Long term impact of vehicle electrification on vehicle weight and cost breakdown

Paper #:
  • 2017-01-1174

  • 2017-03-28
Today’s value proposition of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) and battery electric vehicles (BEV) remain expensive. While the cost of lithium batteries has significantly decreased over the past few years, further improvement is necessary for PHEV and BEV to penetrate the mass market. However, the technology and cost improvements of the primary components used in electrified vehicles such as batteries, electric machines and power electronics have far exceeded the improvements in the main components used in conventional vehicles and this trend is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. Today’s weight and cost structures of electrified vehicles differ substantially from that of conventional vehicles but that difference will shrink over time. Over the next decades, the weight of midsize passenger cars will decrease significantly leading to a decrease in energy consumption and power requirements with the biggest reduction expected for highly electrified vehicles. The glider weight reduction over time will be made possible by an increase in glider cost causing the glider cost portion to increase. By 2050, the glider cost will represent more than 50% of the vehicle cost for all vehicles while in 2010 the cost of highly electrified vehicles is dominated by the powertrain cost. The higher the level of electrification, the higher the vehicle cost reduction over time. Conventional vehicle cost will slightly increase while BEV cost will significantly decrease. By 2050, the cost of a BEV will be close to that of a conventional. This paper highlights how the weight and cost structures, both in absolute terms and in terms of split between glider and powertrain, converge over time.
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