New technology is always expensive. As technology develops and spreads throughout global markets, material and manufacturing costs inevitably fall. That leads to lower prices for consumers, and to some extent, we see that happening in the realm of battery electric vehicles. After a very expensive prospect for buyers, the cheapest EV for 2022 is the $28,425 Nissan Leaf.
However, the cheapest internal combustion Nissan is still over $10,000 less than the Leaf. It’s generally the same story at any automaker that sells EVs – comparable combustion-powered cars are always cheaper, and not by a small amount. Of course, EVs still account for a tiny fraction of total new vehicle sales. That means the price between electricity and combustion power should be balanced in the near future, as production costs for EVs continue to fall. But will it really happen?
That’s the topic of an interesting report from Roads & Tracks. The news outlet recently spoke with Mercedes-Benz Chief Technology Officer Markus Schäfer, who painted a less optimistic future for battery electric vehicles in terms of price. He cites the $50 per kilowatt cost as a comparable EV metric that is much more affordable to financially match internal combustion engines. In short, he doesn’t see any way in which battery power can hit that target, or even come close.
The reason? In the report, Schäfer points out that current battery technology is still out of reach despite increasing usage. As such, development is ongoing to find a better solution, but it’s essentially resetting the evolutionary process of incorporating new battery technology into cars. He also cited raw material mining capacity as a potential problem. With the added variables, it leads Schäfer to a skeptical conclusion about EV prices dropping further, if at all.
“So the anticipated drop is well below 100 dollars or euros per kilowatt, it may take longer,” Schäfer said, according to Roads & Trails.
Exactly how much longer a topic is is not covered in detail. Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz is struggling to have an all-electric lineup by 2030. That’s eight years away, so perhaps the bigger question here is whether new battery technology will arrive and sift through the automotive world before internal combustion is gone for good. Otherwise, new car buyers could face a future that is even more expensive than the current one.