EPRI Releases New Electric-Drive Vehicle Study

March 26, 2003 by Jeff Shepard

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI, Palo Alto, CA) released a new research study, which concludes that a combination of greatly improved battery life and projected cost reductions for batteries and other components can make electric drive vehicles (engine-hybrid EVs, plug-in hybrid EVs and some pure EVs) cost competitive with gasoline vehicles. The lower costs and a doubling of battery life times (up to 150,000 miles) result in significantly reduced fuel and maintenance costs for electric drive vehicles, and over their lifetime will offset their higher initial price by the end of this decade, according to the report.

Researchers of the EPRI study found that advanced batteries used in electric drive vehicles are exceeding previous projections for cycle life and durability, a key consideration in cost. Longer life essentially means reduced cost to operate. The developments, along with recent announcements that vehicle manufacturers will substantially increase production of hybrid electric vehicles, will bring down costs of the special electric drive components, making electric-drive vehicles more cost effective.

"The cost of advanced batteries for non-plug hybrid EVs, plug-in hybrid EVs, and battery EVs is highly dependent on the establishment of a growth market situation, a predictable regulatory environment, and consistent production volumes that encourage capital investment in production capacity and line automation by battery and automotive manufacturers," said Bob Graham, EPRI's area manager for transportation.