Electric cars have never been as common on international roads as they are today, yet they aren’t affordable for a large chunk of buyers. The starting price range of an electric car is usually double and even triple that of gasoline cars in some countries.
This arises a curiousness and people might wonder what makes electric cars so expensive. Hence, we have done some small research and brought you up with a brief explanation of why EVs come with such a hefty price tag.
Why Do Electric Cars Cost More Than Gas Vehicles?
Well, the major credit for making electric cars so expensive goes to the batteries powering them. Most electric vehicles are equipped with lithium-ion batteries because of their high energy density.
Li-ion batteries also power your cell phone, laptops, and other electronic gadgets. However, an EV battery is way bigger than a cell phone battery to store and deliver more energy.
What makes it demanding is its high energy density property. In addition, a Li-ion battery is very stable, provides longer charging cycles, and requires very little space to fit in. This in return makes it one of the most demanding types of battery and increases its overall costs.
According to experts, lithium-ion batteries make up around one-third of the total cost of an electric vehicle. This is simply because of the metals that are present inside a lithium-ion battery which is the primary reason for its high price.
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A lithium-ion battery is comprised of expensive metals like cobalt, nickel, manganese, etc. that altogether increases its cost. Cobalt is one of the most expensive out of them and it’s an important element in producing high energy density batteries.
How Electric Vehicle Batteries Can Be Made Cheaper?
EV makers and battery researchers are making continuous efforts to bring down the cost of batteries in order to make electric cars affordable.
Last year, the Chinese automaker BYD introduced LFP (lithium-iron-phosphate) in its electric sedan, BYD Han. LFP batteries are cheaper than conventional lithium-ion batteries due to the absence of cobalt.
However, LFP batteries have low energy density because of the same reason. Thankfully, BYD developed its in-house cell-to-pack (CTP) to tackle this problem. According to the automaker, CTP technology will boost up the energy density by up to 50%.
Tesla Aims To Produce Cobalt-Free Batteries
Tesla too aims to produce cobalt-free lithium-ion batteries in the coming years. As of now, Tesla uses only 5% cobalt in its 2170 cylindrical cells which are produced by Panasonic.
On the other hand, Tesla already has incorporated LFP batteries into the China-bound Tesla Model 3.
These batteries are made in collaboration with the Chinese battery maker CATL. Similarly, Tesla is working with other renowned battery makers like LG Chem to improve battery technology. The automaker is also working with Prof. Jeff Dahn at the University of Dalhousie, Canada to further develop new battery technology.
Apart from this, battery researchers are working on Solid-State Battery which can completely revolutionize the EV industry.
Solid-State Batteries Can Make Electric Cars Cheaper
Solid-state battery technology is yet to integrate with electric vehicles. The technology is still under development, and it will require a few years to become commercially viable.
However, when fully developed it can benefit the automakers in multiple ways. Solid-state batteries are believed to significantly reduce battery cost while increasing energy density and its overall life.
Other Factors Affecting The Cost Of Electric Vehicles
Apart from the expensive batteries, what increases the cost of electric cars is the technology incorporated into them. Most electric cars are equipped with all the latest technology including autonomous driving, this also increases the cost of an EV.
Moreover, the automakers have to design different chassis for making electric cars. For example, many leading automakers including Hyundai, Volkswagen, and General Motors have designed a dedicated global modular platform for their upcoming EVs.
Anyway, initially, any new setup or technology consumes more capital in its early development stage. As the technology develops and things get optimized, it will get affordable as well.
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