Automakers are currently testing packs of lithium-ion batteries that were assembled by Silicon Valley startup Tesla Motors Inc. Such batteries cost less than bigger, car-only batteries used by Nissan Motor Co., Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and General Motors Co. Now, Daimler AG, BMW AG and Toyota Motor Corp. are turning to laptops for economical ways to power their electric cars and their sales.
A pack of 6,831 cylinder-shaped cells made by Panasonic Corp. powers Tesla's $109,000 Roadster sports car for up to 245 miles (nearly 295km) per charge.
According to Sanyo Electric Co., the world's largest battery maker, the auto industry will help lithium-ion battery makers more than triple sales to JPY5 trillion ($60 billion) in a decade from JPY1.5 trillion in the year ending in March.
Koji Endo, an Advanced Research Japan analyst based in Tokyo, says rechargeable consumer-electronics batteries benefit from an economy of scale that may help cut sticker prices and manufacturing costs in the budding electric-car industry.
Bloomberg New Energy Finance states that EV prices are higher than three-quarters of the autos now sold, with GM's Chevrolet Volt selling for $41,000 and Nissan's Leaf for $32,780.
In October 2010, J.D. Power and Associates, an industry forecaster in Westlake Village, California, says that sales of EVs and hybrids, including plug-in models, will reach about 954,000 worldwide in 2010, or about 2.2 percent of all car sales.
EVs cost about twice as much to produce as gasoline-engine cars because the batteries are so expensive, according to consultant Frost & Sullivan Inc. [via autonews - sub. required]