The Ford Focus EV retails for $39,200. The Nissan Leaf starts at $35,200. The GM Volt (though equipped with a little gas engine that turns on when battery juice gets down) costs around $40k. Why do these new vehicles cost as much as tuition for a year at a private university, or $17,200 more than a gasoline-powered version of the car? (The Ford Focus is around $22,000, give or take for bells and whistles.)
Ford CEO Alan Mulally spilled the beans last week. The battery that powers electric cars, typically weighing between 600 and 700 pounds, can range from $12,000 to $15,000 per. That right there is the extra direct cost for your EV.
If you’re not in the market for an electric vehicle and just want to spend $15,000 on any kind of battery, Amazon has a great deal right now on AAs. At the low per-unit price of $.49 each. $15k can fetch you 35,335 Duracells for use in your remote controls.
Now for those indirect costs, which include anything related to the manufacturing or research involved in EV production. Last week in the battery-testing lab at GM’s Tech Center in Warren, Michigan, gases venting from an experimental battery pack in an enclosed room created an explosion in the Alternative Energy Center building. The explosion happened in the “abuse” room, blowing open steel doors and kicking out windows.
All told, damage from the blast could amount to $5.0 million. One worker was injured, sustaining a four-inch gash to the back of his head.
This stuff can get expensive and dangerous. But at least you have an idea of why electric vehicles are priced the way they are.