States. The difficulty is that consumers tend to focus on first cost.” One reason for DoE’s interest in class 3-8 industrial vehicles is that they are easier to sell on a life cycle basis. Those sales would increase production of batteries, bring down costs, and increase manufacturing expertise. “So anything we can do to stimulate demand for Li-ion battery technology will make the cost situation better.”
Mr. Arnold said the TCO problem can be reduced by three other factors. First, battery cost will drop as batteries become more effective. Second, faster recharging will help consumer acceptance. Third, grid integration of the battery can bring reimbursement for unused electricity.
A questioner asked about disposal at the end of battery life. Mr. Owens said the DoE believes that batteries will be easily recycled, and there is also much interest in reuse. Current knowledge is limited, he said, but lifetimes are estimated at well over 10 years, “and probably longer.”
Mr. Arnold agreed, and said that in Germany, the Ministry of Environmental Protection was developing recycling possibilities and on second uses of batteries before recycling. One important focus is the use of older batteries to help stabilize the grid by storing and releasing energy as needed.