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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Forecasting Electric Vehicle Costs with Experience Curves


The future costs of electric-drive vehicles, like those of any new technology, are uncertain. One method for forecasting cost reductions uses the concept of the ‘experience’ curve. Experience curves take into account sale economies, technological improvements in production processes, improvements in product design, and improved efficiency of workers and production management. Here we analyze the future manufacturing cost of a brushless permanent magnet electric vehicle drivetrain using experience curves and a Monte Carlo simulation technique. Our preliminary forecast is a drop in manufacturing cost from today’s $13,000 (with about 2,000 units of cumulative production) to a cost of about $1200 when full scale economies and ‘learning’ have been realized. In an ongoing study at the University of California, Davis, experience curves are being integrated with a detailed vehicle cost model to develop more sophisticated cost forecasts for complete electric vehicles.

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