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Falling battery prices will accelerate EV sales: Goldman

Analysts also predict EVs will achieve cost parity with gas-powered cars by mid-decade.

Goldman Sachs is predicting good news for an electric vehicle market hit by lagging demand. In an extensive report titled “Batteries: The Next Drivers of Transformation,” Goldman analysts predicted that battery prices will fall by a massive 40% from 2022 to 2025.

The biggest area of cost improvement will be the cathode part of the battery, which is primarily composed of lithium oxide materials such as lithium iron phosphate (LFP) and lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NMC).

An employee works on the production line of electric vehicle (EV) battery manufacturer Octillion in Hefei, Anhui province, China March 30, 2021. Picture taken March 30, 2021. REUTERS/Aly Song
An employee works on the production line of electric vehicle battery manufacturer Octillion in Hefei, Anhui province, China, March 30, 2021. (Aly Song/REUTERS) (Aly Song / reuters)

To put this in real terms, Goldman’s analysis implies that baseline prices for batteries in 2022 were in the $165/kWh price range. For example, a standard EV crossover (like a Tesla Model Y RWD) typically has a 60 kWh battery, meaning the battery pack in 2022 cost around $9,900. By 2025 battery prices will fall 40%, to $99/kWh by Goldman’s estimates, meaning that same battery pack will only cost $5,940.

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Goldman further predicts battery prices will fall on average 11% through 2030, to $72/kWh. Savings like this will translate into EVs achieving cost parity with gas-powered cars without subsidies by mid-decade, likely prompting higher sales.

Goldman predicts falling battery costs due to downward pressure on lithium prices
Goldman predicts falling battery costs due to downward pressure on lithium prices (Goldman Sachs)

“Battery cost reduction could lead to more competitive EV pricing, more extensive consumer adoption, and further growth in EV battery TAM (total addressable market),” Goldman analysts wrote.

However, the global battery market is not the same depending on what part of the world an automaker is operating in, Goldman analysts wrote.

“We see the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) as a strong commitment from the US government to boost the self-sufficiency of batteries, which leads to regionalization of the global cell market – a US-Korea market which is more insulated from the China surplus and focused primarily on ternary batteries, and a China-Europe market which is well-supplied and focused increasingly on LFP batteries,” the analysts wrote.

Goldman says in three years EVs are expected to achieve cost parity with gas-powered cars, potentially boosting sales
Goldman says in three years EVs are expected to achieve cost parity with gas-powered cars, potentially boosting sales. (Goldman Sachs)

This means from an investment thesis, Goldman prefers investors buy shares in the US-Korea battery chain, with top picks being LG Chem (051910.KS), LG Energy Solution (373220.KS), Samsung SDI (006400.KS), Panasonic (6752.T), and Tesla (TSLA).

On the flip side, Chinese batteries producers like CALB (3931.HK) and Gotion (002074.SZ) could “experience increased margin pressure” due to difficulties in exporting the battery surplus, and are Sell-rated.

Pras Subramanian is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. You can follow him on Twitter and on Instagram.

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