The magic number that unlocks the electric-car revolution

Tesla's Battery Day event teases new energy storage capabilities and possible near-future cost parity between electric models and internal-combustion vehicles – an achievement that could trigger the beginning of the end for conventional cars.

Photo: Ronny Hartmann/AFP/Ritzau Scanpix

A decade ago, some of the smartest minds at the US Department of Energy (DOE) set an ambitious goal: lower the cost of battery packs to USD 100 per kilowatt-hour from more than USD 1000 per kWh. If achieved, electric cars would reach cost parity with internal-combustion engine cars — unleashing a revolution.

That moment is here. Later today, at Tesla’s Battery Day event, Elon Musk could announce that the California-based company now makes batteries that cost less than USD 100 per kWh. Even if he doesn’t, the goal is within reach. In March, General Motors, partnering with South Korean battery maker LG Chem, set a goal of reaching USD 100 per kWh soon. Volkswagen has hinted that its newest electric car, the ID.3, uses batteries that cost less than USD 100 per kWh.

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