Mitsubishi Electric CEO Thinks EVs Will Eventually Be Cheaper Than Gas

1 month ago by Mark Kane 21

Fresh from gaining the stability and technology of the Nissan-Renault Alliance, the President and CEO of Mitsubishi Electric, Masaki Sakuyama, was asked about electric vehicles, and noted that Mitsubishi Electric is preparing for the movement by building the inverters and motors of the future.

Mitsubishi e-EVOLUTION Concept

In the case of battery costs, Sakuyama sees the battery as the the biggest part of question to achieve price parity with internal combustion vehicles; but notes that battery prices are decreasing rapidly, and that day of equality between the two platforms is not far off.

On whether some day electric vehicles will become cheaper than conventional ones? The answer is – “some day“, but said in such a way that feels like ‘…yes, but not anytime soon’.

“”The cost of battery is now dropping very rapidly, so in the near future, the cost of the electric vehicle will be comparable to the conventional cars,” Masaki Sakuyama, president and CEO at Mitsubishi Electric, told CNBC.

Some day, he added, electric vehicle batteries may become cheaper to produce than combustion engines in traditional cars.”

We should note that Mitsubishi Electric is no longer directly related to the Mitsubishi Motors, as the auto manufacturing business is now technically under Nissan’s control, but still supplies Mitsu’s EV endeavors as a supplier.

source: CNBC

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21 responses to "Mitsubishi Electric CEO Thinks EVs Will Eventually Be Cheaper Than Gas"

  1. Ambulator says:

    It’s almost inconceivable for me to think that electric cars will always be more expensive. The question is not whether, but when?

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Just what I was gonna say.

  2. John says:

    This debate is pretty ridiculous at this point. Economy of scale has ALWAYS prevailed, in everything from cell phones to HD/4k flat panel TV’s to solar panels to now electric cars. The Big Oil/ICE crowd desperately wants this natural inevitability to not apply to EV’s and alternative energy, it would be laughable were it not actually so sad. They will be dragged kicking and screaming to a better model for everybody.

    1. PK says:

      To paraphrase:

      “You hear that Mr. ICE? That is the sound of inevitability, that is the sound of your death”

      1. John says:

        Nice Matrix reference!
        +1

  3. SJC says:

    Batteries may cost less when capacity increases. So called “economies of scale” in this case are not infinite nor forever.

    1. Mikael says:

      Nothing is infinit nor forever. But economies of scale is not the only benefit of capacity increases.

      More capacity equals more interest and more money available for research too.

      1. Vexar says:

        Although there’s more Cobalt than Lithium in the Earth’s crust (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abundance_of_elements_in_Earth%27s_crust), I think it is worth observing that a recycling program will ensure that we don’t run out of Lithium. I also expect that we will start harvesting asteroids at some point after I’m long-gone.

        1. Jay says:

          Recycling I think will be one of the major industries and big opportunities that will further drive us towards an EV future. All this chatter about “but what do we do with the batteries?” is just lazy talk from people with no vision, or (of course) fossil fuel shills.
          What ever we do with them will be better (and more profitable to someone) than what we do with ICE tailpipe emissions.

          1. SJC says:

            Recycling has to be profitable.
            Making more cells does not drive the cost down that much at this stage. The economies usually come from paying back capital costs of automation.

      2. SJC says:

        If a cell costs you $1 each to make a million and 99 cents each to make the second million, you could say there are “economies of scale” but not much.

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      “So called ‘economies of scale’ in this case are not infinite nor forever.”

      It doesn’t need to be infinite to make gasmobiles obsolete. It just needs to be sufficient to make EVs cheaper to make than comparable gasmobiles.

      The price of producing oil keeps going up; the per-kWh price of EV batteries keeps going down. Claiming that there will not be a crossover point within the next several (or perhaps few) years, is — as John said — “pretty ridiculous at this point”.

  4. Doggydogworld says:

    EV battery – $10k
    ICE gas tank – $50

    Economies of scale won’t ever fix that.

    EV motor is cheaper than ICE engine. But the UBS Bolt teardown compared Bolt drive train with a VW Golf Wolfsburg 1.8 TSI. The entire Golf drive train – engine, transmission, exhaust and aux systems cost $4500. The Bolt motor+gearbox was only $1100, but the inverter, charger and various converters took the total to $3700. That other stuff will get cheaper – they estimated a $2400 drive train by 2025. But that’s still only a $2100 savings vs. the Golf – nowhere near enough to offset the battery cost even with heroic assumptions about future battery pricing.

    EVs upfront cost can get close to ICE, but will not be less for a very long time.

    1. Ricardo says:

      There is a way. Ice could be taxed out of existence. Completely agree with you otherwise. In fact, 1.8 TSI is a great engine in Europe. Seriously doubt my car’s engine cost that much. maybe a V8 TDI can come close to a Bolt?

    2. Ziv says:

      I would agree that current pack prices make the pack the long pole in the tent. But as you note, future pack prices will be lower. As will inverters and chargers. In 3 or 4 years BEVs with 60 kWh packs will be much closer to equivalent ICE vehicles in pricing and powering a BEV will still be noticeably less expensivr than fueling an ICE vehicle. It won’t happen next year, but is slowly happening.
      Pack prices will cobtinue to make BEVs more expensive but electric motors and electric torque will be considered to be worth more than an old fashioned ICE vehicle. And in 6 or 7 years, ICE cars won’t even have a better initial sales price on their side.

    3. Ricardo says:

      Oh, and thanks for the numbers. It’s nice to know where we stand. I actually thought bolt would be more expensive than that. Great information

    4. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Doggydogworld said:

      “…nowhere near enough to offset the battery cost even with heroic assumptions about future battery pricing.”

      I guess my assumptions are far more heroic than yours! 😉

      When solid state batteries are commercialized, then the prices of EV batteries will start dropping as rapidly as they do for all new consumer-grade electronic devices.

  5. Rhaman68 says:

    Besides cycle costs of the vehicle, range, time to charge, battery replacement costs, the mandate by nations to reduce exhaust pollution due to health and welfare of citizens will accelerate EV adoption. Ford’s voluntary recall of the Explorer model due to CO contamination complaints stated that their analysis showed “acceptable CO levels” were detected! We may not be aware of the contamination levels on the roads, streets brought into our cars via the AC/ventilation system but it is there!

  6. Timmy says:

    So, he’s been listening to Tony Seba? Welcome to a few years ago!

  7. JeremyK says:

    Saw a “Mitsubishi Electric” logo on a beat-up Outlander a couple weeks ago. It appeared to be an autonomous or semi-autonomous test vehicle. I didn’t see any LIDAR on the roof, but it was outfitted extended bumpers that appeared to be loaded with various sensors/cameras.
    This was in Novi, MI on I-96 westbound.

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