A techno-economic analysis and optimization of Li-ion batteries for light-duty passenger vehicle electrification

Published: January 2015

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We conduct a techno-economic analysis of Li-ion NMC-G prismatic pouch battery and pack designs for electric vehicle applications. We develop models of power capability and manufacturing operations to identify the minimum cost cell and pack designs for a variety of plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) and battery electric vehicle (BEV) requirements. We find that economies of scale in battery manufacturing are reached quickly at a production volume of ∼200–300 MWh annually. Increased volume does little to reduce unit costs, except potentially indirectly through factors such as experience, learning, and innovation. We also find that vehicle applications with larger energy requirements are able to utilize cheaper cells due in part to the use of thicker electrodes. The effect on cost can be substantial. In our base case, we estimate pack-level battery production costs of ∼$545 kWh−1 for a PHEV with a 10 mile (16 km) all-electric range (PHEV10) and ∼$230 kWh−1 for a BEV with a 200 mile (320 km) all-electric range (BEV200). This 58% reduction, from $545 kWh−1 to $230 kWh−1, is a larger effect than the uncertainty represented by our optimistic and pessimistic scenarios. Electrodes thicker than about 100 or 125 microns are not currently used in practice due to manufacturing and durability concerns, but relaxing this constraint could further lower the cost of larger capacity BEV200 packs by up to an additional 8%.

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