Gigafactory illustration from Tesla Motors.

Gigafactory illustration from Tesla Motors.

Tesla’s Elon Musk wowed the world with batteries for home and business energy storage late last month, but let’s not forget the guy is in the electric car business. Lux Research hasn’t forgotten.

The Boston-based agency, pimping a new report on lithium-ion battery trends, said Panasonic and Tesla’s joint battery technology, brought to large-scale production at the under-construction Nevada Gigafactory, could drive the battery-pack price down 35 percent to $172 per kilowatt-hour by 2025 – thus opening the door to big EV sales gains.

“High battery prices have led to some huge missed opportunities in the electric vehicle market. Now if developers can drive down prices to $200/kWh or less at the pack level, they have a chance of selling millions of EVs by the mid- to late-2020s, and reap great revenues.” – Cosmin Laslau, Lux Research senior analyst and lead author of the report, “Crossing the Line: Li-ion Battery Cost Reduction and Its Effect on Vehicles and Stationary Storage

Musk – being Musk – naturally thinks more dramatic progress can be made on price. Last July he said, “I’d be disappointed if it took us 10 years to get to $100 a kilowatt-hour pack.”

In his April 30 battery announcement, Musk said Tesla would continue the open-source tech commitment the company made last year. Still, Lux sees the price gap between Panasonic-Tesla and its competitors mostly widening, pointing to factors such as “battery chemistry, form factor, production scale, location and other nuances.”

“While Panasonic-Tesla and China’s BYD will achieve $172/kWh and $211/kWh at the pack levels, respectively, the Nissan-AESC partnership risks falling behind at $261/kWh unless it changes technologies and production strategies,” Lux said.