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Carmakers have blind spot for lithium, cobalt, nickel prices


A new research note from battery supply chain specialist and price reporting agency Benchmark Mineral Intelligence has a warning for carmakers about the direction of battery prices used in electric vehicles – they won’t fall indefinitely.

Andrew Leyland, Head of Strategic Advisory at Benchmark, points out that lithium ion battery cell prices have fallen from US$290 per kiloWatt hour six years ago to US$110/kWh today driven by economies of scale and technological improvement.

Some industry forecasts have prices falling as low as US$60 to US$70/kW. Not so fast says Leyland: “Worryingly enough many automotive board members still expect battery costs to continue to decline at pace without understanding the supply chain they are at the end of. Price volatility is introduced to the automotive battery supply chain at the mineral extraction phase. Here prices are determined by the market fundamentals of supply, demand, cost and inventory level.”

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