Electric vehicles still significantly costlier to make vs cars with internal combustion engine – Mercedes-Benz

Electric vehicles still significantly costlier to make vs cars with internal combustion engine – Mercedes-Benz

Battery-electric vehicles have a significant initial cost penalty over an internal combustion car, and that is not going to change anytime soon. In fact, Mercedes-Benz chief technology officer, Markus Schäfer told Road and Track that EVs won’t get any cheaper in the near term, not realistically.

This has a lot to do with battery prices, which of late has been hit with a cost spike due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict. “Coming to US$50 (RM210) per kilowatt, which would lead to comparable cost basis to an internal combustion engine, I would say this is far out there. I don’t see that with the [battery] chemistry that we have today,” Schäfer said, adding that achieving “price parity” just isn’t possible with any current commercially available battery technology.

The push for affordable, high-density solid-state batteries is also years away from production, because having to mass produce them and making sure they meet intense durability requirements is a significantly time-consuming process.

The Tesla Model 3, once pitted as an affordable US$35k EV for the masses, now starts at US$48k

While the uptick in demand for EVs has helped battery manufacturers with economies of scale, it is also this scale that poses a challenge, R&T reports. Thanks to the popularity of EVs and continued growth in consumer electronics, the demand for lithium batteries is on track to far outstrip the capacity of current rare-earth metal mines.

The earth has more lithium deposits, but setting up mining operations is complicated and expensive. Analysts are also predicting that the ongoing lithium shortage won’t be solved by the middle of the decade.

“So the anticipated decrease well below US$100 (RM420) per kilowatt, that might take longer,” Schäfer said. “The chemistry, honestly, if we’re staying with the ingredients we have today… there’s not that breakthrough foreseeable.”

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Matthew H Tong

An ardent believer that fun cars need not be fast and fast cars may not always be fun. Matt advocates the purity and simplicity of manually swapping cogs while coping in silence of its impending doom. Matt's not hot. Never hot.



  • seancorr on Apr 06, 2022 at 2:08 pm

    I’ll sit out of EV until those solid state batteries are making strides in the industry

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0
  • Not that green on Apr 06, 2022 at 2:16 pm

    EVs are not that green. Raw materials (i.e mining) and manufacturing alone, EVs leave more carbon footprint compared to ICEs. Disposal of the used lithium batteries is a major pollutant.
    Good public transportation is the way to go.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0
    • Not true, though.

      Volvo’s recent report shows that while EV development and initial cost is high, in the long run (at about 140k km mileage onwards) the EV is cheaper and has a lower carbon footprint.

      Volvo’s report is the closest “Apple to Apple” comparison as their data is based on their manufacturing line that produces both ICE and EV.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4
      • No that green on Apr 07, 2022 at 3:47 pm

        Genuinely curious which part of my statement is not true?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

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