To some, a recent offer by Tesla Motors to replace batteries in its Model S all-electric sedan for under $150 per kilowatt hour reflects an extremely futuristic view of improving EV technology. To Plug In Cars, though, the offer is more a reflection of the age-old "bird in hand" axiom.
Recently, Tesla outlined the replacement costs for the Model S batteries along with warranty options. Prices range from $8,000 for a 40-kWh battery to $12,000 for an 85-kWh battery. Division The latter cost implies a rate of about $141 per kWh, which is far lower than any automaker or analyst is predicting anytime soon.
General estimates for battery-production costs lie vaguely in the $550-per-kilowatt-hour range, with some far above and below that. Tesla declined requests from AutoblogGreen to elaborate on the cost-per-kWh for the Model S batteries, but the offer to sell batteries at less than a third of that rate – even if delivery is eight years away, as it has to be, PIC notes – is merely an effort to sell more cars today than to provide any sort of clarity on where battery costs will be by the end of the decade. Prospective buyers should look at the offer as more of a marketing expense used to generate immediate revenue than a technology forecast.
It's not like the Model S needs all that much more exposure right now, after winning the Motor Trend Car of the Year Award and other COTY honors.