Performance and Cost Targets

The U.S. Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC) has established a set of long-term performance goals for electrochemical energy storage devices:

  • The target for PHEV batteries is an energy storage capacity of 11.6 kWh with an energy density of 100 Wh/kg and a unit cost of stored energy of $35/kWh.

  • The target for BEV batteries is an energy storage capacity of 40 kWh with an energy density of 200 Wh/kg and a unit cost of stored energy of $100/kWh.

In addition, goals were established for battery life in terms of the number of 80 percent discharge cycles. Meeting these goals is likely to be required for widespread commercialization of electrically powered vehicles.

Lithium-ion batteries currently lead in energy density (Wh/kg) metric and have an average annual improvement rate of 3.7 percent. Lead-acid batteries lead in the cost of stored energy ($/kWh) at $50/kWh and have an average annual reduction rate of around 3 percent. However, lead-acid batteries are unable to satisfy the battery life requirements for PHEVs and BEVs. Today’s lithium-ion batteries that have the cycle life desired for automotive applications cost between $500/kWh and $1000/kWh.

The cost target (in $/kWh) is currently viewed as the greatest challenge for lithium-ion battery technology.

Industry Developments

The lithium-ion consumer electronics market is currently at around 2 billion units annually. The volume of lithium-ion batteries in automotive applications, however, is very small. Frost & Sullivan (2008) predict a 19.6 percent compound annual growth rate for shipments of HEV batteries, as well as a smaller but rapidly growing market for PHEV and BEV batteries.

An auto battery alliance has been promoted by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory and includes 3M, ActaCell, All Cell Technologies, Altair Nanotechnologies, EaglePicher, EnerSys, Envia Systems, FMC, Johnson Controls-Saft, MicroSun, Mobius Power, SiLyte, Superior Graphite, and Townsend Advanced Energy.

All major vehicle manufacturers have partnered with major battery manufacturers: Ford with Johnson Controls-Saft, General Motors with LG Chem, Chrysler with General Electric, Toyota with Panasonic/Sanyo, Nissan with NEC via the Automotive Energy Supply joint venture, and Honda with GS Yuasa.

Specialists anticipate that it may be 10 to 20 years before advanced battery technology can reach the USABC performance and cost targets.

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