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From the component perspective, the power electronics and the
battery system can be identified as the essential cost factors for
the entire vehicle. Although depending on vehicle size, the battery
system is currently still responsible for approximately between 50
and 65 percent of manufacturing costs, significantly lower manu-
facturing costs can be projected for the year 2020. Forecasts of
manufacturing costs in the year 2020 vary on average between
/kWh and 400
/kWh depending on the study. Although there
are varying opinions concerning the size of future manufacturing
costs, the cost reduction potential is uniformly estimated to be at
least 50 percent, with respect to the present value [Miller (2011);
NPE (2011b)]. The reasons for this are the advancing development
work in the area of battery cells, the learning progress in produc-
tion (components, cell, module and pack) and the scale effects
associated with mass production.
Fig. 34 shows the gradual decrease in cost expected for battery
packs. In addition to the cost estimate of the National Platform for
Electromobility, there are two sample curves for different systems
(pure electric vehicles (BEV) and hybrid vehicles (PHEV 10–40 mile
range)) shown. Currently manufacturing costs for the electric ma-
chine range from 12
/kW to 18
/kW based on the study and the
motor design. Manufacturing costs forecast for the year 2020 are
increasingly based on quantities greater than 100,000 units, with
a nominal power for the propulsion system of between 50 kW and
60 kW. The bandwidth in this regard is between 6
/kW und 13
kW. Basically this assumes a mature technology for the electric
machine, nevertheless a cost reduction through future mass pro-
duction appears to be realistic. However, the target values of 4.70
$ US/kW (approximately 3.40
/kW) that the U.S. Department of
Energy is striving for by the year 2020, appear to be too optimistic
because this price barely suffices to cover the material costs [U.S.
Department of Energy (2010); Universität Stuttgart (2009); Interna-
tional Energy Agency (2011)].
In the more restricted sense discussed below, for the power elec-
tronics the components of the pulse inverter (and its subcompo-
nents) are understood. As of the present date, costs shown for
manufacturing the so-called inverter still vary significantly depen-
ding on the specific study considered. Depending on the design of
the motor, manufacturing costs between 8 EUR/kW und 25 EUR/
kW are shown [for example, see Mock (2010); Universität Stuttgart
(2009); Dolorme (2009)]. A significant reduction in the manufactu-
ring costs for these components is expected by the year 2020. The
potential for savings due to possible series production is estima-
ted at up to 70 percent of present costs [for example, see U.S. De-
partment of Energy (2010); European Commission (2005); Cristidis
In Fig. 35 the cost breakdown for a small and a large battery elec-
tric vehicle is presented. The present cost breakdown and the pos-
sible cost breakdown for the year 2020 are listed. For the electric
propulsion system, a motor power of 47 kW (small vehicle) and 160
kW (large vehicle) were used as the basis for the comparison. A capa-
city of 16 kWh (small) and 48 kWh (large) was assumed for the battery.
»The manufacturing costs of a cell will be approximately 70
percent due to the process and procedure costs and not, as
often assumed, due to the material costs.«
Dr. Andreas Gutsch, Project Director Competence E at the Karlsruhe
Institute for Technology (KIT)
42 Authors’ own illustration based on [NPE (2011b); Miller (2011)]. The values for the BEV and PHEV vehicles are based on a currency conversion rate of 1.35
Fig. 34: The expected gradual cost reduction for battery packs
Chapter 3