GM: Chevrolet Bolt Arrives In 2016, $145/kWh Cell Cost, Volt Margin Improves $3,500

1 year ago by Jay Cole 127

Look Waaaaaay In The Back There - It's The Chevrolet Bolt

Look Waaaaaay In The Back There – It’s The Chevrolet Bolt!

GM CEO Mary Barra Talks Future Of GM At Annual Global Conference

GM CEO Mary Barra Talks Future Of GM At Annual Global Conference

On Thursday, GM hosted its annual Global Business Conference.  During the presentation CEO Mary Barra, and other execs, made several presentations about the direction of the company.

And while most of the conference did not focus on plug-ins, some did.  In a big way.

Specifically, that the Chevrolet Bolt was arriving in 2016, a confirmation that we did not have before – only a 3rd party report saying that production was going to begin in October of 2016, and a big statement on the cost of the battery found inside the Bolt.

General Motors says the cost the battery cells in the company EV to be an “industry-leading” $145 per kWh.

That is a secured price at the Bolt’s launch in 2016 – not an estimate.  GM does go on to state that by 2022 the cost is estimated be $100/kWh

GM Outline Chevrolet Bolt Battery Cost - How Much Clearer Can You Get?

GM Outline Chevrolet Bolt Battery Cost – How Much Clearer Can You Get?

We should note that the cells found inside the Chevy Bolt are coming via LG Chem. And that the Korean company is selling those same cells to seemingly just about everyone in the industry for their 2nd generation plug-ins.

For example: herehere, herehere, here, here, here, here, here, etc. – we actually lost track of how many deals LG has in place for batteries once they got past 20.

So yes, industry leading and a fantastic/great price (which we are delighted to finally see in print), but also available to purchase industry wide.  Not great from a competitive standpoint for GM, but a pretty great revelation for the plug-in segment overall – as well as a solid price-point on cell costs heading into 2016.

Sidenote: LG Chem would also like to sell everyone complete battery packs – up to 120 kWh if they could.

Note "Key" Partner: LG Chem

Note “Key” Partner: LG Chem

On margins, specific to the 2016 Chevrolet Volt, $3,500 more has been added

Next Generation Chevrolet Volt Margins

Next Generation Chevrolet Volt Margins

This $3,500 “variable profit improvement” is a bit of a stick in the eye for us; not because we don’t want GM to make money on EVs (we really do), but because it comes after many years of promises to the consumer to take the cost out of the extended range EV, and then pass a certain amount of them on.

For example, the original Volt five years or so ago was promoted as “comfortably under $30,000“, and then later the former CEO Dan Akerson re-promised $7,000 to $10,000 worth of reductions in the 2nd gen car about 2 years ago – which again would have brought it down to around $30,000.

This GM presentation slide (above) basically says that GM was indeed successful in getting the costs down, and was/is be able to follow through on both of those promises…but ultimately decided to keep the money for themselves in the end.

A bit of a ‘glass half full/half empty’ moment happening on this one for us.

Another GM Slide On The Volt/Bolt

Another GM Slide On The Volt/Bolt

Separately, GM announced a fleet of autonomous 2017 Chevrolet Volts to be tested at the company’s Tech Center next year.

Hat tip to Brian R (bro1999)!

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127 responses to "GM: Chevrolet Bolt Arrives In 2016, $145/kWh Cell Cost, Volt Margin Improves $3,500"

  1. bro1999 says:

    Hey, it finally posted. Nice. 🙂

    1. Gerald Jones says:

      Sorry I like the old body style for Volt much better.

      1. Proton says:

        Me too. That, and the great finances prompted me to buy the 2015. The new Volt looks too much like the new Cruze.

      2. Wallace says:

        If you park a 1st gen Volt next to a 2nd gen Volt, from the rear the 1st gen looks more substantial. I also like the interior of the 1st gen better.
        There are things I consider to be an improvement in the new Volt, like the front and side, and obviously the range and paddle regeneration.

  2. Rashomon says:

    The $3500 in variable profit improvement noted may simply move the Volt from losing money to making a slight profit. We simply don’t have the information to judge this. Tesla is aiming for a 30 percent gross margin without dealership distribution, which reduces manufacturer margins, so I wouldn’t beat up GM on this. And besides, if EVs don’t make money, no one will build them.

    1. Alonso Perez says:

      Yep, the Volt was not a money maker for sure. At best it achieved a slight gross margin. Any incentive that will prod GM to move more Volts is a good thing. The Volt was not suffering because of price, but because it was under promoted.

      1. Speculawyer says:

        I’m sure the Prius lost a lot of money for many years too.

        But GM now has a great well-refined Voltec drivetrain. They REALLY need to put it in more cars vehicles.

        1. RexxSee says:

          Electric cars losing money is a myth, they lose money only because they do not WANT to produce more cars.
          This way prices are kept high, sales are lousy and the automobile cartel protect it’s very lucrative ICE car business.
          Reuters propagated the myth of the losing money Volt. Bob Lutz corrected it the same week. You have to account for all the cars derived of a new platform, on all comtinents and all the years this platform will be sold.
          Are you naive enough to believe it when GM announce a price on the kWh?!? It’s only marketing and covering the way too high price bloated on purpose some years ago.

        2. kdawg says:

          It took 17 years for Toyota to make a profit on the Prius. GM was doing it in less than 5 years.

          1. Richard says:

            That’s not true. It took 17 years to break even on the R&D costs. GM still has many years left to go for that.

