Tesla may have a big advantage over Porsche and GM in the most expensive part of an electric car

  • Tesla may be paying less for battery packs than rivals like General Motors and Porsche, according to Cairn Energy Research Advisors.
  • Last year, an electric-vehicle battery pack made with the kinds of cells Tesla uses cost around 25%-60% less than packs with cells used by companies like Porsche, General Motors, and BMW, Cairn estimated.
  • The battery pack is the most expensive part of an electric vehicle.
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Tesla may have a big cost advantage over rivals like General Motors and Porsche when it comes to battery packs, according to estimates from Cairn Energy Research Advisors.

An electric-vehicle battery pack made with cylindrical cells, the kind Tesla uses, cost $158 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) last year, the firm said. Battery packs made with pouch cells, like those used in the Porsche Taycan and Chevrolet Bolt EV, cost $200 per kWh last year and prismatic cells, like those used by BMW, cost $253 per kWh, according to Cairn.

Sam Jaffe, a managing director at Cairn, told Business Insider that companies buying or selling batteries rarely disclose prices, so the research firm estimates past and future prices based on a model comprised of over 500 variables, including commodity and chemical prices.

Estimated prices for battery packs made from all three cell types have declined significantly since 2016, when a cylindrical-cell pack cost $265 per kWh, a pouch-cell pack cost $285 per kWh, and a prismatic-cell pack cost $320 per kWh, according to Cairn.

That trend should continue over the next decade, Cairn estimates. In 2030, the firm predicts the prices per kWh for cylindrical, pouch, and prismatic-cell packs will fall to $98, $137, and $143, respectively.

Lower battery-pack prices could have a significant impact on the affordability of electric vehicles, which tend to cost more than their gas-powered counterparts, since the battery pack is the most expensive part of an electric vehicle.

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