C&B Notes

Batteries and Government Subsidies

A recent blog post on Seeking Alpha provides a well-documented argument of how the auto industry is coming to grips with the limitations of current battery technology.  This is not a coordinated messaging campaign by the auto industry, but simply a reality check for the need for lower expectations for electric cars until a transformative technology can emerge.  We have previously discussed batteries and the implications of their constraints.

Despite billions of dollars in private investments and public subsidies, lithium-ion battery technology has progressed at a snail’s pace for years and battery developers have recently started to emphasize the importance of baby steps.  For the first time in memory, anti-hype is becoming a dominant theme in stories about lithium-ion batteries.

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The electric car industry can’t survive without a thriving and profitable battery industry that can make products that meet or exceed expectations.  The battery industry is on record saying they can’t meet the ambitious goals they embraced in the recent past.  Things might change in my lifetime, but the change is not going to happen in the next decade.  Meanwhile the real auto industry is digging into its toolbox and rapidly implementing technologies that weren’t cost-effective in another economic era but are today.