      2. no comment says:

        i have come to believe that it is not that simple. there are a number of reasons why *EVs have not caught on in the market in the manner hoped.

        cost, has obviously been a large factor.

        lack of education about *EVs is of course another large factor, and a big part of that is the lack of understanding about the differences between different types of vehicles that fall under the category of “electric vehicles”. i must say that the evangelism of some EV enthusiasts has not been helpful because the enthusiasm often promotes *EVs in a way that is not realistic, or practical, for the general public. so, in the end, many in the public end up not really knowing what *EVs are.

        range and recharging time are factors for those who get a minimally cursory knowledge of *EVs. while the EV enthusiasts are “the believers”, the general public is going to compare *EVs to ICEs on convenience and familiarity attributes. here, the inability of many in the public to distinguish a PHEV/EREV from a BEV becomes a problem for a car like the Volt because when people hear stuff about a Leaf or a Model S, they assume that the same goes for the Volt, when i reality the same does not “go for the Volt”. the EV enthusiast simplistically thinks that the answer is reduce cost/kWh and increase battery capacity and the ICE will disappear when there is more to it than that.

        1. I’m afraid that you’ll also need to explain why Norwegian auto sales have been at least 20% EVs, almost entirely on the foundation of sticker prices being at parity in the hatchback and sedan segments. This is a remarkable achievement, since there’s only about 4 different car models available with this drivetrain in that country. That’s a huge proportion of the sales in hatchbacks and sedans, although I don’t have any statistics to say what percentage that is. It’s likely nearly half though.

          While 20% isn’t 100%, it certainly shows that the public currently has no trouble understanding the benefits of driving electric. If given the choice at exactly the same initial cost, the consumers are willing to put up with a few slight inconveniences (like having to wait an extra 15 minutes to refuel) for vastly lower operating costs. It’s just that most Americans figure that the X number of years it would take to recoup the extra up-front cost isn’t worthwhile.

          So clearly, the real solution to the problem is “make the batteries cheaper”. I very highly doubt that any other considerations really matter, especially if the DCQC infrastructure is there to properly support the cars.

          1. mr. M says:

            In Norway a Tesla is more like half the price of its competitor! Not the same, much less. The Leaf is more like 2/3 of its competitors price.

            That would be like a new Tesla fully speced out for 75.000$ or a base 70D for 35.000$. Everyone understands that this is a bargain!

          2. zzzzzzzzzz says:

            In Norway gas is taxed up to $8/gal or so, and EVs are exempt from huge registration taxes and receive extra perks.
            You can do the same everywhere, you just need to find a lot of oil and sell it for profit to the rest of the world, as Norway does. Somebody still needs to buy the oil for this grand scheme to work.

        2. kdawg says:

          I think they have caught on ‘OK’. Would I have liked more? Yes. But if you look at adoption curves of other technologies, like VCRs for example, and consider the life of a car and the amount of the investment, obviously it is going to take more time.

  3. bro1999 says:

    btw, I think GM did aim to get costs down $7-10k, but they were talking about MANUFACTURING costs, not the actual cost to customers.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      It is useful to distinguish between cost and price. The money GM pays out to build a Volt is the cost; the money the customer pays to buy a Volt is the price.

      According to the article, GM has reduced its costs. I don’t expect that, or much of it, to be passed along to consumers, because the Volt wasn’t making GM much if any money on the Volt 1.0. But if GM can now make a significant profit selling the Volt, then hopefully that will encourage it to start offering more models using Voltec. (The Cadillac ELR doesn’t really count, since it is merely a compliance car, and thus obviously a money-loser for GM.)

  4. Stimpacker says:

    This pretty much disputes the rubbish reports from industry analysts like that Cosmin Laslau fella from Lux Research.

    1. Pedro says:

      The battery is very expensive myth is one I’ve been fighting for years.

      When cell makers admit they cost less than 125$/kWh (DOE objective) the funding will cease.

      http://pushevs.com/2015/09/22/battery-price-myth/

      1. Meh says:

        Nice non-factual, BS, conspiracy theory link.

        There’s more to it than the battery itself. NRE costs must be recovered. There’s also overhead costs as well.

        1. Pedro says:

          By the way, a conspiracy doesn’t mean it isn’t true, just that it’s hidden from general public.

          Like the motives why some are pushing hydrogen fuel cells instead of battery electrics. To keep the status quo.

          1. Pedro says:

            Who Killed the Electric Car? (2006) is also about conspiracies. GM crushing EV1 never happen right? It wasn’t in Faux News and other mainstream media so can only be false. Big companies can be trusted, just like Volkswagen 🙂

            1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

              “Who Killed the Electric Car?” had a lot of truth in it, but it also had a lot of propaganda and conspiracy theories.

              The biggest untruth in the documentary was pronouncing batteries “not guilty” of being a factor contributing to the “death” of the EV1. In fact, the huge expense of batteries was the #1 cause for GM “killing” the model.

              Your attempt here to convince us that batteries are not a very significant expense for EV makers… well, your claim is, quite simply, 100% false. Here are a couple of consequences of batteries being so expensive:

              1. The first generation of both BEV (the Leaf) an PHEVs (the Volt) had very limited range, due to batteries being too expensive to put larger battery packs into the cars.

              2. Tesla started out selling only very expensive cars, and doesn’t even plan to sell a mid-range priced car, the Model ≡, until 2017; and even then, only after spending billions of dollars on their own battery factory so they can reduce costs.

              It’s good that LG Chem is starting to offer somewhat cheaper li-ion battery cells. But $145/kWh probably is still not quite cheap enough for a sell-through, “everyman” plug-in EV. A lot of industry watchers say that battery prices need to come down to $125 per kWh before that can happen.

              1. ZIM says:

                “…but it also had a lot of propaganda and conspiracy theories.”

                No, that’s almost entirely what it was. I’m all for EV’s but not based on whipping up angry sentiments based upon lies. The producers should be flogged for that piece of crap.

              2. Pedro says:

                Check page 4 of this pdf of the DOE.

                http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2015/06/f23/es000_faguy_2015_o.pdf

                Tesla Motors was already getting $200/kWh in 2010 when every media reported they were paying $1,200/kWh and losing money. But even for Tesla is best that the real cost isn’t known. The highest the reported cost is, the highest is the DOE funding to help decrease it. DOE only fund research until the $125/kWh is reached, when somebody admits they are there already funding stops.

