Battery prices have fallen 88 percent over the last decade

Enlarge (credit: Eric Bangeman / Ars Technica)

The average cost of a lithium-ion battery pack fell to $137 per kWh in 2020, according to a new industry survey from BloombergNEF. That’s an inflation-adjusted decline of 13 percent since 2019. The latest figures continue the astonishing progress in battery technology over the last decade, with pack prices declining 88 percent since 2010.

Large, affordable batteries will be essential to weaning the global economy off fossil fuels. Lithium-ion batteries are the key enabling technology for electric vehicles. They’re also needed to smooth out the intermittent power generated by windmills and solar panels.

But until recently, batteries were simply too expensive for these applications to make financial sense without mandates and subsidies. Now, that is becoming less and less true. BloombergNEF estimates that battery-pack prices will fall to $100 per kWh by 2024. That’s roughly the level necessary for BEVs to be price-competitive with conventional cars without subsidies. Given that electric vehicles are cheap to charge and will likely require less maintenance than a conventional car, they will be an increasingly compelling option over the next decade.

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January 9, 2021