According to Bloomberg’s report, Toyota, Daimler, and BMW are now seeking the possibility of adopting the cheaper and lighter batteries used in NBs. The cost of these lithium batteries are cheaper than that of batteries adopted by GM, Nissan, and Mitsubishi.
Kiji Endo, a Japanese analyst, said that it is economical to use consumer electronics rechargeable batteries to bring down the cost of electric vehicles. Cost of manufacturing electric vehicles may be reduced to a much lower level and even lower than that of making traditional vehicles that run on gas. Martin Eberhard, former CEO of Tesla, also indicated that the manufacturing cost of large lithium batteries is about $700-800/kWh and it costs only 1/4 of that amount to manufacture smaller lithium batteries used in NBs.
Take GM’s Volt and Nissan’s Leaf as an example, currently retail prices of electric vehicles are about 75% higher that those of traditional vehicles. The forecast of electric and hybrid vehicles sales is about 0.9 millions accounting for about 2-3% of global new car purchases in 2011. With supports from governments, the ratio is possibly raised to 9-10% by 2020. The largest lithium battery manufacturer Sanyo predicts that if the automotive industry adopts NB batteries, gross revenue of battery manufacturers could triple to 60 billion dollars.
However, there were several isolated recalls of lithium battery due to overheating issues. Some consumers indicated that they are cautious about electric vehicles that adopt NB batteries and such sentiment will continue to linger before mass purchase of electric vehicles materialize.