                And when solid state batteries come, the cost will drop bellow $50/kWh. The liquid electrolyte is the reason building an lithium cell takes very time and energy, the materials are already cheap.

                Cheers.

                1. Rich says:

                  Pedro, thanks for the link to the pdf. This is a great source of info. I’m not sure why people are surprised by battery costs being this low. A lot of people on this site are familiar with the replacement cost of the Nissan Leaf pack at $6,500 (not including the $1000 core credit). This puts Nissan’s battery pack cost at $271/kWh. Obviously, the battery costs are lower than that. Interesting that Tesla has been enjoying $220ish / kWh battery costs since 2010.
                  From JB Straubel’s presentations, battery costs reduce by 7% per year. At $220/kWh in 2010, that puts Tesla’s current battery costs at $153/kWh.

                2. RexxSee says:

                  +1 again for pedro

              3. RexxSee says:

                You explain what happened but not why. First there was no propaganda in “who killed the electric car” I even found it quite shy .

                Then you compare Tesla to Nissan without acknowledging for any differences. They are huge. The Model S IS a luxury car. And it is produced in very small mass production, never the same scale of any other established car maker.
                Tesla has ONE factory, Nissan 39, GM 99 !

                What is wrong here is that EVs from ICE car makers are NEVER produced on a large scale and NEVER benefit from important costs reduction of economy of scale.
                It takes Tesla all it’s energy to reach this point of massive scale… point that ANY other car maker already have, but do not use for their EVs.

                2022 is ridiculous for 100/kWh

          2. RexxSee says:

            +1

      2. RexxSee says:

        +1 The car maker cartel had to find a pretext to sell their EVs way more than their value.
        How can you drink the GM kool-aid that easily?! They can say anything about the cost or the money they lose.
        The truth is an EV has much less parts and subcontracting and manpower to build it.
        In the end an EV cost less to build than an ICE. Now if you don’t want to lose all your sales to EVs, you have to find a way to put a big sticker price on them. The only possible target is the battery, since the electric motor is si please and inexpensive.

        And what do you make of their projection?!?
        2022 is ridiculous to reach 100$ I’m sure GM already pays 100$/kW !
        Tesla makes it no secret that they will be under by next year. And the négociation power of GM is a magnitude larger than the small Tesla.

    2. jerryd says:

      I’ve been fighting Lux and Pike’s battery lies for 2 decades now so nice GM admits the price.
      Fact is both as far as I can tell write reports their clients want which has been making batteries cost more than they do by about 100% higher.
      For instance back when Tesla was doing the Roadster we were buying the same Panasonic cells for $250/kwhr retail in EV quantities/5k cells, vs they were claiming $600-700/kwr.
      As for the Bolt, it can’t be made unless the battery price is $145/kwhr or so.
      Neither can the Tesla 3.
      I just wish I could buy Tesla or LG batteries/modules new at OEM prices.

  5. David Murray says:

    This is excellent news on two fronts. First of all, if the Volt is making GM money, then they will be more likely to advertise the car and get their dealers to actually sell them, especially outside of California. Those two things alone could probably move the Volt to 5,000 per month sales even in the current market conditions for EVs.

    The price of the battery cells is also big news. Finally it confirms what manufacturers are paying for current cells. So the cells in the Volt’s battery pack probably cost around $2,600… I’d guess the entire battery pack is around $3,000. That’s a very reasonable price for a battery pack, considering how rarely and unlikely it is to need to be swapped out in the first place. What this really tells me is that there is absolutely NO REASON competing plug-in hybrids couldn’t achieve 40+ miles of range other than they just don’t have room for the batteries. So it’s time for Ford to get more batteries in it’s PHEVs. I’m sure if the price difference to the consumer is $1,000 for an extra 20 miles of range, the vast majority of consumers will pay for it.

    1. Paul Stoller says:

      It also means there is no excuse for GM not making an EREV SUV/CUV and a Malibu/Impala sized EREV.

      The costs are where they need to be, make the damn vehicles GM.

      1. Paul Stoller says:

        And I know I’m probably dreaming here but I really want them to build a Voltorado.

      2. goodbyegascar says:

        I think a Chevy Malibu or Impala PHEV would be fantastic, especially the 2016 Malibu.

        I wonder if the new 2016 Malibu Hybrid’s Voltec power train could easily become an excellent PHEV when equipped with, say, a 20kWh battery. 50 miles of AER would be great.

    2. Rashomon says:

      If the cells in the Volt pack cost $2600, I very much doubt the pack cost $3000. There’s a lot of components in a Volt pack, and some of them (contactors, connectors, etc.) are still expensive. This pack is still made in relatively small volumes, and while there’s certainly room to bring the pack integration cost down, I doubt GM is there yet. Also, pack integration costs drop with pack size, as many of the same type of components are needed regardless of whether a pack is 18kWh or 85.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Looks like the economies of scale for LG with all it’s customers has brought the prices down.

    Hope the Gigafactory does the same.

  7. Speculawyer says:

    $145/KWH. That is a bombshell, that right there. Boom.

    1. Stimpy says:

      When EVs becomes cheaper than gas cars both per mile AND up front it’s completely game over for ICE.

      WOOOO!

    2. ggpa says:

      So batteries cost $145/kWh and the Federal Government subsidy is $469/kWh. So the margin on the car improves $324 with every extra kWh

      Why does anyone build a car with less than 16 kWh?

      1. Bill Howland says:

        Exactly.. And since LG is willing to sell complete 120 kwh battery systems, I’d love to buy an Impala or Cadillac EV or PHEV with it in there.

        And there is no reason why Colorados and Equinoxs can’t have a 30 kwh PHEV in them with 100 miles all electric range. Even with that dinky 3.3 or 3.6 kw charger GM insists on using, all those vehicles would get a full 100 miles (in good weather) overnight (10 hours).

