Technical ReportPDF Available

Update on electric vehicle costs in the United States through 2030


Abstract and Figures

This working paper assesses battery electric vehicle costs in the 2020–2030 time frame, using the best battery pack and electric vehicle component cost data available through 2018. The assessment analyzes the timing for price parity for representative electric cars, crossovers, and sport utility vehicles compared to their conventional gasoline counterparts in the U.S. light-duty vehicle market.
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Update on electric vehicle costs
in the United States through 2030
Authors: Nic Lutsey and Michael Nicholas
Date: April 2, 2019
Keywords: Electric vehicles; technology cost; total cost of ownership; parity
This working paper assesses battery
electric vehicle costs in the 2020–2030
time frame, collecting the best battery
pack and electric vehicle component
cost data available through 2018. The
assessment also analyzes the antici-
pated timing for price parity for repre-
sentative electric cars, crossovers, and
sport utility vehicles compared to their
conventional gasoline counterparts in
the U.S. light-duty vehicle market.
The early launch of electric mobility
is underway in many parts of the
world. Plug-in electric vehicle sales
amounted to more than 2% of new
light-duty vehicles in 2018 and expe-
rienced more than 70% sales growth
from 2017 to 2018, culminating in a
worldwide total of 5 million plug-in
electric vehicles at the end of 2018.
Figure 1 illustrates the distribution of
electric vehicle sales through 2018
among 10 countries that make up
92% of these sales, showing how the
major markets in Asia, Europe, and
North America have led the market
development to date. Electric vehicle
uptake is especially concentrated
where targeted electric vehicle
policies proactively address electric
vehicle barriers related to model
availability, cost, convenience, and
consumer awareness through incen-
tives and regulations.
Several automakers have stated
their intentions to sell more than 15
million electric vehicles per year by
2025, up from 1.2 million in 2017 and
2 million in 2018.1 This order of mag-
nitude increase in electric vehicle
deployment is directly related to the
expected decline in battery pack
1 Nic Lutsey, Modernizing vehicle regulations
for electrification (ICCT: Washington DC,
cost over the 2017–2025 period. The
increased production volume could
further induce market competition
and innovation in the battery supply
chain, creating greater economies of
scale and further cost reductions.
This paper analyzes projected electric
vehicle costs from 2018 through 2030.
The primary focus is on fully battery
electric vehicles, with associated
evaluation of plug-in hybrid electric
vehicles, based on bottom-up cost
analyses of lithium-ion battery packs
and other electric components. An
assessment is made of the time frame
2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Annual electric vehicle sales
Rest of world
United Kingdo
United States
Figure 1. Global light-duty electric vehicle sales, 2010–2018.
Acknowledgements: This work was conducted with generous support from the Heising-Simons Foundation. Anup Bandivadekar, Hui He, Pete Slowik, and
Sandra Wappelhorst provided critical reviews of an earlier version of the report. Any errors are the authors’ own.
expected for achieving upfront vehicle
cost parity, which is based on initial
costs, and first-owner cost compari-
sons for electric vehicles versus con-
ventional gasoline vehicles. Questions
about electric vehicle cost parity are
broadly important to help inform the
types of regulatory policy and incen-
tives that would be most eective for
the transition to a mainstream electric
vehicle market.
This assessment summarizes several
rigorous, detailed, and transparent
technical studies published in 2017–
2018 that quantify battery pack and
overall electric vehicle costs. Forecasts,
literature reviewed, and projections
without explicit technical specifica-
tions for battery pack production
(e.g., material, cell, pack costs; cost
versus production volume; bottom-up
cost engineering approach, etc.) are
excluded, but applicable automaker
statements are included.
Table 1 shows electric vehicle battery
costs projections for 2020–2030
determined by select technical studies
of battery production. The studies
include a variety of dierent technolo-
gies, production volumes, and cost
elements. Although there are differ-
ences in the methods described in
each technical study, the methods
generally include in some variation in
material, process, overhead, deprecia-
tion, warranty, and profit; an exception
is that the Ahmed et al. (2018), cited in
the Table 1 notes, study excludes profit.
The various studies find somewhat
dierent battery cell- and pack-level
costs, with typical cell-level costs
making up from 70% to 76% of pack-
level cost.
The studies in Table 1 also describe
several key details about the basis for
the battery pack cost. Such details
commonly related to cost reduction
include improved cathode chemistry
to reduce the amount of higher-cost
Table 1. Electric vehicle battery pack cost ($/kWh) for 2020–2030, from technical reports and industry announcements.
