Tesla leads battery cell cost by wide margin: Cairn ERA

Tesla leads battery cell cost by wide margin: Cairn ERA

Battery technology is of course of utmost importance when it comes to an automaker’s success in the field of greener mobility, and Tesla Motors enjoys a significant lead in terms of battery cell cost compared to the rest of the fast-growing electric auto industry, a new report revealed.

High cost of battery cells is believed to be one of the biggest hindrances on electric vehicles’ way to become mainstream mobility. Hence, battery cost is often seen as the main target for any automaker to lower the cost of EVs.

While most of EV makers rely on suppliers like LG or Panasonic to get the battery cells, some automakers are involved in cell design and chemistry, which leads to custom solutions and different costs. Tesla, for example, has been involved in battery cell design and chemistry, and it now believed to be the leader in battery cost. It is the EV giant’s early investments in cylindrical battery cell technology that brought down its costs, while the rest of the automakers have been using pouch and prismatic cells.

Cairn Energy Research Advisors (Cairn ERA) has been tracking EV battery costs of various automakers, and now the group has released a fresh report putting some actual numbers on battery costs, showing that Tesla is currently enjoying the lead over others by a significant margin.

As per the Cairn ERA report, Tesla pays an average of $142 per kilowatt hour (kWh) for battery cells; much lower than other automakers. For instance, GM pays an average of $169 per kWh for battery cells. The industry average is around $186 per kWh.

The newly released report states, “Tesla pays an average of $142 per kilowatt hour (kWh) for battery cells. By comparison, GM pays an average of $169 per kWh for its battery cells while the industry average runs at about $186 per kWh. Paying far less than other automakers for lithium-ion battery cells allows Tesla to also lead the industry in the cost to manufacture EV battery packs.”

The report also estimates that Tesla’s battery packs cost $187 per kWh, while GM’s battery packs cost $207 per kWh. The auto industry’s average cost of battery packs is $246 per kWh.

Tesla has a battery cell joint-venture (JV) with LG, and it has invested heavily in it. It is expected bring the automaker’s battery cell cost below $100 per kWh. Based on the trend, Cairn ERA believes that the Palo Alto, California-based EV giant will likely maintain a battery cost lead over rivals for the next 10 years.

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