Lithium Economics

Better Place and Li-ion Battery Technological Development

May 29, 2013

Better Place’s approach was flawed. It relied on failure of all battery/EV makers to bring soon enough and at reasonable prices the appropriate batteries to the market. Contrary to other analyst’s suppositions, Li-ion battery technological development occurred much sooner than expected bringing down battery prices and opening the way towards an ineluctable EV world.

About three years ago I received a call from a prominent investor in the US. He asked me for advice on Better Place. I told him that Better Place had an essential flaw in its approach: It underestimated Li-ion battery technological development.

I then went on to say that we would not have to wait too long to see much better batteries making the costly battery-swap stations envisioned by Better Place both meaningless and out of focus. I was found to be correct.

I insist that the battery-swap idea was probably the problem. Why? Well, because it relied heavily on failure of all battery/EV makers to bring soon enough and at a fairly reasonable price the appropriate batteries to the market.

True many battery makers failed in their attempt to do so. But some of them succeeded and thanks to them we can now foresee a brighter future for EVs altogether.

One success story is Tesla but not the only one. Nissan's Leaf and GM's Volt are also part of the list of winning cases in the new history of introduction of EVs into the market.

Somewhat surprisingly, Ford doesn't want to be a laggard in the race either. This will result in cheaper lithium technology in the very near future.

Behind are therefore left some analysts's presumptions that it will take decades to see substantial advances in Li-ion battery technological development.

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