Type Report 2020 2022 2025 2030 Notes
Ahmed et al.,
2018a143 134 122 Pouch NMC 6,2,2-graphite, production volume-based; includes total cost to
automaker for material, process, overhead, depreciation, warranty
Cylindrical 21700, NCA 83,13,4, production volume-based; includes cost
of material, capital, pack integration, labor, overhead, depreciation, R&D,
administration, warranty, profit
2018c160 128
Pouch NMC 8,1,1-graphite, production volume-based; includes cost of
materials, capital, pack integration, labor, overhead, depreciation, R&D,
administration, warranty, profit
Berckmans et
al., 2017d
191 165 120 80 Pouch NMC 6,2,2-graphite anode, production volume-based; includes
material, process, labor, overhead, depreciation, profit
317 131 85 50 Pouch NMC 6,2,2-silicon alloy anode, production volume-based; includes
material, process, labor, overhead, depreciation, profit
UBS, 2017e184 133 Pouch NMC 6,2,2-graphite, production volume-based; includes material,
process, labor, overhead, depreciation, profit
Davies, 2017f152 Volkswagen statement. Associated with planned production volume of
100,000 per year by 2020 for I.D. series
Lienert &
White, 2018g160 133 General Motors statement related to Chevrolet Bolt (NMC 6,2,2), associated
2020–2022 production volume has not been stated
Tesla, 2018h130 100 Tesla statement related to Model 3 production volume of 500,000 with
Panasonic battery production in Nevada by 2020
Note: NMC = nickel manganese cobalt oxide; NCA = nickel cobalt aluminum (numbers refer to the proportion of each element); Unless cell and pack costs
are provided within the study, a pack-to-cell cost ratio of 1.33 is assumed. Unless stated otherwise within the study, matching production volumes to year
assumes 100,000 units/year in 2020 and 500,000 units/year for 2025. See studies for additional details, sensitivity analysis, diering chemistries, etc.
a Shabbir Ahmed, Paul Nelson, Naresh Susarla, and Dennis Dees, “Automotive Battery Cost Using BatPac” (2018),
b Menahem Anderman, “The Tesla battery report: Tesla Motors: Battery technology, analysis of the Gigafactory and Model 3, and the automakers’
perspectives” (2017), Battery-Report.pdf
c Menahem Anderman, “The xEV Industry Insider Report” (2018),
d Gert Berckmans, Maarten Messagie, Jelle Smekens, Noshin Omar, Lieselot Vanhaverbeke, and Joeri Van Mierlo, “Cost Projection of State of the Art
Lithium-Ion Batteries for Electric Vehicles Up to 2030,” Energies 10, no. 9 (September 2017): 1314,
e UBS, “UBS evidence lab electric car teardown: Disruption ahead?” (2017),
f Chris Davies, “VW I.D. EV boast: We’ll hugely undercut Tesla’s Model 3 says exec,” SlashGear, July 17, 2017,
g Paul Lienert and Joseph White, “GM races to build a formula for profitable electric cars” (January 8, 2018),
h Tesla, “2018 Annual Shareholder Meeting” (June 5, 2018),
cell materials like cobalt, battery cell
design to achieve greater energy
density, battery pack improvements
designed for further density improve-
ments, and lower assembly costs that
are the result of learning and much
greater production volume. In addition
to the automaker statements by
Volkswagen, General Motors, and Tesla
noted in Table 1, the near-term techni-
cal report results are corroborated by
a survey of dozens of industry stake-
holders conducted by Bloomberg New
Energy Finance (BNEF),2 as well as
direct public statements from auto-
makers. Nickel cobalt aluminum oxide
(NCA) batteries in 2018 tended to be
$100–$150 per kilowatt-hour (kWh),
compared to nickel manganese cobalt
oxide (NMC) batteries that are typical
of other automakers and gener-
ally produced at lower volumes for
Figure 2 shows findings from the
studies cited in the Table 1 notes to
illustrate the likely range of battery
pack costs for 2020–2030. Several
2 Bloomberg New Energy Finance, “A Behind
the Scenes Take on Lithium-ion Battery
Prices” (March 5, 2019), https://about.bnef.
estimates indicate that battery pack
costs will decline to $130–$160/kWh
by 2020–2022, and then to $120–$135/
kWh by 2025. However, Tesla states it
will reach $100/kWh by 2022, associ-
ated with its NCA-based battery pack
technology and based on its earlier
high-production volume. Berckmans
et al. (2017) finds that even greater
battery cost declines can be achieved
with NMC cathode batteries, if the
anode can transition from the 2018-
dominant graphite to a silicon alloy
while overcoming cycle-life issues.
BNEF’s industry survey indicates the
volume-weighted average battery
pack cost is $176/kWh and indicates
pack-level costs will decline to $62/
kWh in 2030.
In order to determine average battery
cost for our assessment, industry
average battery costs of $128/kWh at
the cell level and $176/kWh at the pack
level, which are assumed to be for a
representative 45 kWh battery pack,
are applied to costs for 2018. Matching
battery costs to the middle of the
trends in Table 1 sources, and reducing
these costs by 7% per year, results in
the battery pack-level costs—which
vary by vehicle pack size—that are
shown for various vehicles analyzed
below. These battery cost estimates,
often reassessed by the same groups
with similar methods one or two years
later, have trended lower each year.
Also, leading high-volume companies
will continue to have lower costs than
the industry average values that are
applied in this analysis. Assessing the
speed of the cost reduction with such
dynamics, as the technology matures,
is dicult and uncertain. Therefore, a
lower-cost battery pack assumption
that matches the lowest estimates in
the figure is applied for an additional
sensitivity case.
