The high cost of lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries may be the largest impediment to more widespread adoption of electric vehicles (EVs). NREL is exploring ways to reduce EV ownership expenses and improve vehicle utility, including battery swapping, charge-point service contracts (including fast charging), and vehicle-to-grid revenue generation strategies.
Calculating the true cost of EVs is complicated by proposed business models, as well as by fluctuating battery degradation rates, driving patterns, charging strategies, government incentives, and other factors. NREL's Battery Ownership Model (BOM) takes the guesswork out of determining EV cost and comparing it to that of conventional vehicles.
The BOM model can be used on its own to evaluate lifetime battery costs and to conduct simple analysis of performance factors, or be paired with the Battery Lifetime Analysis and Simulation Tool for Vehicles (BLAST-V) for highly realistic long-term technical comparisons of different battery use strategies. When BLAST and BOM are used together, the detailed techno-economic simulations factor in the value of the entire vehicle and life cycle to accurately predict total EV purchase and operation expenses and identify cost-effective use strategies.
Exploring Economics of Operating Electric Vehicles
The BOM combines EV battery use simulation with detailed economic accounting functions to quantify total lifetime costs of EV operation. It considers the effect of battery cost, wear, and replacement; drive cycles; location-specific gas and electricity prices; component costs; and greenhouse gas emissions.
BOM analyses applied to studies of battery-powered electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) have shown that driving patterns can have a greater impact on EV economics than charging strategies or driving range, confirming how important it is to factor real-world, driver-specific travel patterns into economic analyses. BOM tools and methods have also been instrumental in technical analysis supporting identification of DOE and U.S. Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC) technical targets for BEVs.
Analyzing Third-Party Service Providers
The BOM is the only tool of its kind that can be used to evaluate third-party service providers, including public charging network operators or battery leasing companies. The BOM can account for costs such as infrastructure and battery wear and replacement, and translate these expenses into a service fee charged to drivers. These capabilities have been employed to evaluate the economics of third-party battery swapping strategies, as well as combined battery leasing and fast charger access.
Learn more about NREL's battery ownership modeling in these publications.
- Updating United States Advanced Battery Consortium and Department of Energy Battery Technology Targets for Battery Electric Vehicles
- Sensitivity of Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle Economics to Drive Patterns, Electric Range, Energy Management, and Charge Strategies
- A Techno-Economic Analysis of BEV Service Providers Offering Battery Swapping Services
- A Techno-Economic Analysis of BEVs with Fast Charging Infrastructure
For more information on NREL's battery ownership activities, contact Eric Wood, 303-275-3290.