November 25, 2020

Why are Electric Cars Expensive? 

2 min read

The existence of electric vehicles has become more common on global roads than it has ever been. Despite their emergence, the price of these cars has remained to be out of budget for many. The total cost of these electric cars is relatively high due to the high actual cost of the rechargeable battery inside the vehicle.  

The price of electric cars is largely affected by what’s found in them. An electric car uses a battery similar to that rechargeable lithium-ion battery used on the laptop or phone. The battery used in a car is much bigger to ensure that they can propel the car for long hours for longer distances. The most expensive cell component is the cathode; these electrodes’ main role is to store and release charge. Cathodes are that expensive because the materials needed in them to pack the much energy are very expensive. They are mainly made of metals such as cobalt, lithium, nickel, and manganese. All the above metals need to be mined, processed and then converted into high-purity chemical compounds. 

How much do electric cars cost? 

As per the current rates and pack sizes of a standard electric vehicle’s average battery, the price can be around $7350. The average market pack cost of $156 per kW hour is still above the standard average of $100 threshold, whereby the total cost of an electric car is supposed to match the cost of a car with an internal-combustion engine. Having a matching price would increase the mass adoption of the electric car into the motor world. 

How can the batteries get cheaper?

There are no hopes that the cost shall keep dropping as fast as we think; however, it is believed that the lithium-ion cells are on a recorded track to drop in price to $93 per kilowatt by the year 2024. To get to such prices, it is called for manufacturers to replace the high cost of cobalt cathodes with a cheaper metal such as nickel. The use of nickel comes with double benefit, firstly it is cheaper, and secondly, nickel is known to hold more energy and hence allows the manufacturers to reduce the volume used. On the other hand, there is a disadvantage as cobalt does not overheat or even catch fire easily. This means that manufacturers shall need to make safety adjustments when they use nickel as a substitute for cobalt. 

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