DETROIT -- Vehicle electrification will become more mainstream as the cost per kilowatt-hour drops for lithium ion batteries, experts say.
Today the cost is $500 to $700 per kilowatt-hour, according to Ford Motor Co.
“Three-hundred fifty dollars per kilowatt is achievable in the next 10 years,” along with smaller and lighter battery packs, Jon Bereisa, CEO of Auto Lectrification, said today at the Automotive News Green Car Conference in suburban Detroit.
Bereisa said he expects next-generation lithium ion battery packs to be two to four times more powerful than today’s lithium ion batteries -- resulting in a longer range between recharges. Additionally, the batteries will be smaller, providing more options in vehicle development.
To avoid higher development costs, automakers are creating platforms that can handle gasoline and diesel engines as well as hybrid, plug-in hybrid or battery-electric power, said Nancy Gioia, Ford’s global director of electrification.
As vehicle platforms are redesigned, each platform is being engineered to handle each powertrain.
An example is Ford’s compact global platform, which is shared by the 2012 Focus, 2013 C-Max five-door hatchback and several upcoming vehicles. A Focus electric is planned, as well as a C-Max hybrid and plug-in hybrid.
Gioia said Ford is finding new ways to reduce the energy load for things such as heating and air conditioning systems, power steering systems and windshield wiper motors. The purpose is to reduce the kilowatt-hour requirement for the battery pack, resulting in fewer batteries and less cost.
“We have a long way to go,” she said.
Jason Forcier, vice president of the automotive unit at battery maker A123 Systems, predicted that by 2020 “half of the world’s vehicle production will be electrified,” including stop-start uses. He said heat remains a battery’s worst enemy, but some data show that batteries operated in very hot weather can last 10 years if they are properly cooled.