This vehicle cost analysis assesses
three light-duty passenger vehicles
that are defined to be representative
of three broad vehicle classes. The
vehicles’ initial cost and their total cost
of ownership for the first owners of
the vehicles are analyzed. The three
vehicle classes are cars, crossovers,
and sport utility vehicles (SUVs), which
are based on the sales-weighted tech-
nical attributes from U.S. market model
year 2016 data, the latest complete
dataset for these vehicle classes’ price,
rated engine power, efficiency, and
2018 2020 2022 2024 2026 2028 2030
Battery pack cost ($/kWh)
Berckmans et al., 2017 (graphite
Berckmans et al., 2017 (silicon)
Volkswagen, 2017
General Motors, 2015
UBS 2018
Anderman 2018 (pouch)
Anderman 2017 (cylindrical)
Ahmed et al., 2018
BNEF 2018
Tesla, 2018
Figure 2. Electric vehicle battery pack costs from technical studies and automaker statements.
vehicle size.3 The crossovers include
station wagons and small SUVs,of
which approximately half are classi-
fied as passenger cars and half as light
trucks for regulatory purposes. Based
on the 2016 data, the three vehicle
classes represent 41%, 26%, and 22%,
respectively, of new U.S. light-duty
vehicle sales. The remaining 11% of the
U.S. light-duty vehicle market is pickup
trucks, which are not analyzed in this
report because of the lack of informa-
tion about applicable electric vehicle
components and specifications. The
comparable average conventional
gasoline vehicle prices were about
$29,000 for cars and crossovers and
$41,000 for SUVs.
3 Dataset from National Highway Trac Safety
Administration, “Compliance and Eects
Modeling System” (2018), https://www.
Examples of representative models for cars
are Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima;
for crossovers, Ford Escape, Honda CR-V,
Toyota RAV4; and for SUVs, Ford Explorer,
Honda Pilot, and Toyota Highlander.
The primary focus of the study is on
fully battery electric vehicles (BEVs),
although several equivalent calcula-
tions for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles
(PHEVs) with gasoline engines also are
included in the evaluation. Because
the electric vehicle market is expected
to continue to include lower-cost,
lower-range options and higher-cost,
higher-range options, this analysis
includes 150-mile (BEV150), 200-mile
(BEV200), and 250-mile (BEV250)
BEVs and a 50-mile PHEV (PHEV50).
Table 2 shows the technical vehicle
specifications for the conventional
gasoline, electric, and plug-in hybrid
vehicles for three vehicle classes in
2018 and 2030. The technical speci-
fications include rated power in kilo-
watts (kW), fuel economy in miles per
gallon (mpg), electric range in miles,
electric eciency in kilowatt-hours per
mile (kWh/mile), and battery pack size
in kilowatt-hours (kWh). Also appli-
cable for electric and plug-in hybrids is
the utility factor, which is the fraction
of daily miles that could be powered
electrically by the vehicles of the given
electric range. These utility factors
range from 0.69 for 50-mile plug-in
electric hybrids up to 0.97 for 250-mile
electric vehicles,4 which is described
and applied in the evaluation of vehicle
ownership costs below.
The initial 2018 electric vehicle effi-
ciencies of these vehicles are based
directly on existing model year 2018
electric vehicle models, accounting for
increased electricity-per-mile for lon-
ger-range electric vehicles due to larger,
heavier battery packs.5 In addition, the
crossover vehicle eciency accounts
for the general dierence in eciency
from cars to crossovers and the cross-
over having all-wheel drive. For the
SUV, the electric efficiency accounts
for the vehicle being a larger, heavier
4 For further information, see SAE International.
Utility Factor Definitions for Plug-In Hybrid
Electric Vehicles Using Travel Survey Data,
(J2841 2010-09),
5 U.S. Department of Energy, “Download
fuel economy data” (2019), https://www.
Table 2. Technical specifications for three analyzed vehicle classes.
Conventional Electric Plug-in hybrid
Car Crossover SUV Car Crossover SUV Car Crossover SUV
2018 2030 2018 2030 2018 2030 2018 2030 2018 2030 2018 2030 2018 2030 2018 2030 2018 2030
Power (kW) 150 150 150 150 220 220 150 150 150 150 220 220 150 150 150 150 220 220
Fuel economy (mpg) 30 37 26 33 20 25 47 56 41 49 27 32
Rangea (miles)
Short 150 150 150 150 150 150
Mid 200 200 200 200 200 200 50 50 50 50 50 50
Long 250 250 250 250 250 250
Short 0.28 0.26 0.34 0.31 0.48 0.44
Mid 0.29 0.27 0.35 0.32 0.50 0.46 0.31 0.29 0.37 0.34 0.53 0.49
Long 0.30 0.28 0.36 0.33 0.51 0.47
Battery pack
Short 42 39 50 46 72 66
Mid 58 54 69 64 99 92 15 14 19 17 27 25
Long 75 69 90 83 128 119
Utility factor
Short 0.93 0.93 0.93 0.93 0.93 0.93
Mid 0.95 0.95 0.95 0.95 0.95 0.95 0.69 0.69 0.69 0.69 0.69 0.69
Long 0.97 0.97 0.97 0.97 0.97 0.97
Pack cost
Short $177 $74 $175 $ 74 $175 $73
Mid $175 $73 $175 $73 $167 $72 $210 $88 $210 $88 $200 $86
Long $175 $73 $172 $73 $154 $64
Note. kW = kilowatt; mpg = miles per gallon gasoline; kWh = kilowatt-hour. Numbers are rounded. Vehicle eciency and range are based on U.S. consumer
label values. aFor range designations, short = BEV150, mid = BEV200 and PHEV50, long = BEV250.
vehicle and having all-wheel drive and
towing capacity.