        Fleet use would be a no-brainer. Hundreds of thousands of miles in additional driving before an engine overhaul, since the engine would so rarely run. And 3 kw (at 200 volts) charging per vehicle would mean a fleet of 20 vehicles simultaneously charging would only draw a constant 60 kw overnight, and with Time-of-day discounts would make the fueling cost ridiculously low, even compared to the dirt cheap gasoline prices currently enjoyed by Americans. Since the rest of the business is closed during this time, the lack of air conditioner load while the business is closed would provide the electricity needed to charge the vehicles, so no added infrastructure, nor added electrical demand charges would accrue. And much decreased maintenance expense.

        I don’t see why big corporations aren’t calling up their vendors and DEMANDING companies like GM start producing these vehicles.

        The downside is that the lack of service required by Work Vehicle PHEV’s will unfortunately kill alot of jobs in vehicle repair, since they just wont be needed.

  8. Anthony says:

    If I had heard a rumor than LG Chem was selling cells to GM for $145/kWh in 2016, I would have said it was false, that no one would beat Tesla’s GF on cell prices.

    Kudos to LG for getting their costs down so low.

    I would guess that their total pack costs are around $200/kWh, so a 50kWh pack is $10,000. I still think $37,500 is too much for the Bolt (especially in the face of low gas prices), so I wonder where the rest of the cost is going? I cant imagine the Bolt sans-powertrain/pack is more than $8,000 or so (its based on the Sonic after all), so after all the gasoline parts are subtracted out and the electric parts are put it, its a difference of $8,000 or so? That puts it at $24,000. Where is the rest of the cost going?

    1. bro1999 says:

      I bet a good chunk of the remaining cost will be with use of mixed materials to get the weight down. So we’re probably looking at a lot more aluminum and even carbon fiber being used in addition to steel.

    2. GeorgeS says:

      @Anthony
      You think that price is high for the Bolt. what about 34K for a 30 kwh Leaf.
      I’m definitely starting to re think getting a 30 kwh Leaf. It should be 29K.

      1. Jim says:

        Right. Nissan is overpricing the SV and SL for 2016. I think they figure that they can always lower the price if they are not selling. I think that is exactly what will happen.

    3. Speculawyer says:

      Well . . . we have to keep in mind that the $145/KWH number might be wrong. I have no idea if it is right or wrong. I kinda lean toward it being wrong because of the ‘if it sounds too good to be true . . . ‘ mantra.

      1. bro1999 says:

        If this were a VW presentation, I’d be pretty dubious of the numbers. You could then multiply the listed battery price by a factor of 10-40. 😉

    4. R.S says:

      GM has a serious over engineering problem, when it comes to EVs, thats not a bad thing if you already have the car, but it is, if you want to buy one. I am pretty sure they’ll overdo the battery by far. I expect more than 60 kWh. Just look at the first Volt pack, (relatively) low range but lots of energy. It will be a great car with lots of range, I would say more than 250 miles EPA, but it will be too expensive. They will notice after a year, and introduce a 150-200 mile model for less.

      1. Anthony says:

        The issue is that a 50kWh pack would be good for 205 miles, but over its lifetime will only have a depth of discharge of less than 50% because how often do you drive over 100 miles in a day? Unless you’re one of the few people with a really long distance commute, most folks won’t be cycling the battery deeply enough to require a huge buffer.

      2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        R.S said:

        “I am pretty sure they’ll overdo the battery by far. I expect more than 60 kWh.”

        I expect the battery pack for the Bolt to be in the range of 45-50 kWh. Not only is the Bolt a small car, but also LG Chem’s new cells can be cycled with a deeper DoD (Depth of Discharge), which means GM can get away with a smaller battery pack for the same range.

    5. jerryd says:

      Tesla’s battery cost is still 15-20% less than LG’s and both have about 20% more to make into a pack.
      As for EV’s cost they have all been overpriced, gouging as the$7500 tax credit pays for the battery packs no reason they need to cost more than a gas car.
      But they can so they did.
      And the Volt needs that margin as when the Bolt, T-3 comes out it’ll have to drop it’s price a lot to compete as will the Leaf, other EV’s.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        I don’t think there is any question that overall, plug-in EVs give legacy auto makers a smaller profit margin than their best-selling gasmobiles.

        Nissan said when it began Leaf production that they didn’t expect to make an overall profit on the model until the third year of production. Surely that’s longer than average for a gasmobile model? And since then, Nissan has built two more auto assembly plants and two more battery factories in other countries, because it needed to drop the price on the Leaf to make it more competitive. So clearly Nissan has had to invest a lot more capital to make the Leaf than they originally planned. I doubt they have made an overall profit on the Leaf, to date.

        If PEVs were really cheaper to make than gasmobiles, then legacy auto makers wouldn’t be so reluctant to make them. There seems little question that the price to make a BEV will eventually come down to be lower than making a comparable gasmobile, since BEVs have far fewer moving parts, but the high price of batteries has been a barrier to that. It’s great that LG Chem is lowering the price significantly, but I question that even $145/kWh is cheap enough to push PEVs over the tipping point. Many industry watchers peg that at $125/kWh.

        The cost of making PHEVs with a decent range (like the Volt) will continue to be problematic, making it difficult for them to compete with ordinary gasmobiles. PHEVs have to be even more complex than a typical gasmobile, since they have two powertrains. That’s not going to change.

        1. RexxSee says:

          The smaller profit margin is ONLY BECAUSE THEY DON’T MASSIVELY PRODUCE THEM AS THEY DO FOR ALL THEIR OTHER CARS.
          There is much less parts in an EV.
          A Corolla-eV or a Equinox-EV produced in the same numbers than the gas mobile counterparts would cost LESS to build.
          Less material, less subcontracting, less transport fees on parts less manpower to assemble, less complexity etc.

  9. Breezy says:

    I was shocked when I saw those figures. $145/kWh cell cost in 2016 and $100/kWh by 2022? Those are Gigafactory prices. I think this sets the industry up for an explosion of EV sales in the next decade, and not just from Tesla.

