Cost Analysis of New EV Lithium Power Batteries in 2023

With the development of science and technology, the production efficiency of electric vehicle (EV) batteries has increased, so the price of EV batteries has fallen slightly. The global supply of electric vehicles and the demand for their batteries have also increased as a result. Each electric vehicle battery pack has multiple interconnected modules, consisting of dozens to hundreds of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.In total, these batteries account for about 77% of the total cost of the average battery pack. The percentage of each component of the electric vehicle battery in the total cost of the battery pack:

Cathode 51%
Manufacturing and depreciation 24%
Anode 12%
Separator 7%
Electrolyte 4%
Other materials 3%

Why is Cathode so Expensive?

The cathode is the positive electrode of the battery. When the battery is discharged, electrons and positively charged molecules (lithium ions of the same name) flow from the anode to the cathode, which stores the two until the battery is recharged. This means that the cathode effectively determines the performance, range and thermal safety of the battery, and thus determines the electric vehicle itself, making it one of the most important components. They are composed of various metals (refined forms), depending on the battery chemistry, and usually include lithium and nickel. The cathode components commonly used in modern times include:

Lithium iron phosphate (LFP)
Lithium nickel manganese Cobalt (NMC)
Lithium nickel cobalt Aluminum oxide (NCA)

The battery metal that makes up the cathode is in high demand, and automakers such as Tesla are scrambling to ensure supply. In fact, the metal materials in the cathode, as well as the metal materials in other parts of the battery, account for about 40% of the total cost of the battery.

Othere Components Account for 49% of the Battery cost%

The battery manufacturing process includes the production of electrodes, assembly and completion of the battery, which accounts for 24% of the total cost. The anode is another important part of the battery, accounting for 12% of the total cost and about a quarter of the cathode. The anode of lithium-ion batteries is usually made of natural or synthetic graphite, and its price is often lower than that of other metal materials.

The Heart of nNew Energy Vehicles–POWER BATTERIES

As the power source of new energy vehicles, the power battery is the most important system in the vehicle, accounting for 30% to 40% of the cost of the vehicle. This is also an iconic component that distinguishes it from other traditional fuel vehicles. The heart of traditional fuel vehicles is the engine, and the heart of new energy vehicles is the power battery.

At present, due to the occasional safety accidents of new energy vehicles and the serious shortening of the range in winter, there are doubts about the future development prospects of new energy vehicles. There are four main reasons: the range of new energy vehicles, the safety of power batteries, the convenience of charging, and battery recycling. And these four problems Xiaobian boiled them down to one problem: the problem of the power battery.

Therefore, is new energy vehicles a policy-oriented product, or a product that can replace fuel vehicles in the future and meet the real needs of the market? The key lies in whether the problem of power batteries can be solved?

The Structure and Composition of the Power Battery

The power battery is composed of several battery cells, CSC information acquisition system, battery management and control unit (BMU), battery high voltage distribution unit, cooling system, etc.

Automobile Power Battery Cell

The battery cell is the smallest unit that makes up the battery, which consists of a positive electrode, a negative electrode, an organic electrolyte, etc. The battery module is composed of several battery cells in parallel. By connecting several battery packs in series to form a battery cell, and then connecting several battery cells in series to form a power battery assembly. At present, the loading capacity of power batteries on the market is mainly provided by ternary lithium batteries and lithium iron phosphate batteries, so let’s focus on these two types of power batteries.

Power Battery Type–Ternary Lithium Battery

Ternary polymer lithium batteries, referred to as ternary lithium batteries, refer to lithium batteries whose positive electrode material uses lithium nickel-cobalt-manganese acid (Li(NiCoMn)O2) or lithium nickel-cobalt-aluminate ternary cathode material. The ternary composite cathode material is based on nickel salt, cobalt salt, and manganese salt as raw materials. The proportion of nickel-cobalt-manganese in it can be adjusted according to actual needs. Batteries made of ternary materials are relatively safe compared to lithium cobalt acid batteries. Ternary lithium batteries are an energy storage device that integrates high energy density and high voltage. They have been widely used in mobile and wireless electronic equipment, power tools, hybrid power and electric vehicles. field.

The reason why ternary lithium batteries are favored by many car companies is mainly due to the higher energy density of ternary lithium batteries. The greater the energy density, the more power is stored in the unit volume or weight of the power battery. .

Generally speaking, the higher the energy density of a battery, the higher the battery life of a pure electric vehicle. Therefore, for new energy vehicle companies that pursue long battery life, the battery life advantages of ternary lithium batteries are very attractive. At the same time, ternary lithium batteries also have certain advantages in low temperature resistance. Under the same low temperature conditions, compared with other types of batteries, ternary lithium batteries have less power attenuation in winter and are more suitable for the northern regions in winter.

The disadvantage of ternary lithium batteries is that they have poor stability. When the temperature reaches 250-350℃, they are prone to thermal runaway. There is a high risk of spontaneous combustion during fast charging. Therefore, ternary lithium batteries have very demanding requirements for heat dissipation performance, which also has higher technical requirements for BMS battery management system.

Power Battery Type—Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery

Lithium iron phosphate battery is a kind of lithium-ion battery that uses lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) as the cathode material and carbon as the anode material. The rated voltage of the monomer is 3. 2V. Its biggest advantage is high safety. At present, the thermal stability of lithium iron phosphate batteries is the best. The temperature of thermal runaway is generally above 500 degrees, and the risk of spontaneous battery combustion is very low. Secondly, the cycle life of lithium iron phosphate batteries is also relatively long, and the number of charge and discharge cycles is greater than 3500 times before it will begin to decay, which is equivalent to 10 years of use. In addition, the price of lithium iron phosphate batteries also has great advantages.

Lithium iron phosphate batteries have the advantages of high operating voltage, high energy density, long cycle life, good safety performance, low self-discharge rate, and no memory effect.

However, since the energy density of lithium iron phosphate batteries is not as high as that of ternary lithium batteries, the current energy density of the former is on average 130-140Wh/kg, and the ternary lithium batteries are on average 160Wh/kg, so it is difficult to compare with ternary lithium batteries in terms of battery life, which is why there are fewer pure electric vehicles using lithium iron phosphate batteries.

Power Battery Type—Hydrogen Fuel cCell

Compared with batteries, the current very niche hydrogen fuel cell is a clean energy source with “zero emissions” in the true sense. It is a power generation device that directly converts the chemical energy of hydrogen and oxygen into electrical energy. The basic principle is the reverse reaction of electrolytic water, which supplies hydrogen and oxygen to the cathode and anode respectively. After the hydrogen diffuses outward through the cathode and reacts with the electrolyte, electrons are released to reach the anode through an external load, which will only produce water and heat.

It can be said that the advantages of hydrogen fuel cells are not only reflected in the high energy conversion efficiency of the battery, but also pollution-free and noise-free. From a long-term perspective, hydrogen fuel cells will definitely be a key development direction of the power battery industry in the future. For example, Hyundai Motor recently announced a “2025 strategy”. In addition to expanding sales of pure electric vehicles, hydrogen-powered electric vehicles are also in its sales planning. In addition, well-known car companies such as Toyota and Honda are also actively promoting the development of hydrogen fuel cell technology.

However, at this stage, many problems of hydrogen-powered electric vehicles are still not effectively solved. The most important reason is that hydrogen storage is inconvenient, and the current cost is also too high.