Electric vehicles could be cost-competitive with internal combustion-powered cars within five years and batteries that store power from solar panels could become commonplace by 2030 if current investments in those technologies continue, British researchers estimate.
A new tool produced by Imperial College London uses data on the prices and installed capacity of battery storage to project how quickly their prices would reach levels that would compete with other energy sources. The findings, published today in the journal Nature Energy, suggest electric cars will match gasoline engines’ costs per mile sometime between 2022 and 2034 — and a solar-battery combination could be as cheap as today’s retail electric bills between 2027 and 2040.
The program allows researchers to plug in existing data to project when developing technologies to become cost-effective, co-author Iain Staffell, of Imperial’s Center for Environmental Policy, said in a statement on the study.
“This tool allows us to combat one of the biggest uncertainties in the future energy system,” Staffell said.
With the world trying to reduce its output of planet-warming carbon dioxide and other gases from fossil fuels, the ability to store energy from solar, wind, or hydroelectric power would allow for wider use of those carbon-free but intermittent sources. That prospect is driving extensive research into battery technology and increased interest in electric vehicles.
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