their conventional-fuel counterparts.
Although some of the extra expenses incurred is because of the companies trying to plough back the development costs of the new technologies involved, the main reason and the majority of the cost comes from the high price of rechargeable batteries . Batteries occupy a significant portion of the vehicles total cost at current technicalities. At the current battery pack cost per kWh and the share of the battery in the overall vehicle cost is a astounding 30 to 40 percent. Reduction in battery cost will lead to acquisition cost parity for electric vehicles.
How batteries for ev are becoming cheaper?
This is why the recent advancements in batteries are the most important developments being made so far, and most significantly the shift away from cobalt . This is one of the main elements making lithium ion batteries so expensive. It is also fraught with political issues, since the mining can be in conflict areas like the Congo, and its production is considered quite polluting of the environment. But the main reason behind cobalt’s usage is because it enables the energy density required in batteries intended to last for hundreds of miles per charge. Companies like Tesla was working with CATL on batteries, and these could prove to be the real gamechanger. LFP batteries don’t use cobalt and have a roadmap to push well past the magical $100 per kWh (wholesale) that is considered the threshold for EVs being cheaper than ICE vehicles.
Tesla has also recently patented the technology for cathodes that significantly improves the number of charge cycles in the batteries. The current lithium-ion technology allows for somewhere between 1,000 and 1,500 charge-discharges which would mean 1,500 charge cycles could last you for about 25 years if charged once a week. The new Tesla technology, patented by the company can increase charge cycles to nearly 4,000, which would be more like 75 years. These technologies, if in the upcoming future become commercially viable, could revolutionise battery durability and price. Now taking the cost that the batteries contribute to the total cost of the Electric Vehicles, this could make EV’s a mere 10% more expensive than Internal Combustion Engine’s (ICE) instead of 30%, which will be easy to regain due to cheaper running costs over a period of year or two of ownership.
The time is fast approaching when Electric Vehicles are not just more ecological and cheaper to run than their fuel counterparts, but cheaper to buy too, and batteries free of cobalt are a key step towards that direction.