PHEV-40s, and $825/kWh and $625/kWh for PHEV-10s. Literature results are as follows:

  • The NAS-NAE-NRC report America’s Energy Future concludes that automotive-grade Li-ion battery pack costs today are between $500/kWh and $1000/kWh nameplate (NAS-NAE-NRC, 2009).

  • DOE estimates of current costs are $1,000+/kWh usable energy (Howell, 2009).3 DOE goals are for performance at the end of life. Li-ion batteries deteriorate over time, typically at about 2 percent per year. Assuming a DOE start of life SOC of 70 percent, the committee estimates DOE’s nameplate cost at start of life to be $560+/kWh.

  • A recent McKinsey report concludes that battery pack costs range from $700/kWh to $1,500/kWh nameplate (Hensley et al., 2009).

  • A 2009 paper (Shiau et al.) from researchers at Carnegie Mellon University uses $1000/kWh nameplate.

  • Pesaran et al. (2007) estimated the cost of advanced Li-Ion battery costs as ranging from $800/kWh to $1,000/kWh nameplate or higher.

  • The Zero Emissions Vehicle Report projected a “current” cost of about $500/kWh nameplate in 2006 (Kalhammer et al., 2007).

The following two reports were released after the committee completed its analysis, but they are included here for completeness.

The committee expects that these early PHEVs will employ a conservatively low SOC, about 50 percent, to ensure battery durability and safety. With experience and improved battery and control technology the SOC may be increased to 70 or even 80 percent, but that is speculation until several years of real-life operating experience indicate whether battery durability would be jeopardized.

At 50 percent SOC, the current cost for usable (or available) energy for a PHEV-40 comes to $1750/kWh (probable) as shown in Chapter 2, and the nameplate cost is $875/kWh. Based on the report’s assumed propulsion energy of 200 Wh/mile, a 16 kWh battery pack (8 kWh usable) such as will be used in the Chevrolet Volt costs $14,000. While neither GM nor LG Chem, the battery supplier, has announced the costs, $7000 for the cells has been reported in the media. The additional systems, materials, and labor to assemble a battery pack are substantial.

The committee concluded, based on research and discussions, that the cost of assembling the pack is approximately the same as the cost of the cells, corresponding to the total of $14,000 for the PHEV-40. The committee also estimated a range of costs, recognizing the uncertainty involved, and concluded that under more optimistic assumptions the cost could be $10,000. In comparison, DOE estimates that a PHEV-40 would require 11.6 kWh usable energy in a pack that would cost over $11,600, consistent with the estimating accuracy of this report.


The committee estimated future costs of Li-ion batteries based on the technology status and cost projections in the literature. Based on this analysis, the committee judged that battery pack costs are likely to decline by about 35 percent by 2020 and 45 percent by 2030, as shown in Tables 2.2 and 2.3. This yields a nameplate 2030 PHEV 40 battery pack cost of about $500/kWh ($1000/kWh usable) or, under more optimistic assumptions, about $360/kWh. The committee did not attempt to estimate the future costs if a major technology breakthrough occurs, such as the development of a durable, safe Li- air battery.

The literature contains a wide range of projected future Li-ion battery and battery pack costs (all costs are nameplate unless otherwise noted):

  • The DOE goal is for a very rapid cost reduction from the estimated $1,000+/kWh current cost to $500/kWh in 2012 to $300/kWh (all costs based on available energy base) in 2014.4 Assuming 70 percent SOC and 20 percent deterioration conversion factors, DOE’s goals correspond to $280/kWh in 2012 and $168/kWh in 2014 on a nameplate capacity basis. Meeting these goals would result in a $1700 cost for a 3.4 kWh battery pack in a PHEV-10, and $3,400 for an 11.6 kWh pack in a PHEV-40. Note that these are goals, not projections. Meeting these goals could result in PHEVs being competitive in the marketplace much more rapidly compared with HEVs and conventional vehicles, as discussed in Appendix C.

  • The U.S. Advanced Battery Consortium (2009) has the same goals as DOE.

  • Nelson et al. (2009) projected pack manufacturing cost of about $350/kWh at 100,000 unit volume for a PHEV-10 and $200/kWh for a PHEV-40.

  • The McKinsey report projected that costs will decrease at 6 percent to 8 percent per year, and, with aggressive cost reduction, could reach $420/kWh nameplate by 2015 (Hensley et al., 2009).


See also S. Satyapal and P. Davis, presentation to the Committee on Review of FreedonCAR & Fuel Partnership, Phase 3, Washington, D.C., 2009.


T.Q. Duong, Update on electrochemical energy storage R&D, presentation to the committee, Washington D.C., June 2009.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement