Be cautious with battery purchases. Big price drops soon

Batteries, Chargers, and Battery Management Systems.
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Be cautious with battery purchases. Big price drops soon

Post by John in CR » Feb 07 2013 10:40am

I've just been informed that battery prices are headed downward by a significant margin. The Chinese are headed to lithium for their domestic ebikes, which is the world's biggest market by far, and they have to be affordable.

Get ready for $200-300/kwh pack and not the so easy to catch fire stuff like the RC Lipo. Lose that prejudice about 18650's too, because that's where the economies of scale hit first. Plus aluminum cylinders are so much stronger to get banged around in service than pouch cells that aren't much tougher than a stick of gum.

Extreme power guys may still have few solutions, but moderate power and big range packs will soon be a bargain. eg 2600mah NMC (my guy called it LiNCM) 4C cells for $2.50/ea or less, and he only deals with the good stuff not some out the back door factory rejects. I was told that's closer to retail pricing than wholesale.

Soon even abundant oil and gas won't be able to stifle the electric revolution for a huge segment of personal transportation. Once batteries are affordable enough for the common man in developing countries a growth explosion will occur.

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Re: Be cautious with battery purchases. Big price drops soon

Post by Doctorbass » Feb 07 2013 10:46am

John in CR wrote:I've just been informed that battery prices are headed downward by a significant margin. The Chinese are headed to lithium for their domestic ebikes, which is the world's biggest market by far, and they have to be affordable.

Get ready for $200-300/kwh pack and not the so easy to catch fire stuff like the RC Lipo. Lose that prejudice about 18650's too, because that's where the economies of scale hit first. Plus aluminum cylinders are so much stronger to get banged around in service than pouch cells that aren't much tougher than a stick of gum.

Extreme power guys may still have few solutions, but moderate power and big range packs will soon be a bargain. eg 2600mah NMC (my guy called it LiNCM) 4C cells for $2.50/ea or less, and he only deals with the good stuff not some out the back door factory rejects. I was told that's closer to retail pricing than wholesale.

Soon even abundant oil and gas won't be able to stifle the electric revolution for a huge segment of personal transportation. Once batteries are affordable enough for the common man in developing countries a growth explosion will occur.

John

2600mah NMC 4C cells for $2.50/ea or less, that's pretty interesting! is it 4C burst or continuous? and.. do they have spotwleded nickel part on the tab( for soldering or we need to use spotwleder?

If only these cells would exist in higher capacity, that would require less work to assemble ( less parts too).. I wold dream of these same Wh/kg but ina format similar to the 38120 :twisted: or bigger! that would be an equivalent of about 20Ah 3.7Vnom for a 38120!

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Re: Be cautious with battery purchases. Big price drops soon

Post by t3sla » Feb 07 2013 11:00am

This does not reflect what I've heard at all as of late last year.

I'm not sure why there would be such a push, the market is mainly SLA scooters. They are really decent for the <$300 price, the 48V one pack a nice bit of grunt and serve the market well.

What is the catalyst for such a change in the, moving to lithuim?

From my understanding the gov loves the fact that the electric scooters have limited range as it helps quell migration labour.

If anything it is europes pedelec push, laptop sales overtaking desktops and the possibility of 18650 being used in electric cars that can drop prices further that are helping.
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John in CR   100 GW

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Re: Be cautious with battery purchases. Big price drops soon

Post by John in CR » Feb 07 2013 11:55am

I didn't even ask for any cell details yet, but yeah I'd like to see something that's bolt together sizes, but with 18650's pretty much the standard in everything but cell phones, that's where the economies will be. He's doing some stuff with snap together packs in up to electric bus sizes, though I question the current handling without going too broad in parallel structure. I have asked for the technical details on that system even though I think it's a bit bulky in terms of utilization of space.

OTOH, he can have blocks tab welded to any reasonable shape. I got 40 blocks of 7p 18650's arranged in a manner that I can assemble them as long cylindrical packs with a somewhat oval shape just over 3" in diameter at the widest point with plenty of space to run wires. I'm glad I didn't jump in with both feet though, since it looks like prices will settle in at about half what I paid just a few months ago and the newest crop of cells have a greater energy density too.

I just wanted to give everyone a heads up, because our long wait may be almost over. We've got a friend who deals in batteries for flashlights online and has money. I'm sure he can be talked into fronting for some crates of batteries, especially since we can guaranteed him some customers. I just need to be convinced that the time is right.

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Re: Be cautious with battery purchases. Big price drops soon

Post by gensem » Feb 07 2013 12:10pm

Damn more waiting for me to buy batteries....
Im gessing that the 4c cells are made by Samsung.
Anything over 10c John, I cant really carry 60ah of battery on my bicycle. =/
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Re: Be cautious with battery purchases. Big price drops soon

Post by 999zip999 » Feb 07 2013 12:15pm

Thanks John I just wish I could set my alarm clock for this. As this is always a question my friends can't sallow, the price of a new pack as they want a bike the same as mine at 84v. for cheap.

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Re: Be cautious with battery purchases. Big price drops soon

Post by mistercrash » Feb 07 2013 12:15pm

Thanks for this info John in CR but I am going to be negative here. When I click the ''check out'' button on a few hundred brand new high quality cells that I paid $2.50 each shipped for, that's when I'll believe it. Man I really hope it's true and that it happens before the end of 2014.
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Re: Be cautious with battery purchases. Big price drops soon

Post by chroot » Feb 07 2013 12:29pm

+1 I would buy whole sale if they offers with the nickel tab for the soldering. I need battery pack homemade for my faincee. :D
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2600mah NMC 4C cells for $2.50/ea or less, that's pretty interesting! is it 4C burst or continuous? and.. do they have spotwleded nickel part on the tab( for soldering or we need to use spotwleder?

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Re: Be cautious with battery purchases. Big price drops soon

Post by dnmun » Feb 07 2013 12:33pm

the chinese guvment is under a lot of pressure from the cities where they have lead processing smelters and battery plants that have caused widespread pollution and poisoned the water and people living around the plants from smokestack emissions. there have been full scale riots in several cities where children have enormous lead levels and it is one of the prominent social issues that the chinese people seem to be unified in opposing and willing to fight the local administration over.

the other problem is the enormous increase in the number of ICE cars on the road leading to extensive air pollution in the cities. they have a goal of getting thousands of CNG and LNG stations installed in the major metro areas, so that trucks and busses with clearance to drive in the city will be natural gas powered, and there are also plans for extensive networks of charging spots.

in china you have to get a permit to get a car licensed, and it is limited to the number the guvment allows for the year so there is a regular guvment raffle drawing for the winners to get a licence to register their car. no need to buy a car if you cannot register it. car sales have suffered recently because of this.

when the guvment says they wanna do something, in china they do. this is part of the reform movement taking place under the glare of the extensive corruption in the party by the princelings and the families of the old line party members.

it is easy for the new Xiang group now in power and Li Xinping to go after such big visible and politically popular problems so you can expect to see the cost of lead acid to continue climbing, even more rapidly than the last 5 years where it has doubled.
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Re: Be cautious with battery purchases. Big price drops soon

Post by liveforphysics » Feb 07 2013 12:34pm

$2.50/cell for 2.6Ah NMC is a price teetering on the edge of being lower or higher than the raw materials cost of making one.

They don't usually subsidise the Chinese businesses nearly as much as the USA subsidiary battery "companies" here that operate in a continuous state of selling batteries for below the cost of materials/labor etc.
On the other hand, they seem more likely to start a massive battery production collective (working like a co-op with the goal of cost reduction over profiteering) of they start to view batteries as a strategic commodity essential to moving forward with a sustainable lifestyle.

I would love for it to be true.
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Re: Be cautious with battery purchases. Big price drops soon

Post by t3sla » Feb 07 2013 1:09pm

liveforphysics wrote:$2.50/cell for 2.6Ah NMC is a price teetering on the edge of being lower or higher than the raw materials cost of making one.

They don't usually subsidise the Chinese businesses nearly as much as the USA subsidiary battery "companies" here that operate in a continuous state of selling batteries for below the cost of materials/labor etc.
On the other hand, they seem more likely to start a massive battery production collective (working like a co-op with the goal of cost reduction over profiteering) of they start to view batteries as a strategic commodity essential to moving forward with a sustainable lifestyle.

I would love for it to be true.

It all come down to a basic concept.
Regardless if it's petroleum or lithium, there are various limited resources used in the manufacturing process.
This time around it's rare earth elements not oil, china understands having a monopoly on this supply is key and sees low ball or subsidised manufacturing of cells as a long term investment that undercuts the Japanese.

I have no idea if it flat-lines into dirt cheap batteries or if you turn around and go with a vice grip by the balls approach. (what ever makes more money I guess)

Think about rare earth magnets and how critical they are to a future EV world.
Who cares that they can't put together a EV that doesn't explode. You can iron that out when you have all the supply to waste of snail paced refinement.

While america is busy arguing over how to start building a future, china bought and secured what was needed to make one.

edit; oil is also very significant for lots of other things in the manufacturing process, like plastic and will remain critical for the next century, just not as an energy source. Hopefully.
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Re: Be cautious with battery purchases. Big price drops soon

Post by hydro-one » Feb 07 2013 2:36pm

hydro-powered lithium battery recycling facility (zero-emission of course) . I wouldn't feel bad driving down to the local lithium recycing plant, to trade in my used li-ions and "puffers". As long as my car was powered by the same batteries and pure hydro-electric power. Tire wear, i can live with that, (bikes always better of course), this is hypothetical. :mrgreen:

i cant wait , for tech-ride-live, zero emissions society

but of course as the north american consumer (and world) embraces the 18650 format, the price should drop. I have just now seen these type of cells for sale in places like walmart and costco. princess auto had em a few months ago as well :mrgreen:

most people cant wait to get rid of D cells and all that crap, remember trying to buy cells for your ghetto on the beach, now a days that would cost you fifty dollars in batteries for the aftenoon, makes lithium look alot better!! but it hasnt been there really until , , , now?
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Re: Be cautious with battery purchases. Big price drops soon

Post by John in CR » Feb 07 2013 2:42pm

Copper coils make fine magnets too, so don't think rare earth mags are the only way to make motors.

Regarding price vs cost of materials, wasn't it just a couple of years ago that Nissan projected a cost of their ecar batteries well below $300/kwh?...and that's not made in China. Is there really anything expensive in there or just the processing? I look at an 18650 and just see something a bit larger than an AA, so I expect similar pricing to eventually. As they get more energy dense that's more capacity without more raw materials too, so a 2.6ah 18650 today should cost the same as a 1.3ah KonionVT from 4 years ago in terms of raw materials. Hell the 1.6ah KonionV's work fine on up to moderate power ebikes, so hopefully they'll been soon had at obsolete battery prices. I don't understand how the Japanese have been able to fight the downward pressure on battery prices, because I've laughed at every price I've found for those Sony cells.

With 10 million new 2 wheel EV's put on the road each of the last 5 years in China, imagine how they will have to ramp up production if there was a decree of no more lead batteries. :shock: From dnmun's post that doesn't sound far off, so the big makers have probably been told already in preparation.

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Re: Be cautious with battery purchases. Big price drops soon

Post by agniusm » Feb 07 2013 3:46pm

This is what i thought few months back, that lithium batteries should come down in price. I got this idea when talked to Nancy from ONSpower regarding A123. Over a year ago i bought cells for 28EA and Nancy quoted me 35 each. So i thought something is happening on the market. Perhaps they still want to squeeze out as much as they can before the big storm.

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Re: Be cautious with battery purchases. Big price drops soon

Post by liveforphysics » Feb 07 2013 4:42pm

Just to clarify guys, the lithium itself never has and never will be a substantial material cost consideration in lithium batteries, nor any level of limited resource, other than saying, yes, the earth does technically have a finite amount, much like we have a finite amount of oxygen in the atmosphere etc.

All talks about "peak lithium" and crap is pure BS, and batteries aren't even the biggest consumer of lithium anyways, and never have been. It's used in making colored glasses and ceramics in higher quantities than the entire world battery market.

The element that is $$$ is the cobalt, and most of what people often say with respect to Lithium actually is true for Cobalt, but oddly I've never heard anyone fussing about "peak Cobalt" or "Cobalt reserves" etc. I think this is because most people assume that in the next few years we will find something better at making a cathode structure have spaces to intercalate lithium ions than structures involving cobalt oxides (like most every high energy density cell currently uses to at least some extent).
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Re: Be cautious with battery purchases. Big price drops soon

Post by flathill » Feb 07 2013 5:04pm

$2.50 for a 2600 mah 18650 NMC is not too hard to believe...wholesale
considering we have been able to buy them for two years now for around 7 bucks retail usa (walk in and pick them up)
less if you can finagle a cash discount
http://www.batteryspace.com/New-Generat ... .36Wh.aspx
1.5C continuous though


I hot glued together three 2p8s packs out of these with better rated cycle life
http://www.batteryspace.com/High-Power- ... -Rate.aspx
photo-3.jpg
photo-3.jpg (137.59 KiB) Viewed 2466 times
2p24s total
Good for commuter ebike. No duds. Haven't need to balance yet for 5 months. No self discharge in storage. Equal bounce back after deep discharge. Expensive but I hate hobby king lipo prismatic junk construction. I hope you are right that we will have a low cost direct source for these cell straight outta China. Mine is not that great either with spaghetti wires, but so far so good with rough handling. We need telsa style holders.
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Re: Be cautious with battery purchases. Big price drops soon

Post by Doctorbass » Feb 07 2013 5:14pm

flathill wrote:$2.50 for a 2600 mah 18650 NMC is not too hard to believe...wholesale
considering we have been able to buy them for two years now for around 7 bucks retail usa (walk in and pick them up)
less if you can finagle a cash discount
http://www.batteryspace.com/New-Generat ... .36Wh.aspx
1.5C continuous
I'm sure 4C burst easy

I hot glued together three 2p8s packs out of these
http://www.batteryspace.com/High-Power- ... -Rate.aspx
photo-3.jpg
2p24s total
Good for commuter ebike. No duds. Haven't need to balance yet for 5 months. No self discharge in storage. Equal bounce back after deep discharge. Expensive but I hate hobby king lipo prismatic junk construction. Mine is not that great either with spaghetti wires, but so far so good with rough handling. We need telsa style holders.

There is a big error in the spec on batteryspace... as usual.. they state :

Internal Impedance: less or equal to 90 mirco-ohm (with PTC) :roll:

They should mention 90 MILI-ohm not micro-ohm !

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Re: Be cautious with battery purchases. Big price drops soon

Post by flathill » Feb 07 2013 5:16pm

yeah not sure why the LG 18650 cell doesn't have a full spec sheet like the 26650
http://image.webftp.jp/design/allbatter ... 00Spec.pdf
here they list 70 milli-ohm or less but note this is over 3 years olds
2600 mah 18650 cells are ancient tech now
but yeah
I do think the Chinese transition away from lead to lithium is going bring down prices for sure
they have so many ebikes and scooters
China has no problem selling below cost to keep its citizens employed
and kill the competition
see Solar industry glut

2011 old:
http://knob.planet.ee/ev/akud/ChineseBa ... ring-1.pdf
""Chinese LiFePO4 factories are running at very low utilization, around 6%""
This is why they bought A123,
to make the best out of a shite e situation
but I'm sure some lines will be converted to NMC
When you can go to walmart and purchase some 10 year old a123 tech off the shelf
we will all be better off


at least they seem to have got the 26650 right
Internal Impedance: less or equal to 20 milli-ohm (with PTC)

We should request a special version with no PTC :evil:

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Re: Be cautious with battery purchases. Big price drops soon

Post by Arlo1 » Feb 08 2013 2:13am

This is one of those things that we want it bad but for me its something I will believe when I see....

There is a lot of people working on new battery tech and some of that will bring lower cost batteries but as for what we have right now IE NMC. There is a cost to make them and if we want them to be safe then the cost will be a little higher... Or a lot.
You can get pour quality control with any battery type causing issues with fires etc.
It was almost 2 years ago John you warned me about buying as much turnigy hardcase lipo saying man you are going to feel stupid when the NEXT big cheaper battery is out. I have built a lot of shit since then and ordered a lot of lipo.

So for me I will just keep building EV's and LEVs and E Bikes and order batteries as needed.
Last edited by Arlo1 on Feb 08 2013 10:53am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Be cautious with battery purchases. Big price drops soon

Post by t3sla » Feb 08 2013 2:56am

liveforphysics wrote:Just to clarify guys, the lithium itself never has and never will be a substantial material cost consideration in lithium batteries, nor any level of limited resource, other than saying, yes, the earth does technically have a finite amount, much like we have a finite amount of oxygen in the atmosphere etc.

All talks about "peak lithium" and crap is pure BS, and batteries aren't even the biggest consumer of lithium anyways, and never have been. It's used in making colored glasses and ceramics in higher quantities than the entire world battery market.

The element that is $$$ is the cobalt, and most of what people often say with respect to Lithium actually is true for Cobalt, but oddly I've never heard anyone fussing about "peak Cobalt" or "Cobalt reserves" etc. I think this is because most people assume that in the next few years we will find something better at making a cathode structure have spaces to intercalate lithium ions than structures involving cobalt oxides (like most every high energy density cell currently uses to at least some extent).
Yes indeed, it is only a minute percentage.
My understanding is rare earth elements are deep within the earth and are often centralized, so an area is rich in multiple elements.
Unlike the tradition mineral extraction which is very segmented.

What I was getting at more is the monopoly ownership of key elements used in the production process and what artificial pricing manipulation or even supply shorting can have on the market. It has minimal use, but that use is key and the elements themself are called rare earth for a reason.

The great thing about battery production, unlike pack build production is it's very autonomous.
So yes it doesn't require cheap labour, hence why Japan seem to have nailed it (and it's not overpriced)


From everything I have seen china is moving straight to LiFe, I don't see a bandwagon hop from older chemistry.

The 18650 LiFe china 720Wh packs I've dealt with are very reliable, the chemistry does exhibit less sag when within the C ratings.

The key is good BMS design, Chinese manufactures work at a price point so they're not going to use mil spec SMD caps that no failure rate when baked (which is beyond the typical temp range of normal caps can handle ans you see a % increase in failure).

You have to also factor in the lack of accountability when dealing with ''it's cheap, it breaks and they buy more from us'', little repercussion and a mindset of short term money.

Cool china is making batteries cheap, but how about Japan keeps nailing it until they hit 4Ah 5C a cell with minimal thermal by ignoring the laws of physics :D
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Re: Be cautious with battery purchases. Big price drops soon

Post by mvly » Feb 08 2013 3:21am

I want my 111V30Ah Lithium battery for $250!!! I guess I will be holding out much longer than you guys. LOL.

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Re: Be cautious with battery purchases. Big price drops soon

Post by John in CR » Feb 08 2013 12:05pm

Arlo1 wrote:It was almost 2 years ago John you warned me about buying as much turnigy hardcase lipo saying man you are going to feel stupid when the NEXT big cheaper battery is out. I have built a lot of shit since then and ordered a lot of lipo.
Musta been another John, since at the time I was buying 4s hardpacks too at $.25/wh.

Of course we all want smaller more powerful batteries, and that will come, and the best will be more expensive. Batteries have been good enough for a while now, so price is what matters, and somehow that price has continued to be artificially high. With China going to lithium for its ebikers that will finally change, because they can't afford expensive batteries. Artificially low battery prices would be perfectly fine with me. :mrgreen:

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Re: Be cautious with battery purchases. Big price drops soon

Post by bowlofsalad » Feb 08 2013 11:13pm

This sounds counter intuitive and vague.

If demand rises radically, might price increase? Also, when? For when or how long should buying batteries be held off? At least, whenish?

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Re: Be cautious with battery purchases. Big price drops soon

Post by Arlo1 » Feb 09 2013 12:02am

John in CR wrote:
Arlo1 wrote:It was almost 2 years ago John you warned me about buying as much turnigy hardcase lipo saying man you are going to feel stupid when the NEXT big cheaper battery is out. I have built a lot of shit since then and ordered a lot of lipo.
Musta been another John, since at the time I was buying 4s hardpacks too at $.25/wh.

Of course we all want smaller more powerful batteries, and that will come, and the best will be more expensive. Batteries have been good enough for a while now, so price is what matters, and somehow that price has continued to be artificially high. With China going to lithium for its ebikers that will finally change, because they can't afford expensive batteries. Artificially low battery prices would be perfectly fine with me. :mrgreen:

John
Wasn't even a John lol
Pure wrote:
Arlo1 wrote:All I know is I'm going for broke ordering as much cheep lipo as I can before some ASSHOLE says its to dangerous to ship to Canada!

You are going to be kicking yourself in a year when that shit costs half of what it does now.
http://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewto ... ke#p456828
Sorry dude. My bad.
Non the less I will still order what I can when I can.... I dont belive in waiting for prices to come down. I will be needing a lot of batteries in the next 5-10 years.
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Re: Be cautious with battery purchases. Big price drops soon

Post by zzoing » Feb 10 2013 2:29pm

I am sceptical about the SOON statement, the speed of the price drop is not going to be similar to computers and LCD monitors. In 1994, it was $3000 for a 12 inch monitor, in 2000, a 17 inch flat monitor cost just under $1000, and nowadays they are around $300 for a 24 inch one. that's with one per family kind of item. that's multitrillion dollar industry, whereas lithium batteries are in the 100 billion range.

Lithium is not expensive, neither is silicon in solar panels. the solar panel market is probably a close parallel to the lithium batteries,same turnover, same performance ceiling, and the price of solar panels is not showing any miracles,the price reflects the amount of processing involved in making the product. I'd love to believe that they might drop by 30% in one year but I am sceptical of that.

lithium carbonate is expected at $6,000 per tonne this year. that's $6 per kilo of lithium carbonate but the molar mass of lithium carbonate is 12 times more than the molar mass of lithium... So someone who's good at physics maybe??-actually I just got a quote-Cost, bulk: $9.50 per 100g ...

http://www.energyandcapital.com/resourc ... -batteries


http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases ... 44421.html

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