The bottom three rows of Table 2 show
the battery pack costs per kWh for
2018 and 2030. The resulting battery
cell-level costs, averaged across the
three BEV cases, are $78/kWh in 2025
and $56/kWh in 2030. A decreas-
ing pack-to-cell ratio with increasing
pack capacity is assumed,6 meaning
larger battery packs (e.g., for 250-mile
range SUV) have lower per-kilowatt-
hour pack costs. The resulting average
pack-level costs across these BEV
cases decline to $104/kWh in 2025,
6 The pack-to-cell ratios considered here range
from 1.54 for a 16 kWh pack down to 1.2 for 112
kWh and larger packs. See Michael Safoutin,
Joe McDonald, and Ben Ellies, “Predicting the
Future Manufacturing Cost of Batteries for
Plug-In Vehicles for the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) 2017–2025 Light-
Duty Greenhouse Gas Standards,” World
Electric Vehicle Journal, 2018, 9 (3): 42,
and to $72/kWh in 2030. The SUV with
the largest pack size in 2030 has the
lowest per-kilowatt-hour cost among
these cases at $64/kWh. PHEV pack-
level costs are assumed to remain 20%
higher than those for BEVs throughout
the time frame of the analysis.
Table 3 summarizes electric vehicle
component and vehicle-level costs
from UBS,7 which are based on
a vehicle teardown study of the
7 UBS, “UBS evidence lab electric car teardown:
Disruption ahead?” (2017),
Table 3. Electric vehicle component costs from various studies.
Type Component
UBS (2017) costs
How UBS costs are adapted to determine
electric vehicle costs for this analysis
Gasoline 2017
Battery pack -$11,500 $8,000
The UBS estimate shown here is for $133/kWh in 2025. This is
updated to $104/kWh in 2025 and $72/kWh in 2030 for this
analysis this by applying pack-level cost reduction of 7% per
year based on research noted in the text.a
Thermal management -$250 $225
Electric powertrain costs are based on UBS component costs
for cars and crossover vehicles (150 kW) and scaled up by
47% (220 kW versus 150 kW) for SUVs.b
Power distribution
module -$250 $295
Inverter/converter -$697 $523
Electric drive module -$1,200 $1,080
DC converter -$150 $134
Controller -$51 $46
Control module -$93 $84
High voltage cables -$335 $302
On-board charger -$273 $205
Charging cord -$150 $135
Powertrain (engine,
transmission, exhaust,
$6,800 - -
UBS costs are scaled up to reflect the higher power of U.S.
average cars and crossover vehicles by 18% (150 kW versus
127 kW) and SUVs by 74% (220 kW versus 127 kW)b
Other direct Vehicle assembly $12,700 $12,600 $11,900
For vehicle assembly, UBS costs are scaled up to account
for the larger footprint of average U.S. vehicles: 6% for cars,
5% for crossovers, and 21% for SUVs.b This also includes the
incremental costs of vehicle improvements needed to meet
eciency standards.
Indirect cost
Includes depreciation,
research and
development (R&D),
and administration
$4,000 $10,584 $3,200
Based on UBS, combustion vehicle indirect costs are fixed
at 20.5% of direct costs. For electric vehicles, the same
proportional R&D indirect cost reduction over time that UBS
used for cars is assumed for all three vehicle classes.
a See Table 1 and Figure 2. Average $/kWh values shown, precise value by vehicle class and year dier by battery capacity
b Average car and crossover (150 kW) and SUV (220 kW) power based on sales-weighted averages from U.S. model year 2016 data. See NHTSA:ects-modeling-system
Chevrolet Bolt with a 60 kWh battery
pack and electric power output of 145
kW. The highest-cost electric vehicle
component is the battery pack, which
declines from $11,500 to $8,000,
based on UBS’ estimate that the pack
cost reaches $133/kWh by 2025. This
analysis relies on the UBS teardown
data, making several updates to incor-
porate the latest battery cost data
and to adapt the UBS values for the
crossover and SUV vehicle classes.
The key change to the UBS numbers
is updating the battery pack cost to
reflect the latest previously mentioned
research, leading to an average pack
cost in this analysis of $104/kWh in
2025. Explanations of how the UBS
data are updated and adapted for this
analysis are included in the rightmost
column. For example, powertrain com-
ponents are scaled to vehicle power,
vehicle-level manufacturing costs are
scaled to the vehicle footprint, and
indirect costs are treated as a percent-
age of direct costs.
As indicated in Table 3, a major cost
reduction comes from the reduced
indirect costs. UBS’ indirect cost
reductions for electric vehicles
amount to a reduction from 66% of
direct non-battery vehicle costs in
2017 down to 21% in 2025. These
electric vehicle indirect costs—which
include research and development,
depreciation, and amortized costs
from electric vehicle investments—
see substantial declines of about 70%
from 2017 to 2025 because those
costs are spread across greatly
increased electric vehicle production.
