Battery maker sees rosy, kilowatt-filled future

Rick Kranz is product editor for Automotive News
Jason Forcier figures that battery-powered vehicles are going to be pretty attractive in the years to come.

And that's good news for his company, A123 Systems, which produces lithium ion batteries and battery systems. He's VP for automotive solutions there.

Here's how Forcier, armed with several studies, sees it: Battery packs for today's electric and hybrid vehicles are pretty pricey (figure about $750 per kilowatt hour, or about $15,000 per battery pack.) But by 2013, that price will drop to about $500 per kilowatt hour; and by 2016, he expects another price drop, to about $350 per kilowatt hour for a typical EV application.

That means an average battery pack could cost as little as $6,000.

Forcier told attendees at the Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress in Detroit that price drops will be fueled by increased battery volume, battery technology advancements and government incentives.

And let's not forget gasoline prices.

Who's willing to bet that the cost of a gallon of gas is going to drop over that time?