    It’s just up to consumers to actually buy them.

    1. Stimpy says:

      I think it would be rather difficult for even the most diehard ICE fans to ignore an EV that costs less per mile AND at a lower up front price.

      That is a true tipping point event.

      1. GeorgeS says:

        @Stimpy

        that’s what we are looking at here.
        Very big news indeed!

      2. Jim says:

        Don’t under estimate the stupidity of “diehard ICE fans”.

        1. Bill Howland says:

          The “stupid’ ones will be convinced when the WOrk Vehicles they drive are all EV’s or PHEV’s.

          Companies won’t buy them due to any particular love for electrified vehicles.

          They’ll buy them due to markedly reduced life-cycle costs of the PHEV Truck or CUV.

          As I mentioned earlier, these savings are at the cusp of being so compelling, that I don’t see why larger companies aren’t calling up the Big Three automakers and DEMANDING they be built.

      3. Spider-Dan says:

        The real obstacle is those who cannot charge at home (because they park in surface lots, on the side of the street, etc.).

        I always presume it as a given that as battery prices come down, any homeowner with a garage will inevitably be converted to BEV. But for renters and others that cannot reasonably access an EVSE, we will either need to keep ICE or switch to something like FCVs.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          As PEVs become more common, 220v outlets in parking lots will also become more common. Apartment landlords and public parking lot owners are not going to ignore the demand for slow charging points next to parking places.

        2. Paul says:

          Look at Holland: most people live in apartments and don’t have garages. But the charging companies, together with some good planning decisions of the government and cities, organized that he who buys a BEV or PHEV will have an outlet in the street near his apartment.

          Therefore there is no big difference between people with and without garages; from a charging standpoint, it is easy for everybody to drive a BEV/PHEV.

        3. Ziv says:

          Dan, I live in a condo that was an apartment building until it was converted 20 years ago. We had one electric plug (110v) near the car wash outside and that was it. Now the condo association has ruled that anyone willing to pay $25 a month can get a parking spot and the engineer will install a 110v plug for free. I was the first but there is already another Volt plugged in just down from me and a third Volt is waiting for a spot to open up. Older buildings can adapt to charging cars if they have their own parking spaces.

    2. SJC says:

      They are not buying them, the numbers for the Ford Fusion Energi are less than 1000 per month.

    3. RexxSee says:

      I would not be surprised that GM already pays 100/kWh. How can you not see this is marketing, sale strategy and Corporate lie as usual?!?
      This Bolt is a small compact car and will be sold at nearly 40,000$ !
      Are you so conditioned by the propaganda on the high prices of EVS? There is no reason an EV would cost more than a gas car. Actually an EV has much less parts than an ICE car.

      1. Breezy says:

        I’m not conditioned by propaganda. I have a Volt, currently 70.1% electric over its lifetime and plan a BEV for my next purchase. There’s no reason an EV can’t work for most people today, regardless of what current cell prices are.

        1. TX NRG says:

          I have two Energis and average over 82% electric for their lifetimes. Selling a Bolt for $40,000 when similar Versas and Sonics can be had for $14,000 – $17,000 by the masses is not going to help BEVs break the 1% adoption level.

  10. GeorgeS says:

    Super good news all the way around.
    Great report thanks.

  11. no comment says:

    i’m not sure how much information there is in this article that is much practical use, it seems that the article is more of a platform for the writer to vent some of his biases. first, the article comments about what to me seem like reasonable battery costs and writes that these costs were: “not great from a competitive standpoint for GM, but a pretty great revelation for the plug-in segment overall”. huh??? so the results are not good for GM but good overall? the comment makes little sense to me.

    then the article makes the incongruous statement:

    “the $3,500 ‘variable profit improvement’ is a bit of a stick in the eye for us; not because we don’t want GM to make money on EVs (we really do), but because it comes after many years of promises to the consumer to take the cost out of the extended range EV, and then pass a certain amount of them on.”

    one of the things that i have noticed on this forum is a lack of understanding of the realities of how business actually works. as much as some want a $15,000 BEV with 500 miles of AER, companies can’t give this stuff away for free, they have to be able to make a profit to stay in business. the reality is that the “EV revolution” isn’t happening as rapidly as anyone, including GM, would have hoped. and while Tesla has done a good job of tapping into the EV enthusiast (and especially high end) segment, GM is thinking more in terms of the mass market, and penetration into the mass market is lagging far behind what was hoped. so sales volumes are lower than expected at this point. what that means is that GM is making less money on *EVs than their models had predicted up to this point. i think that it is fair to say that GM is in no position to start giving money away; they have to establish that they can make *EVs profitably; because that’s how business works.

    1. TomArt says:

      That’s why the Model III isn’t out yet.

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Well said, “no comment”.

      I have no idea whether or not GM said that it would “pass along” any savings in lower battery prices to its customers. But whether they did or not, it’s not realistic to expect GM to continue to make the Volt while earning little or no profit at all on the cars.

    3. RexxSee says:

      To No Comment
      The sales are low because they did try to sell them properly. Give EVs only one tenth of the advertisement of pick-ups on TV and the sales will increase ten fold in one month!
      Gas car companies do all they can to not sell EVs because their business model, the infrastructures all is toward ICE cars, and it takes much time to turn a huge tanker around. They don’t want to take the turn unless they have no choice.

      1. Spider-Dan says:

        On what basis do you claim that EV sales are so tightly correlated to TV advertising dollars? If this were the case, Tesla wouldn’t be making any sales at all.

    4. Stuart22 says:

      no comment nailed it. I was among those puzzled at the writer’s turn from reporting good news to an opinionated trashing of GM.

      That the v.2 Volt is better than while costing less than the v.1 Volt doesn’t support at all the writer’s claim GM ‘ultimately decided to keep the (cost savings) money for themselves in the end.’