Several additional assumptions are
included to incorporate other factors in
the vehicle cost analysis. Increased fuel
economy improvements for conven-
tional gasoline vehicles and associated
incremental price increases—$700
for cars, $800 for crossovers, and
$1,000 for SUVs—are applied to meet
expected vehicle efficiency regula-
tions through 2025.8 To incorporate
these incremental cost increases for
8 Nic Lutsey, Dan Meszler, Aaron Isenstadt, John
German, and Josh Miller, Eciency technology
and cost assessment for U.S. 2025–2030 light-
duty vehicles (ICCT: Washington DC, 2017),
each year from 2018 through 2030,
the upfront vehicle price increases by
approximately 0.35% annually.
The applicable vehicle costs, including
conventional and electric vehicle tech-
nology components, are illustrated in
Figure 3. As indicated, electric vehicle
costs in 2018 are substantially higher
than conventional vehicle costs for
the three vehicle classes, by $8,000
for a short-range car to $21,000 for
a long-range SUV. By 2025, BEV
costs approach the cost of a conven-
tional vehicle that year, ranging from
somewhat lower for a BEV150 car,
crossover, and SUV up to about $3,700
higher for a BEV250 SUV. Although
there are reductions in PHEV50 costs
by 2025, their overall cost is $4,900–
$7,500 higher than their conventional
gasoline counterparts in 2025.
As shown in Figure 3, declining battery
costs account for much of the decline
in electric vehicle costs. For example,
the 200-mile electric crossover battery
pack drops by more than 42% from
more than $12,000 in 2018 to less
than $7,000 in 2025, because of the
Car Crossover SUV Car Crossover SUV
2018 2025
Vehicle cost
Indirect cost
Vehicle assembly
Engine auxiliaries
Engine control unit
Charging cord
On-board charger
High voltage cables
Control module
DC converter
Electric drive module
Inverter / converter
Power distribution modul
Thermal management
Battery pack
Figure 3. Vehicle technology costs for conventional and electric vehicles in 2018 and 2025 for cars, crossovers, and SUVs.
reduced battery cell cost, lower pack-
level assembly cost, and increased
vehicle efficiency allowing for less
battery capacity. Indirect costs con-
tribute an even larger amount of the
overall reduction in cost for electric
vehicles. Electric vehicles’ indirect
costs per vehicle—$9,000 for cars and
crossovers, and $13,000 for SUVs—
are much higher than those of con-
ventional vehicles—$4,200 for cars,
$4,300 for crossovers, and $5,400 for
SUVs—in 2018. These electric vehicle
indirect costs drop largely because
of the reduced R&D per vehicle over
time. Many electric vehicle compo-
nents—especially the high-cost battery
cells—are developed by a competi-
tive supplier base, rather than directly
by automakers, so this continues a
long-time trend toward more supplier
content in vehicles.
Several other assumptions link the
vehicle costs in Table 3 to the price of
the vehicle based on applicable indus-
try-average dealer and profit markups.
Based on UBS,9 cars maintain a 15%
dealer markup and have a 5% profit.
For the other two vehicle classes and
across all technologies, the same 15%
markup for dealer incentives and
marketing is assumed over time. The
analysis applies a 15% profit for SUVs
and a 10% profit for crossovers, the
midpoint between the car and SUV.
This is done for consistency and to
ensure electric vehicles have the same
profit built in as the profit assumed
for conventional vehicles. In addition,
an 8.5% purchase tax is included for
all vehicles, approximately matching
the U.S. average. These assumptions
do not aect the timing of initial cost
parity attainment for electric vehicles
because they are taken as constant for
all the technology types.
9 UBS, “UBS evidence lab electric car teardown:
Disruption ahead?” (2017),
From the preceeding technical speci-
fications of the vehicle technologies
for the three vehicle classes, changing
vehicle prices are assessed through
2030. As described, the evaluation
matches the technical specifications
of average U.S. market car, crossover,
and SUV categories. Figure 4 shows
the vehicle technology prices for the
car (top segment), crossover (middle),
and SUV (bottom). Each segment
includes the average conventional
gasoline vehicle (gray line), increas-
ing incrementally as the average
vehicle gets more ecient by adding
powertrain and road-load efficiency
improvements. Each segment of the
figure reflects the changing technol-
ogy costs for electric vehicles of dif-
ferent ranges (i.e., BEV150, BEV200,
BEV250, PHEV50).
Figure 4 shows that electric vehicles
will see substantial cost reductions
resulting from battery technology, scale
improvements, and reduced indirect
costs from lower automaker research
2020 2022 2024 2026 2028 2030
Vehicle price
BEV250 BEV200 BEV150 PHEV50 Conventional
2020 2022 2024 2026 2028 2030
Vehicle price
2020 2022 2024 2026 2028 2030
Vehicle price
Sport utility vehicle
Figure 4. Initial purchase price of conventional vehicles and electric vehicles for cars,
crossovers, and SUVs for 2020–2030.
and development costs over the 2020–
2030 time frame. The 150-mile electric
vehicles achieve cost parity, crossing
the conventional vehicle line, sooner
than the longer-range electric vehicles.
For the BEV150 vehicles, cost parity is
met for the electric car in 2024, and in
2025 for the crossover and SUV. The
longer-range electric vehicles achieve
parity later—in 2025 for the BEV200
car, 2026 for the BEV200 crossover
and SUV, 2027 for the BEV250 car
and SUV, and 2028 for the BEV250
crossover. These later years for cost
parity are because the BEV200 and
BEV250 vehicles’ larger battery packs
add costs of $1,600–$3,300 for cars,
$1,900–$3,900 for crossovers, and
$2,400–$4,100 for SUVs above the
battery costs of the BEV150 by 2025.
