Electric Vehicles: Battery costs dropping

Costs are dropping for batteries used in electric vehicles (EV) raising the probability that manufacturers of EVs will continue to push their vehicles into the marketplace. In a report posted on the Renewable Energy World blog, the “$12 billion the federal government has pumped into alternative vehicles” has enabled producers of batteries and EVs to improve technology and lower production costs.

The report goes on to say, “Not long ago, it cost $33,000 for the battery of an electric vehicle with a 100-mile range. The Department of Energy expects the cost to drop by half between 2009 and 2013. By the end of 2015 some batteries should cost $10,000.

“The price of batteries for plug-in hybrid vehicles, or PHEVs, is falling quickly too. PHEVs can travel 40 miles on electricity and then automatically shift to gasoline. Priced at about $13,000 in 2009, the PHEV batteries are expected to cost only $6,700 in 2013 and $4,000 in 2015, according to the DOE.

“The new electric car is seen as a way to reduce reliance on oil, which now supplies 95% of our transportation fuel. But the electric car has several interesting side stories as well.

“Electricity is cheaper than gasoline. So, consumers should find themselves paying the equivalent of only $1/gallon to fuel electric cars, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

“In coming up with that figure, NREL assumed it will take 9-10 kWh per gallon to operate a typical mid-size car, with vehicle efficiency of 2.9 mile/kWh. Researchers also assumed an electricity cost of 9.4 cents/kWh as the cost of electricity. While that is a fair average, the truth is that the price of electricity varies significantly nationally, and the cost of driving an electric car will vary accordingly. For example, in North Dakota electric rates run about 7 cents/kWh, while in Connecticut they are 19 cents/kWh.”

If consumers do most of their vehicle charging at night when their vehicles are idle, they will be able to take advantage of cheaper charge rates, since that is the slowest time for electricity generating plants that then charge lower rates. For an extra charge, a fast charger sold by the EV manufacturer can charge a battery to 80% in just 30 minutes.

For RVers that choose an EV for their toad, charging could be done at night in campgrounds, by solar panels on their rig (which would be free power), or by plugging  into charging stations which are now being built.

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