We need to focus on one number that determines when electric vehicles (EVs) will make economic sense. That number is the price of the battery
According to researcher George Crabtree, the price of the battery (as measured in $ per kwh), will have to halve in order to make EVs competitive with conventional cars. Not promising one might think. Well, researchers now believe that battery prices could reach the magic level somewhere between 2022 and 2026.
But, there is more to come. Researchers are working on lithium ion-solid state batteries. These would not only eliminate the unfortunate flammability issue that dogs lithium batteries but also possibly double the milage per charge. Toyota hopes to have such a battery ready in the early 2020s.
Still, what about the potential shortage of minerals required to build the batteries? Crabtree points out that the key to making sure we do not have a lithium shortage is to recycle the batteries. At present we recycle almost 100% of lead acid automotive batteries and less than 5% of lithium batteries. However, figuring out how to recycle the latter economically will require research.
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