What Will It Take to Make the Electric Car Affordable?

Even as auto manufacturers roll out bigger, better technology for electric vehicles, high production costs – particularly from battery manufacturers – are keeping sales figures low, Tim Fernholz reports.

Last week, American and European automakers showcased a cutting-edge electric vehicle charging system – to be adopted as the new standard – that can top up the "tank" in under 20 minutes (that's up to ten times faster than existing systems).

"The initiative represents a step toward an electrified automotive future, akin to agreeing on standard-sized railroad tracks to extend rail networks across the country," writes Fernholz. "But there's still a major obstacle standing in the way of mass adoption of electric cars: battery technology, and the price that comes with it."

Slated for release this spring, Ford's fully-electric Focus retails at $32,450 after a hefty federal tax rebate – that's over 75% more than the $18,300 price tag on the standard model, enough to fill up the tank almost 300 times at $4/gallon.

While the company aims to lure the younger generation of drivers with hi-tech entertainment systems and a green ethos, that may not be enough to overcome the sticker shock. Mike Tinskey, director of global vehicle electrification at Ford, sees battery prices as the greatest roadblock to hitting the right price point for the market.

"While part of the problem is technological, Tinskey points to economics as the central challenge. 'In my opinion, it's scale-how do you prime the pump?' he says. 'You really need to get scale at these battery plant manufacturing facilities.'"

Full Story: What's Killing the Electric Car? The Price of Batteries

Comments

Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 4th Edition

Thinking about Grad School?

New! 4th Edition of the Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs just released.
Starting at $24.95

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $209
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $16.95 a month
Wood necklace with city map

City Necklaces

These sweet pendants are engraved on a cedar charm with a mini map of selected cities. The perfect gift for friends and family or yourself!
$28.00