PHEV50s are also shown in Figure 4.
PHEVs see a reduction in cost dier-
ential versus conventional gasoline
vehicles by 2030, but there is no fore-
seeable initial cost parity point with
conventional vehicles. The PHEV50
car price differential compared to
conventional vehicles declines from
$7,300 in 2020 to $4,900 in 2030. The
PHEV50 SUV price dierential drops
from $12,000 in 2020 to $8,000 in
2030. There are two major reasons
that PHEVs, unlike BEVs, do not have
a point of cost parity. First, the battery
pack is a much lower contributor to
the PHEV price, so even dramatic
battery cost reductions have less
eect. Second, the PHEV retains the
powertrain parts of the combustion
vehicle while also adding new electric
components. As shown, PHEVs with
significant electric range (in this case
50 miles) will remain more expensive
than conventional vehicles, and the
price advantage of BEVs over PHEVs
will grow substantially from about
2024 on.
In addition to the question of initial
purchase price parity is the question of
when cost-competitiveness is experi-
enced by an electric vehicle consumer
who owns and operates the vehicle for
several years. The prospective electric
vehicle driver’s cost-of-ownership
parity is analyzed by applying several
additional average U.S. new vehicle
driver assumptions. The first owner of
the vehicle is assumed to operate the
vehicle for 5 years, which is typical of
vehicle ownership and vehicle leasing
terms in the United States.
For analyzing vehicle energy expen-
ditures, fuel and electricity prices are
taken from the U.S. Energy Information
Administration, where gasoline
increases from $2.90 to $3.48 per
gallon from 2018 to 2035 and electric-
ity increases from $0.12/kWh to $0.13/
kWh from 2018 to 2035.10 To assess
future-year fuel costs, a discount
rate of 5% for each year beyond
the purchase year is included in net
present value accounting. For the
annual travel activity, data are applied
from the Transportation Energy Data
Book.11 The new vehicle miles traveled
for cars start at 13,800 in the first
year and decrease to 12,700 by the
fifth year; for the SUVs, annual driving
drops from 16,000 in the first year to
14,500 in the fifth year. For crossovers,
the average of these two trends is
applied. Conventional vehicle mainte-
nance costs are assumed to be $0.061,
10 U.S. Energy Information Administration,
Annual Energy Outlook 2019 (U.S. Department
of Energy, January 24, 2018), https://www.eia.
11 Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Transportation
Energy Data Book (Edition 36. August 31,
$0.065, and $0.094 per mile for the
car, crossover, and SUV, respectively,
as well as BEV maintenance costs of
$0.026, $0.029, and $0.39 per mile.12
Several additional factors are applied
to the ownership costs for electric
vehicles. First, a home charger cost of
$1,300 for BEVs and $300 for PHEVs
is included to enable more convenient
residential charging. A utility factor is
applied to incorporate how BEVs and
PHEVs typically are driven for fewer
annual electric miles than typical new
vehicle annual driving averages. The
utility factor estimates the average
fraction of daily miles covered by
electric vehicles of the given electric
range (e.g., 0.69 for the PHEV50,
0.93 for the BEV150, and 0.97 for the
BEV250).13 The remaining miles (31%
for the PHEV50, 7% for the BEV150,
3% for the BEV250) are therefore
expected to be covered by nonelectric
driving. PHEVs are simply driven in
gasoline-powered charge-sustaining
hybrid mode for the remaining miles.
For BEVs, the nonelectric driving
would be by a “replacement” vehicle,
for example a separate vehicle in that
household, a rental, or a ride-hailing
vehicle. For consistency for BEV
replacement miles, the total cost of
ownership values from combustion
vehicles from within this analysis are
applied (per-mile costs of $0.63 for
the car, $0.66 for the crossover, and
$0.75 for the SUV in 2018).
12 Car values from UBS, “UBS evidence lab
electric car teardown: Disruption ahead?”
d1ZTxnvF2k/. Crossover and SUV values
are scaled up from cars, proportional
to manufacturing cost. PHEV per-mile
maintenance assumed to be the average of
conventional and BEV costs.
13 For further information, see SAE International,
Utility Factor Definitions for Plug-In Hybrid
Electric Vehicles Using Travel Survey Data,
(J2841 2010-09),
Figure 5 illustrates manufacturing,
markup, charging, fueling, mainte-
nance, tax, and vehicle replacement
costs. The figure shows the 5-year
ownership costs for the three vehicle
classes, for conventional and electric
vehicles, in 2018 and 2025. The vehicle
manufacturing costs match those in
Figure 3, but the addition of the other
factors in the figure make overall BEV
ownership costs lower than the con-
ventional vehicle in seven of the nine
BEV cases in 2025. After vehicle costs,
the most important factor affecting
the relative costs of the technologies
is fuel savings. In 2025, the first-owner
fuel cost for an average new car buyer
is $5,400 for gasoline, compared to
about $1,800–$2,000 in electricity
for the electric vehicles using our net
present value assumptions. For the
SUV, the average conventional vehicle
consumes $8,100 in gasoline versus
$3,600–$4,000 in electricity in 2025.
