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Tesla, LG Chem pull ahead in advanced battery race

General Motors' Chevy Bolt is expected to be in showrooms by the end of the year.
Mark Brush
Michigan Radio

Electric cars can't compete on price or range with gas-burning cars, yet. But they're getting closer, according to a new study from Lux Research, because of the work being done by advanced battery manufacturers.

Analyst Cosmin Laslau says advanced lithium ion batteries could hit a price target of $172 per kilowatt hour by the year 2025. That's a 35% reduction from the current price.

And since the batteries are the most expensive part of an electric car, bringing down their cost could make electric cars affordable ($30,000, without a federal subsidy) with a range of 200 miles or more.

But not all battery manufacturers will hit that target. Laslau says two manufacturers are in the lead.

"We are forecasting that Panasonic and Tesla will probably be the cost leader in the industry," says Lasau.  "They're really trying to push for the biggest battery factory that the world has ever seen. But certainly LG Chem will be nipping at their heels."

LG Chem, based in Korea, has a factory in West Michigan.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.