Our Electric Future

Keith Barry:

Envia Systems, a startup that’s licensed some technology from the Argonne National Laboratory and conducted research with funding from GM’s venture capital arm and the Department of Energy, says that their new proprietary anode, cathode and electrolyte could slash the cost of an EV battery by half.

Once the technology is commercialized, Envia estimates it could bring down the price of an EV with a 300 mile range to as low as $20,000. That could bring the cost of the next generation Chevy Volt low enough for most families to afford — and without any additional tax credits, either.

“We estimate this improvement in cell energy density and less expensive material will drive a substantial reduction in cell cost, leading to lower cost battery packs like the one in the Chevy Volt,” Micky Bly, GM’s executive director for Electrical and Battery Systems said back in January of 2011, when GM Ventures first invested $7 million in Envia.

The biggest obstacle to increasing solar’s share of the energy market is storage. PV prices continue to plummet as panels get more and more powerful. The problem is finding a way to store all the energy. Storage technology has not been keeping up with the impressive productivity gains on the PV side. I hope that improvements in battery storage will be the answer to this problem. What we eventually want to end up with is an economy where most of the things you own – your home, car, appliances and gadgets – are all powered by electricity produced by your home, and you make money selling excess power back to the grid.


  1. Panel prices have dropped in much larger part due to Chinese production.

    China produces almost 50% of the world’s supply of polysilicon. They just announced a 30% cutback in silicon production in order to boost the price.

    We’re dependent on the Chinese for this too.

    • Jon Geeting says:

      Who cares? I want PV to become a commodity as quickly as possible. Doesn’t matter if they’re made in the US. The non-tradeable market for installing solar panels is going to be huge.

  2. Another short-sighted position. It should matter a lot if you really cared about the US economy instead of talking points.

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