Tesla, IBM, Stanford, & PNNL Lead Obama’s Battery500 EV Battery Initiative As I’ve written many times, I think the #1 barrier to quicker electric car (and electric bus) adoption is simply lack of awareness / lack of experience. That said, despite the many technological, societal, and consumer benefits of electric cars, there are two remaining technological hurdles that can limit adoption for a significant number of people. The first regards charging speed, and that is being tackled by the White House with its target to achieve 350 kW, 10-minute EV fast charging; its workplace charging initiative; its $4.5 billion for EV charging loan guarantees; its “FAST Act process” to identify and streamline development of EV charging corridors across the United States; and other initiatives. On the battery front, the US Department of Energy (DOE) has been working to bring down battery costs for the past few years, and the press release notes that EV battery prices dropped 70% in the past 8 years, but the aim is to put the price drop into ludicrous mode (okay, maybe not ludicrous mode, but the White House is certainly stepping on the pedal). The aim is to get below $100/kWh soon in order to really accelerate the clean transport rEVolution. Here are the specific targets of the new White House / Department of Energy initiative: “The Battery500 Consortium aims to triple the specific energy (to 500 WH/kg) relative to today’s battery technology while achieving 1,000 electric vehicles cycles. This will result in a significantly smaller, lighter weight, less expensive battery pack (below $100/kWh) and more affordable EVs.” 4 DOE National Laboratories and 5 universities are involved in Battery500, but I found it particularly interesting that the advisory board consists of Tesla and IBM, as well as Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and Stanford University, which are both research partners as well. The other partner labs and universities (not on the advisory board) are: Brookhaven National Laboratory Idaho National Laboratory SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory Binghamton University (State University of New York) University of California, San Diego University of Texas at Austin University of Washington The team as a whole will receive up to $10 million a year for 5 years. Not too shabby. And I think it’s promising that Tesla is on the advisory board, since the Silicon Valley company is leading the industry in the EV battery space, now has Jeff Dahn on board, and is obviously very keen to see research feed into practical solutions and real-world improvements in battery technology. I’m also curious how it is IBM is on the advisory board. Beyond the simple fact that IBM has plenty of products using batteries, do you have any thoughts on its involvement here? Coming back to historical battery prices and how they’ve dropped in recent years, below a graph I love (from our “Electric Car Answers” page). It was originally published in 2015 as part of a study of battery price trends up through 2014 (the stidy was published in the journal Nature Climate Change), and revised it slightly in May 2016. Cost estimates and future projections for electric vehicle battery packs, measured in $US per kilowatt hour of capacity. Each mark on the chart represents a documented estimate reviewed by the study. But I added the last circle regarding Tesla’s most recent statement. Source: Nykvist et al. (2015). Could we get to $100/kWh EV batteries by 2020?