  12. philip d says:

    $3,500 “variable profit improvement” for the Volt at rollout. I could see them dropping that a couple thousand in time for the 2018 model.

    1. Ziv says:

      Heck, I am hoping to see an improvement in the MSRP of the 2017MY Volt!

  13. BernieTx says:

    does $145/kwh include everything related to the battery? How about battery cooling? Obviously, it does not include the electric motor. So, the battery is probably half the extra product cost to the Volt. Also, is $145/kwh for the 2017 Bolt, or the 2016 Volt? Either way, these are impressive battery cost improvements for sure.

    1. Breezy says:

      That’s the cell cost. No, it doesn’t include anything else that goes into the battery (often called pack-level cost) or the rest of the powertrain.

      I believe the cells in the Volt are different and chosen for power density rather than energy density.

    2. Speculawyer says:

      I’d say at best, it is the cell cost. And we don’t even know if that number is true. I sure hope it is but I’m skeptical.

      1. bro1999 says:

        http://www.forbes.com/sites/boblutz/2012/09/10/the-real-story-on-gms-volt-costs/

        Bob Lutz stated the Gen 1 Volt’s battery cost $350/kWh (~$6k), and the other battery components cost ~$4k. Using that as a reference, the Bolt EV’s “other” pack-associated component costs may be anywhere from $4-6k on top of the actual battery cost. So the total cost for all battery/battery components should be somewhere in the $12-15k range (maybe). That leaves roughly $20k for the rest of the car, assuming a 10% profit margin.

        1. DonC says:

          Less. Bigger cells mean less overhead for the power electronics. Also power electronics are more Moore’s law that battery law. LOL

        2. Ziv says:

          Bro, that is interesting. Because Lutz saying that the Gen I pack cost around $9600 is really close to Dr. Patil of LG Chem sayiing that the pack price was around $10,000 in 2010. But I always figured that the pack management was around 25% to 35% but that would make it closer to 70%.
          Was Lutz referring to including electric intent parts outside of the pack, possibly?

    3. DonC says:

      It’s the cell cost. But the better news is that these are large cells so the cost of the infrastructure needed to support the cells will be less. For example, if the cells Tesla is using cost the same as the cells GM is using, GM’s pack cost per kWh will be substantially less.

      I’m surprised the costs have gotten this low this fast.

  14. MarkSTJ says:

    I will lease a 200+ mile Bolt or Leaf for 3 years ( who ever gives me the best deal ). After that I will feel confident that the technology is stable enough to buy one (Tesla, Bolt, Leaf ). Too bad Ford seems to be falling behind.

  15. Boris says:

    Come on guys, this isn’t such good news. $145 sounds good, but it doesn’t include the pack cost, which is probably going to be around $55 per kwh, put some margin on top of it and you have $250 per kwh. While gigafactory made batteries should be at $150 to $160 per kwh.

    1. Breezy says:

      No margin. These are GM’s costs.

      No doubt Tesla will still have an advantage, but the advantage appears to be much smaller than previously thought.

      1. TomArt says:

        Good ol’ GM, lagging again. Extensive sleuthing in a pair of articles that appeared on Green Car Reports nearly 2 years ago had estimated Tesla’s cell costs around $120/kWh at that time (pack level around $150/kWh – $160/kwh). If that estimate was in fact accurate, then Tesla should now be pushing the $100/kWh threshold at the cell level. The volume has gone up substantially since then, and that’s before the GF.

        1. DonC says:

          If the cell costs are $145/kWh for GM and $100/kWh for Tesla, which I doubt actually, GM’s pack cost would likely be the same. Huge difference in overhead between constructing and maintaining a pack consisting of hundreds of cells as opposed to thousands of cells.

        2. Breezy says:

          I doubt Tesla’s cell costs 2 years ago were $120/kWh. I’ve seen other estimates of $180/kWh as of Oct 2014. That sounds more reasonable.

        3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          TomArt said:

          “Extensive sleuthing in a pair of articles that appeared on Green Car Reports nearly 2 years ago had estimated Tesla’s cell costs around $120/kWh at that time (pack level around $150/kWh – $160/kwh).”

          I seriously doubt that estimate was near the mark. Someone at Tesla said, maybe a year or so ago, that the cost of the battery pack (not just cell cost) was about 25% the cost of a Model S. If the average Model S sells for $95,000, and has an 85 kWh pack, then that’s $279 / kWh at the pack level. If you figure in the Model S’s that have less than 85 kWh, it gets even more expensive.

  16. kdawg says:

    “This $3,500 “variable profit improvement” is a bit of a stick in the eye for us; not because we don’t want GM to make money on EVs (we really do), but because it comes after many years of promises to the consumer to take the cost out of the extended range EV, and then pass a certain amount of them on.”
    ———
    What this does though, is put GM in good shape for when the $7500 tax credit disappears. Maybe they can reduce the price significantly at that time.

    1. no comment says:

      the $7,500 tax credit to the consumer does not put any money in the coffers at GM, so i doubt that they are related. i mean, if GM can’t make money on these things, they simply won’t make them, and they will tweak the ICE (as was done in the Malibu) to meet CAFE regulations.

      1. bro1999 says:

        True, but if GM eventually burns through all 200k credits, other manufacturers late to the EV game will suddenly have a pricing advantage, still able to market the $7.5k federal tax credit, while those that have been in since the beginning (GM, Nissan, Tesla) won’t be able to use that chip anymore. Sucky situation if you think about it.

        1. no comment says:

          a new auto manufacturer is going to face numerous startup costs, so i don’t think that the tax credit will be much of a competitive advantage relative to other auto makers. as industries go, the auto business has fairly high capital barriers to entry. that’s why i am skeptical of the talk of Apple introducing a car in 4 years.

          1. finecadmin says:

            Apple’s cash hoard is bigger than Ford or GM’s entire market caps, and arguably bigger than Toyota’s (accountants are slippery SOBs). While a company would be foolish to blow its entire cash reserve, >170 billion makes Apple de facto credible.

