Tesla, LG Chem pull ahead in advanced battery race

May 25, 2015

GM will offer the Chevy Bolt, an electric car offering a range of 200 miles, for about $30,000, which includes a $7500 federal subsidy
Credit Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Electric cars can't compete on price or range with gas-burning cars, yet. But they're getting closer, according to a new study from Lux Research, because of the work being done by advanced battery manufacturers.

Analyst Cosmin Laslau says advanced lithium ion batteries could hit a price target of $172 per kilowatt hour by the year 2025. That's a 35% reduction from the current price.

And since the batteries are the most expensive part of an electric car, bringing down their cost could make electric cars affordable ($30,000, without a federal subsidy) with a range of 200 miles or more.

But not all battery manufacturers will hit that target. Laslau says two manufacturers are in the lead.

"We are forecasting that Panasonic and Tesla will probably be the cost leader in the industry," says Lasau.  "They're really trying to push for the biggest battery factory that the world has ever seen. But certainly LG Chem will be nipping at their heels."

LG Chem, based in Korea, has a factory in West Michigan.