Agenda, Attendee List, & Presentation files now available to Autotech Council members in the library.

This month Autotech Council members open their discussion on Batteries and Energy to the public. Join OEMs, suppliers, startups and VCs to discover technologies working to improve the longevity, cost, size, safety, and chargeability of energy storage.

  • Date: 2/11/2021 09:00 AM
  • Location Autotech Council's Virtual Meeting Room (Map)



Silicon Valley, California, Feb 11 2021/Meeting Recap/ Today the Autotech Council held a productive meeting around Battery and Energy innovations. We discussed the current (and "current") state of the industry, recent news, the sudden rise in interest, and the future of mobility energy storage. Our discussions looked at two separate time frames, the 3 year outlook for actionable business, and the 15 year outlook for positioning towards long-term opportunities.

Building a better battery is a difficult task, full of trade-offs. A battery may have higher energy density, but be explosive, another may be cheaper to produce, but have a short life. It’s very difficult to create a better battery that falls in that “Goldilocks zone” of meeting all the needs of EVs. But our contributors talked about the realm of what was possible, and many improvements are expected.

Ken Hoffman, Co-Head of Battery Materials Research Group at McKinsey, started us off with a quick but comprehensive look at the materials, minerals, and mining aspects of batteries. One key take-away is that we should expect steadily dropping prices per kWh, which will soon pass equity with ICE costs, and turn the market on its head. Ken added that ultimately, consumers were deciding what wins, and they have demonstrated that they want:

  • 200+ mile range
  • fast "refuel" time
  • no surcharge

Our expert panel, featuring expertise from Bosch and dSpace, explained some of the ways batteries will evolve to deliver. Higher voltages will help enable faster charging, better chemistries will diversify demand, but also better Battery Management Systems will extend the useful life of batteries, and help extract maximum performance from every car's battery pack, based on its unique characteristics, even as it ages over the car's useful life.

Other take-aways from today's meeting:

  • Grid Tied? Perhaps, but there are a number of hurdles and impractical considerations working against using cars to support the grid
  • Swappable battery packs? Not likely for private cars in a frequent "hot swap" model, but possible as a service issue for cars with old packs.
  • Second Life? Yes, car battery packs could see a second life as stationary power banks.
  • Recycling? There is not yet a suitable supply quantity to establish a proven economic model for EV battery recycling, though it is likely.
  • Nickel, not Lithium, is the key limiting mineral for scaling up production of today's battery technology
  • Tesla appears to be the leader in getting to low battery cost per kWh, targeting $72 by 2025

We all saw the Superbowl ad from GM. Lines are being drawn in the sand. When we approach a tipping point, such as cost-parity with ICE cars, the next small improvement can suddenly alter the landscape. That may be where we are today, as most OEMs get serious about putting competitive EVs on their product roadmap. And in a world where the best battery can make a huge difference in product performance, and cost, developing competitive strength in batteries right may become a core competency.

With thanks to our speakers, rapid fire presenters and all who contributed to the discussion during the meeting.  Meeting details, agenda and attendee list and member access to the presentations available at the links below.