Mercedes chief technology officer warns electric car prices a long way off – News – Hybrids and Electrics

The big challenge for the automotive industry in the years to come lies in achieving iprice equality between electric cars and their mostly gasoline-powered internal combustion namesakes. The last brand to speak out on this was Mercedes-Benz through its Chief Technology Officer, Markus Schäfer, who was clear on this, making it clear that we are still a long way from even close to seeing the battery cost.

It was in certain press releases published by the American magazine Road & Truck that the German leader spoke out on the evolution of the cost of battery packs, even daring to determine at what price it is necessary to place the kWh of energy so that, definitely, electric cars are competitive.

Schäfer commented: “Achieving a price of $50 for each kWh of energy would lead to a cost base comparable to that of an internal combustion engine, and I would say that’s far off.” He also added, “I don’t see that with the chemistry we have today“.

In this regard, on certain occasions during the past year the industry has approached prices of around $100 per kWh of energy, but in a very volatile way since it has never stabilized at this level, not even close. In fact, in recent months it has seen increases, settling around $120, and that it won’t go down seems almost a fact.

Mercedes Vision EQXX battery.

In the future, both in the short and medium term, the cost of raw materials will therefore not accompany the product plans of many manufacturers, so silence on some affordable and other electric car projects will become a habitual thing. , as well as the public postponement or cancellation of many others. An example is, without a doubt, the 25,000 euro Tesla media electric car, in which the cost of the batteries had a direct impact on its final price.

As Schäfer pointed out, reality indicates that currently it is not possible to achieve this goal with any of the currently available battery technologies. The affordable batteries we need need high energy density to be competent, and the truth is that either the right chemistry hasn’t been found yet, or if it still exists, it’s not possible to produce it on an industrial scale.

Given the case, even, to have a viable formula for the production which allows to lower the cost per kWh, the process of adapting a new chemistry to the industrial level could take years since there must also be a natural replacement between the emerging technology and that which is currently commercialized.

Mercedes-EQE.
Mercedes-EQE.

In the actuality of the litio is the most important component in the battery of an electric coach, there is no estemos acudiendo (casi) con normalidad a la explotación de nuevos yacimientos de litio, con lo que se debería diversificar la offer y por ende hacerse más asequible , what is certain is that lithium is not mined at the rate demanded by the industry.

And it is that not only the manufacturers of electric cars must be supplied with lithium, but also the manufacturers of electronic devices, because like the battery of an electric car, lithium is also found in the batteries of everyday devices such as computers, tablets, phones and others.

Schäfer underlines that indeed, today, the problem lies mainly around the economy of scale, and that if a shortcut is not found for the situation, no improvement forecast in sight. The political instability of recent times and the obstacles put in place by the countries where many lithium deposits are located have also caused tensions in the supply chains, hampering production and increasing its price. Situation that mainly affects lithium, but that affects all kinds of materials.

Open pit lithium mine.
Open pit lithium mine.

Much will depend on the ability to extract raw materials and the global evolution of electric cars. These are the two main factors. But I would say that for a while we will have headwinds on the commodities side. So the expected drop below 100 dollars or euros per kWh could take longer.” Concludes the German: “Honestly, if we keep the chemistry and with the ingredients we have today… there is no forecast of this advance”.

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