BEVs also accrue relative maintenance
cost savings, but have the additional
costs of charging equipment and a
replacement vehicle with which to
make up the forgone miles from its
shorter range.
Figure 6 shows the total 5-year vehicle
ownership costs for the car (top
segment), crossover (middle), and
SUV (bottom). Each of the segments
includes the average conventional
gasoline vehicle (gray line), and the
ownership costs for the BEV150,
BEV200, BEV250, and PHEV50
vehicles for 2020–2030. As shown in
Figure 4 for vehicle cost, the dominant
feature is that the BEVs see sub-
stantial cost reductions from battery
technology and scale improvements.
In addition, the BEVs see significant
fuel savings, which in turn make their
ownership cost parity year with the
conventional vehicle occur from 1.4 to
2.2 years sooner than their initial cost
parity year across the nine BEV cases.
A comparison of Figure 6 and Figure
4 shows that from a consumer own-
ership perspective, electric vehicles
are an attractive proposition several
years before initial price parity. A
major factor is the fuel savings associ-
ated with electric vehicles, specifically
the conventional vehicle fuel costs
minus the electricity costs for BEVs.
For example, the fuel cost savings for
the first vehicle owner of the BEV200
electric vehicle in 2025 are approx-
imately $3,500 for cars, $3,900 for
crossovers, and $4,200 for SUVs
compared to the average conventional
vehicle of that class. The shorter-range
BEV150s reach first-owner parity about
1.5 years before the BEV200 and about
three years before the BEV250. PHEVs
see a substantially reduced owner-
ship cost dierential with conventional
vehicles, by about half from 2020 to
2030, but they do not see cost parity
within that time frame.
Car Crossover SUV Car Crossover SUV
2018 2025
Vehicle ownership cost
Fuel / electricity
Charging equipment
Dealer mark-up
Profit margin
Vehicle manufacturing cos
Figure 5. Total vehicle ownership costs for conventional and electric vehicles in 2018 and 2025 for cars, crossovers, and SUVs.
Acknowledging that nearly every
study, including studies by the refer-
enced authors and by the ICCT’s own
previous analysis, have underpredicted
battery cost reductions, a lower-cost
sensitivity case is included as part of
this analysis. This low-cost case helps
in examining how further reductions in
battery costs would aect this assess-
ment regarding electric vehicle cost
parity. For the lower-cost case, a 9%
annual cost decline is applied instead
of the central assumption above for a
7% per year battery cell cost reduction.
This lower-cost case results in average
battery pack-level costs of $89/kWh in
2025 and $56/kWh in 2030, compared
to $104/kWh in 2025 and $72/kWh
in 2030 in the primary analysis in the
preceding sections. The costs deter-
mined in the lower-cost case more
closely match those of Bloomberg
New Energy Finance (see footnote 2)
and the Berckmans et al. (2017) silicon
alloy anode case cited in the notes to
Table 1.
Figure 7 shows the year of cost
parity based on initial vehicle cost
and first-owner total ownership costs
for the primary and low-cost cases.
The years for the lower-cost electric
vehicle cases are shown as lighter
color data points in the figure. The
lower battery cost generally moves
the parity point with conventional
combustion vehicles approximately
one year earlier, although the effect
diers by vehicle class and BEV range.
The effect of battery cost reduction
on shortening the time required to
reach cost parity is greater for longer-
range crossovers and SUVs because
of their larger battery sizes. For initial
cost parity, the lower-cost scenario
brings parity forward 1.2 years for the
BEV250 crossover and just 0.4 years
for the BEV150 car. For first-owner
total ownership costs, the lower-cost
case brings cost parity forward to a
lesser extent; the average decrease in
the time needed to reach cost parity
across the nine vehicle types is 0.6-
years, ranging from 0.9 years for the
BEV250 crossover to 0.2 years for the
BEV150 car.
This working paper synthesizes avail-
able technical data to analyze electric
vehicle costs for cars, crossovers, and
SUVs through 2030. The work assesses
the time frame for upfront vehicle cost
parity (based on initial costs) and first-
owner cost competitiveness (based on
a first owner’s use with fuel savings)
2020 2022 2024 2026 2028 2030
Ownership cost
BEV250 BEV200 BEV150 PHEV50 Conventional
2020 2022 2024 2026 2028 2030
Ownership cost
2020 2022 2024 2026 2028 2030
Ownership cost
Sport utility vehicle
Figure 6. Ownership cost of conventional vehicles and electric vehicles for cars,
crossovers, and SUVs for 2020–2030.
for electric vehicles versus conven-
tional gasoline vehicles. The analysis
reveals two high-level findings.
Electric vehicle initial cost parity is
coming within 5–10 years. As battery
pack costs drop to approximately
$104/kWh in 2025 and $72/kWh in
2030, electric vehicle cost parity with
conventional vehicles is likely to occur
between 2024–2025 for shorter-range
and 2026–2028 for longer-range
electric vehicles. This applies to typical
electric cars, crossovers, and SUVs.
If faster battery cost breakthroughs
lead to a further reduction in battery
costs, for example to $89/kWh in
2025 and $56/kWh in 2030, this will
bring electric vehicle initial cost parity
forward by approximately one year.
