Lithium ion batteries prices for electric vehicles fall 14%

Batteries cost $689 a kilowatt-hour in the first quarter of 2012, compared with $800 a year earlier, the London-based research company said today in a statement.

Prices for batteries have dropped 30 percent since 2009, making electric vehicles less expensive.

“Batteries are one of the biggest drivers of the cost of electric vehicles,” New Energy Finance Chief Executive Officer Michael Liebreich said in the statement. “A sharp decline in price may be unwelcome for battery manufacturers, but it is essential for the long-term health of the sector.”

Electric vehicles such as Mitsubishi Motors Corp. (7211)’s i-MiEV, Nissan Motor Co. (7201)’s Leaf and Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA)’s Model S require between 16 kilowatt-hours and 85 kilowatt-hours of storage, which accounts for about 25 percent of their cost, New Energy Finance said.

The industry has capacity to produce about 10 gigawatt- hours of battery packs more than it needs now, enough for 400,000 all-electric vehicles, and that surplus may reach 17 gigawatt-hours by the end of 2013. Battery prices may drop to about $150 a kilowatt-hour by 2030, New Energy Finance said. About 43,000 electric vehicles were sold in 2011.