BMW executive slams the idea of cheaper electric cars.
BMW executive slams the idea of cheaper electric cars.

The pricing ‘nightmare’ faced by electric cars revealed

ELECTRIC vehicles will always be more costly than fuel-burners, according to a senior BMW executive. "No, no, no," is Klaus Frölich's reply when asked if EVs will ever equal the prices of equivalent conventional cars. "Never."

Batteries are the problem, explains the 58-year-old BMW board member in charge of development. Lithium-ion cells that can store the standard 1 kWh unit of electrical energy cost $170 to $250 (€100 to €150).

BMW iVision Dynamics concept is set to enter production by 2021 as the BMW i4.
BMW iVision Dynamics concept is set to enter production by 2021 as the BMW i4.

"It's very simple," says Frölich. In EVs with 90 to 100kWh battery packs, the cell cost alone will be $17,000 to $25,000. "You can produce whole cars, only with the cost of the battery," he adds.

And Frölich doesn't believe that when lithium-ion batteries for EVs are being produced in huge number that their cost will fall. Some of the metals used to make them will instead become more expensive, he predicts.

"When everybody wants to have cobalt, the prices of cobalt will not go down, they will go up," Frölich predicts. Cobalt is an essential ingredient of lithium-ion battery cells.

BMW, which plans to rapidly expand the number of pure battery power EVs and plug-in hybrids in its line-up over the next few years, is working to secure low prices for cobalt out until 2030. "We are the only ones who are doing that," Frölich claims.

"So, it's a nightmare that an electrified vehicle will cost the same as a combustion-engined car."


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