Cost-competitiveness for consumers
approaches even faster than initial
cost parity based on fuel savings.
Analysis of first-owner 5-year owner-
ship costs indicates that an average
new vehicle buyer will see an attractive
proposition to choose electric vehicles
in the 2022–2026 time frame. The
consumer ownership parity point for
each vehicle application is one to two
years sooner than initial cost parity,
due to the high fuel savings of electric
vehicles. For example, the first owners
of 200-mile electric vehicles realize
fuel savings of $3,500 for cars, $3,900
for crossovers, and $4,200 for SUVs,
based on electricity costs typically
being much lower than conventional
vehicle gasoline expenses.
Despite these positive findings, electric
vehicles achieving cost parity does not
ensure a complete transition to electric
mobility. Norway, for example, provides
incentives to make electric vehicles
cost less than conventional vehicles.14
This has increased all-electric vehicle
sales from nearly zero in 2012 to 30%
of new vehicles in 2018. The relative
progress in Norway underscores the
importance of incentives. But it also
underscores the insuciency of cost
parity to transition to an all-electric
market; if cost parity was the only
critical barrier, markets with such com-
pelling incentives would more rapidly
approach 100% electric. To com-
prehensively address the barriers to
adoption, policies can encourage or
14 Sandra Wappelhorst, Peter Mock, and
Zifei Yang, Using vehicle taxation policy to
lower transport emissions: An overview for
passenger cars in Europe (ICCT: Washington
DC, 2018),
require more electric models,15 a robust
charging infrastructure ecosystem to
ensure convenience,16 and programs to
inform consumers.17
This analysis has several limitations. The
work is focused on average cars, cross-
overs, and SUVs without acknowledg-
ing heterogenous household vehicle
needs. Technologies like plug-in electric
hybrids may still be attractive for par-
ticular households, such as those with
short commutes, frequent long-dis-
tance travel, and available home and
workplace charging. Also, this analysis
does not address pickups, which rep-
resent 11% of the U.S. light-duty vehicle
market. Electric technology now has
migrated from cars to crossovers and
larger SUV models (e.g., Audi e-tron,
Hyundai Kona, Tesla Model X, and
15 Peter Slowik and Nic Lutsey, The continued
transition to electric vehicles in U.S. cities
(ICCT: Washington DC, 2018), https://www.
16 Michael Nicholas, Dale Hall, and Nic Lutsey,
Quantifying the electric vehicle charging
infrastructure gap across U.S. markets (ICCT:
Washington DC, 2019), https://www.theicct.
17 Kenneth Kurani, Nicolette Caperello, and
Jennifer TyreeHageman, New Car Buyers’
Valuation of Zero-Emission Vehicles: California
(Institute of Transportation Studies, University
of California Davis, 2016), https://its.ucdavis.
2020 2022 2024 2026 2028 2030
Car BEV200
Crossover BEV200
Sport utility vehicle
First-owner total ownership parity (primary analysis) Initial cost parity (primary analysis)
First-owner total ownership parity (lower-cost battery) Initial cost parity (lower-cost battery)
Figure 7. Year of cost parity based on first-owner total cost of ownership and initial vehicle cost, shown for the primary analysis and a
lower-cost battery scenario.
many plug-in electric hybrids). Further
migration into pickups with greater
towing requirements has been slower,
but electric pickup announcements
continue from companies like Tesla,
Ford, Rivian, and Workhorse. Improved
cost analysis of charging infrastruc-
ture is also important, and cost savings
depend on policies that ensure elec-
tricity prices remain relatively low.
The findings in this paper lead to
several policy implications. Battery
costs, electric vehicle volume, and
policy move in unison. The electric
vehicle cost projections in this analysis
are predicated upon sustained policy
that drives increased electric vehicle
battery volume. Nearly all of the
electric vehicles in the world—more
than 5 million through 2018—are in
markets with regulations that require
low-emission vehicles, oer incentives
of thousands of dollars per vehicle,
provide charging infrastructure, and
have complementary awareness cam-
paigns. Automaker announcements
of plans to increase electric vehicle
production by an order of magni-
tude by 2025 are largely consistent
with this. Setbacks with regulations
and incentives would slow progress,
whereas stronger regulatory policy in
more markets around the world would
expedite the cost parity time frame
presented here.
Regulatory agencies have failed to
acknowledge how quickly electric
vehicles will reach cost parity with
conventional vehicles. U.S. regulatory
analysis, based on outdated data, indi-
cates that electric vehicle costs remain
dramatically higher than conventional
vehicle costs through 2025.18 Based on
the analysis provided herein, this is not
the case. Similar analysis focused on
markets around the world could, simi-
larly, reveal that the most up-to-date
electric vehicle cost data could justify
much stronger regulations. As the cost
parity point is reached, governments
can dramatically accelerate the shift
to clean mobility with regulations that
spur electric vehicle deployment.
18 The Safer Aordable Fuel-Ecient (SAFE)
Vehicles Rule for Model Years 2021–2026
Passenger Cars and Light Trucks; Notice of
Proposed Rulemaking, 49 Code of Federal
Regulations (Vol 83, August 24, 2018).
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Conference Paper
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ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any references for this publication.