            GM spent 5-8 billion to start Saturn (unadjusted). I am highly skeptical of you, as usual.

            1. Paul Stoller says:

              And if my memory serves me correctly Tim Cook was hired originally at Apple it was to run their supply chain. If anybody could put together what is necessary to build a car I would think he would stand a good shot with how effiencntly he has run Apple’s supply chain.

          2. Focher says:

            Apple will outsource the manufacturing to someone like Magna, so their capital costs will not need to include a full buildout of a plant like Tesla did. Just tooling relegated to any design requirements. Maybe Tesla will even do the manufacturing.

      2. kdawg says:

        Yes it does. It allows them to charge a higher price. Once that ability is gone, they will need to be able to lower the price… and still make a profit.

        1. no comment says:

          the reality is that electric vehicles are very expensive. high price depresses demand when consumers compare the price of the Volt to comparable vehicles. i am certain that GM would sell the Volt for a much lower price if they could do so, even with the tax credit.

          1. finecadmin says:

            I am certain your “reality” is maya.

            The reality is that price and cost are not the same, not for GM, Boeing, or any other global multinational.

          2. Focher says:

            That’s why PHEVs are an interim solution. The only thing that drives up the cost (and therefore price) of a BEV is the disparity between its drivetrain (which includes the battery pack) and an ICE. It’s actually easier to manufacture an electric drivetrain than an ICE when done at scale.

      3. DonC says:

        Of course they’re related. You don’t understand that a rebate/credit or a price cut are the same thing?

    2. GeorgeS says:

      @kdawg

      agreed. Looks like we have some padding going on in the pricing department…though not necessarily for the Volt since it is 2 cars in one.

      But pure BEV’s?? 34K for the 30 kwh Leaf is too much.

      1. GeorgeS says:

        Nissan is going to have to offer some good incentives to get people behind the wheel of a 30 kwh Leaf.

  17. BernieTx says:

    The “6 in ’16” must refer to the picture: 2016 Volt, 2017 Bolt, 2017 Volt?, 2016 Malibu/Hybrid, 2016 Camaro, and the 2016 Spark?

    1. Paul Stoller says:

      1. 2016 Cruze
      2. 2016 Malibu
      3. 2016 Camaro
      4. 2016 Volt
      5. 2016 Spark
      6. 2017 Bolt

  18. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

    I think GM have pretty much nailed their colors to the mast in that Alternative Propulsion Market Perspective graphic.

    And in a very good way.

  19. BernieTx says:

    The “6 in ’16” must refer to the picture: 2016 Volt, 2016 Cruze, 2017 Bolt, 2016 Malibu/Hybrid, 2016 Camaro, and the 2016 Spark?

  20. Tom says:

    Brings to mind that sweet little old lady shouting out “where’s the beef!”

  21. kdawg says:

    “So yes, industry leading and a fantastic/great price (which we are delighted to finally see in print), but also available to purchase industry wide. Not great from a competitive standpoint for GM, but a pretty great revelation for the plug-in segment overall”
    ——–

    Just because GM can buy at $145/kWh doesn’t mean its competitors can. Never underestimate GM’s ability to beat up its vendors.

    1. Jay Cole says:

      It’s true, some might not the same deal. But the other customers include Renault, VW Group, potentially Nissan…these players are much larger than GM in the EV segment.

      And LG Chem doesn’t give them the price now that GM has said it out loud, it is likely that Samsung SDI or even Panasonic will.

      Even if somehow GM is getting a 20% undercut, we are only talk $29/kwh, or $1,300ish on a 45 kWh pack today, and $900 in 6 years time, that’s not much.

  22. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    “General Motors says the cost the battery cells in the company EV to be an ‘industry-leading’ $145 per kWh…

    “So yes, industry leading and a fantastic/ great price (which we are delighted to finally see in print), but also available to purchase industry wide.”

    Hooray! I can finally quit making qualified statements about LG Chem’s new battery cells being “presumably” cheaper per kWh than the previous industry standard. I couldn’t imagine that they were not being offered at a significantly lower price, but I couldn’t state it as fact until now.

    The bad news, however, is that this means (other than Tesla) everybody and his brother are dependent on just one vendor — LG Chem — for their EV battery supply. Will LG be able to expand its production to keep up with demand, or will its customers wind up competing for a limited supply?

    GM has already delayed the debut of the Volt 2.0. Now, maybe that has nothing to do with limited battery supply. But until GM is more forthcoming about just what the holdup is, it looks like it might be exactly that.

  23. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    “On margins, specific to the 2016 Chevrolet Volt, $3,500 more has been added.”

    This is very positive news. Is it too much to hope that GM will start putting Voltec into other vehicles, assuming they can now actually make a profit selling the cars?

    There have been a lot of complaints about how even the Volt 2.0 doesn’t have five seats, but only about 4.5. I certainly hope that GM continues to sell a compact PHEV, but there’s no question that they would attract more customers if they also offered larger vehicles.

  24. Baseless marketing blabla. If the price would be true, GM would release 10 pure EV models next year.

    1. ModernMarvelFan says:

      Why would it be?

      A 200 miles BEV would need 50kWh to 60kWh. That is still $8k to $10K in battery cost alone (pack level).

      That is still up to 1/3 of the typical vehicle “cost”.

  25. Bill Howland says:

    If the 2016 BOLT and VOLT are any good, and from all appearences it seems they are, GM will clean up. Of course, they seem to be greatly improving the saleability of their ICE-only offerings also.

    I tire of people saying GM is lagging, or dragging their feet.

    Name 5 other automakers that are going to be selling a low-cost 200 plus mile EV, and/or a low-cost 53 mile PHEV in model year 2016.

