When it comes to Tesla, Nissan or any other automaker producing electric vehicles, we all know their biggest – in every aspect – asset is the battery pack and they all look still rather far from that one great trillion dollar final breakthrough.
Electric cars – frankly – haven’t been the life and planet saving vehicles we were all announced are critical to the fate of our future generations. They are still very expensive, have a limited driving range and get filled up in what feels like “ages”. Well, all these problems do relate to a single part of the concept – the battery pack. That’s why some even consider building on the hydrogen fuel cell alternative, discarding all together the battery-operated cars.
Back to our Li-Ion and Ni-Mh discussion, each executive in charge of at least one electric car – from billionaire Elon Musk to… well any other executive in charge of the electric vehicle department at a global or small carmaker thinks about the – battery that can be found in almost every modern consumer item – from smartphone to Tesla’s Model S.
Taking as an example the Tesla Model S – the luxury sedan that offers a good driving range – and Nissan’s Leaf, the world’s best selling electric car, we could point out some simple facts about the electric car today. The Model S has 60 and 85 kWh battery packs to offer a comparable gasoline range of at least 300 miles (480 km), while the Leaf makes do with a battery of 24-kilowatt hours – also at a price that seriously undermines Tesla’s claims.
So, at least now and for the foreseeable future, range in battery electric vehicles is tied to the pack’s capacity, which in turn roughly dictates the pricing of the car. Well, if in the long run these vehicles want to have a fighting chance against the old faithful gasoline engine, all that needs to somehow scramble and result in smaller price for bigger capacity at the same size.