Production of Batteries for Electric and Hybrid Vehicles
Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries are currently being implemented in hybrid electric (HEV), plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV), and electric (EV) vehicles. While nickel metal-hydride will continue to be the battery chemistry of choice for some HEV models, Li-ion will be the dominate battery chemistry of the remaining market share for the near-future. Large government incentives are currently necessary for customer acceptance of the vehicles such as the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf. Understanding the parameters that control the cost of Li-ion will help researchers and policy makers understand the potential of Li-ion batteries to meet battery energy density and cost goals, thus enabling widespread adoption without incentives.
The approach at Argonne National Laboratory is to estimate the cost of the Li-ion batteries after they have reached a mature state of development and are being manufactured at high volume. Using a combination of battery design and manufacturing cost calculations, one can predict how customer requirements, such as power and energy or acceleration and range, affect the end price of the battery.
Argonne's sponsor, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), is currently supporting the research and development of novel low cost, high energy and power density materials for batteries that will power HEVs, PHEVs, and EVs. The design and cost model developed at Argonne allows a direct analysis of the impact these new discoveries will make in a real battery pack.
Projections from the model, battery manufacturers, and original equipment manufacturers suggest that the price of transportation-scale Li-ion batteries will decrease significantly over the next ten years. However, continued advancements in materials and systems development will be necessary to drive down costs to meet targets set by the DOE and U.S. Advanced Battery Consortium. The promising news is that there has been a significant increase in the number of scientists and engineers working to find solutions to lower the cost and improve the lifespan of these batteries. With increasing investment, battery goals for HEV and PHEV may be obtainable in the not-so-distant future.