produced an estimate of about $500 and $1,500/kWh. Similarly, a McKinsey report set it at $700 to $1,500/kWh, and a 2009 Carnegie Mellon study estimated it to be $1,000/kWh.
Lux researchers believe the most recent figures from Tesla and GM are the industry’s best, and that not all OEMs are reaching those figures, however. “Those are the two best-case scenarios,” Robinson said. “OEMs who can’t command the same volumes as GM and Tesla are probably looking at closer to $250 to $300/kWh for the cost of a cell.” He added that LG Chem, which makes the battery for the Chevy Bolt, has razor thin margins and may not be making any profit on those Bolt batteries.
Still, the cost numbers will continue to decline, he believes. “The economies of scale that lithium-ion has achieved are impressive,” Robinson said. “And the cost reductions have come quicker than most of the industry expected.”
Senior technical editor Chuck Murray has been writing about technology for 32 years. He joined Design News in 1987, and has covered electronics, automation, fluid power, and autos.