    1. ziv says:

      Bill, I was standing outside a house with 3 friends when a black sedan came driving down the street. It got all of our eyes on it, it just looked sharp as hell. Then it got close to us and we realized it was a Chevy Impala. I was dumbstruck. I think the comment that one of my friends made that best summed it up was, “That is a Chevy?” With full on disbelief.
      Chevy is finally starting to build interesting ICE cars again.

      1. Bill Howland says:

        Yeah, as I said, Ev’s have to constantly improve since their ICE ‘brothers’ are also constantly improving.

        As far as the impala goes, I’m more interested in the interior than the exterior looks, which look to me like a big Hyundai (too many needless creases).

        I was for a time very interested in their Impala CNG, but they are having problems with that vehicle (unknown to me), and there is also the problem of the NONEXISTENT low cost, reliable, hydraulic home refuelers ($500) that we were supposed to have by now by multiple manufacturers. Sometimes technology advances take time.

        CNG and LNG have already proven themselves as practical low-pollution technologies.

        SO I really don’t understand the great love of mobile fuel cell technology. Seems like they are throwing good money after bad for measly benefits.

        Here I agree with Musk: EV’s are well beyond Hydrogen cars, and likely will keep up their technology ‘race’ advantages.

        So unless your country is seriously electricity starved, such as Japan, I don’t see anything compelling regarding FCVs.

        As far as the big problem of Condo or Apartment dwellers being able to recharge, I’d think here gov’t incentives subsidizing the installation of low cost small, simple Level 2 chargers would do wonders..

        Now people, including Clarkson and my friend Brian, say that installation of Level 2 charger docking stations at work cost $50,000.

        Those were those pricey 30 amp, 200 volt GE DuraStations.

        Clipper creek level 2 , fifteen ampere models are $379. A cheap 400 amp single phase service can run Twenty charging positions. These things can efficiently charge everything including Teslas. It doesn’t seem to me very hard to put these things in a security box with an electronic lock on it, along with low-cost power monitoring (date and time) of the usage on each serving 20 amp branch circuit. Correlation of the usage with the particular ‘password’ entered on the security box would reconcile who used the charging dock at what time, or, it could directly turn on the branch circuit via motor operated (low cost) circuit breakers in the panelboard.

        Now in ‘Public Areas’ the absolute cheapest way to implement this would just be to allow anyone who wanted to charge to do so. Businesses would obviously have the advantage of having people stop by to shop in their facility while their car is charging. So low mileage drivers may not be able to charge at home, but maybe they can charge a few times a week at the marketplace.

        Different areas will work out their own solutions. In downtown areas, municipalities put up with the expense and maintenance of parking meters. I don’t see why a similiar arrangement couldn’t be made with low cost, 15 amp level 2 charging devices. Overnight, most people would get a full charge. Or at least enough to do their daily driving for most of them.

        1. Bill Howland says:

          To show the ‘scalability’ of the above scheme, an even lower cost (per car) system would be a 400 amp 277Y/480 volt 3-phase service running 80 – 15 amp 230 volt docking stations.

          80 docking stations should satisfy the need for even the largest apartment buildings or condos for a while.

          If you don’t like that arrangement you could use 4 of the 400 amp 120/240 volt arrangements mentioned earlier.

          The point is LOW COST solutions are possible if it is kept in mind by the designers to charge the maximum number of cars at a time possible, so that the maximum number of people can feel confident about owning an EV or PHEV, while living in an apartment or condo.

          1. Bill Howland says:

            Not to belabor the point, but all kinds of EASY solutions exist if the group of EV’s or PHEV’s to be charged will efficiently charge at 120 volts.

            Then more than double the amount of docking stations (more than 40 and more than 160 respectively) may be economically provided by the landlord. The thing is to either educate him, or incentivize him to do it.

            As more and more people request EV-friendly apartment buildings and condos, they’ll happen. Lower cost Volts and Bolts will help.

  26. Someone out there says:

    Wow, $145/kWh cell cost! This is huge! Or not huge depending on how you look at it 🙂

    The Bolt will be a serious competitor to the LEAF with these prices. Nissan better do something quick, that 2nd gen LEAF can’t come quick enough!

    The future looks bright though, I’m loving it! I have long been very positive of how quickly EVs will develop but it seems I’ve even underestimated it. By 2020 we should have really awesome EVs available, it will surely be the end of the ICE age.

  27. carcus says:

    $145/kwh — awesome!

    Now, all we need is someone who is actually motivated to sell the car to build one.

    Random Korean tool manufacturer, Google, Apple, ….?Anyone?????

  28. jzj says:

    Given the $145/KWH battery cost, and the size of the Bolt battery pack, and the $7500 tax credit, the tax credit should effectively fully cover the cost of the battery pack for the Bolt (for the consumer, obviously not for GM). You’d think that, given the relative simplicity of building an EV, that means that the Bolt should be a great profit maker for GM. Once we get the fast charge thing worked out for highway travel for non-Teslas, we really could see broad adoption of EVs.

  29. carcus says:

    $7500/$145 = 52 kwh. That should be good for an epa range of about 185 miles.

    I think this is why we’re seeing a fair amount of interest in non-car companies wanting to jump in the BEV manufacturing business. They can build you a 185 mile BEV for something well $30,000 (no tax credits included) and still make a nice profit…even if GM can’t seem to make it happen.

    1. carcus says:

      well under $30,000

  30. Ian Porter says:

    One has to question the motivations of GM for releasing the pack costings. It was surely deliberately made public and well planned in advance: but for what reason(s)?
    I don’t know the answer to this, but it surely begs the question.

    1. carcus says:

      Good Question.

      Let’s say you are GM. LG Chem is going to expand its battery operation (building new factories) AND it wants to attract new customers with its low, low price. You have received word that in the near future LG Chem will be announcing (going public) the specific price per kWh.

      What do “you” do?

      A. Keep quiet and hope there’s no backlash/ awkward Q&A moments.

      B. Pre-emptive strike. Announce the price and try to put a positive spin on it.