The price of lithium-ion battery packs – including those used in electric vehicles, buses and energy storage projects – has risen for the first time since 2010, according to a new report from the research company BloombergNEF. 

Lithium-ion batteries produced for electric vehicles. (Photo by Fishman64 via Shutterstock)

Despite the higher adoption of lower cost chemistries like lithium iron phosphate, volume-weighted average prices for lithium-ion battery packs across all sectors have increased to $151 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) in 2022, a 7% rise from last year in real terms. 

Lithium-ion battery pack prices were cheapest in China, at $127/kWh, whereas packs in the US and Europe were 24% and 33% more expensive, respectively – reflecting these markets’ immaturity, higher production costs, the diverse range of applications and battery imports.  

Raw material and component price increases have been the biggest contributors to the higher cell prices observed in 2022,” said Evelina Stoikou, an energy storage associate at BNEF and lead author of the report, in a statement.

“Amidst these price increases for battery metals, large battery manufacturers and automakers have turned to more aggressive strategies to hedge against volatility, including direct investments in mining and refining projects,” she added.

Even though prices for critical minerals for battery manufacturing such as lithium, nickel and cobalt have declined slightly in recent months, BNEF expects average lithium-ion battery pack prices to remain high in 2023 at $152/kWh (in real 2022 dollars).

However, prices are forecast to start falling again in 2024, when lithium prices are expected to decline further as more extraction and refining capacity comes online. BNEF’s 2022 Battery Price Survey predicts the price will fall below $100/kWh by 2026.