Oil Exec Says Electric-Car Batteries 'Not Ready for Primetime'
Green Car Reports
February 11, 2011
by John Voelcker
It's always good to hear the arguments against electric cars. Some are valid, some are idiotic, and some simply betray a lack of knowledge about how the auto industry really works.
Into that last category may go some comments by one William M. Colton, ExxonMobil’s vice president for corporate strategic planning.
At least 10 years away
In an interview with The New York Times, he commented that electric-car batteries were "not ready for prime time," that a breakthrough to make electric cars practical wouldn't come for at least 10 years, and that gasoline's much greater energy density meant that buyers would always choose cars with longer ranges.
In more detail, Colton estimates the cost per kilowatt-hour of electric-car battery packs at $800 to $1,000. That must fall by half or more, he says, before electric cars are practical.
Well, yes, that may be true for many buyers. But basic research will show that the cost-performance of consumer lithium-ion cells--the ones in your mobile phone or laptop--has fallen 6 to 8 percent a year since the first one was introduced in 1989. Most analysts expect the same for large-format automotive cells.
2020? We're there
That means that by 2020, those costs will indeed have fallen by half.
So, in fact, in just 10 years from last December's launch of such cars as the 2011 Nissan Leaf and 2011 Chevy Volt, electric vehicles could be cost-competitive on purchase price with gasoline cars? (Not to mention the much, much lower cost-per-mile for electrics.)
Gee, that sounds pretty good to us.
Colton also neglects to mention that it will take the industry as much as 10 years to get to the point where even 1 or 2 percent of global vehicle production (now roughly 70 million vehicles a year, perhaps 100 million by then) will be electric cars. That's about the same path that hybrid-electric vehicles followed, by the way.
Full article at link.