Our plan is to reach a service life of at least ten years each by the time we are ready to go into production. As we go up the learning curve and refine our design and production processes, we intend to reach over a million miles and over 30 years (maybe over 40) of service life.
A long service life reduces the levelized (life-cycle) cost of electricity generated by PV and the levelized cost of storage for batteries. Our levelized costs may drop below a penny per kilowatt-hour each within a year after starting production.
The barrier to declaring batteries ‘long-life’ has not been whether they will last several years, or hold a charge for several months, but rather whether they will be cost-effective if they only only charge and discharge every several days, or even fewer times per year.
For example, if a battery is made with cobalt, lithium, etc., in a country deemed a competitor, costs $100 per kilowatt-hour and lasts 10 years, and cycles through a full charge and discharge 100 times per year, that is 1,000 cycles in its lifetime. $100 / 1,000 = $0.10 per cycle. If electricity costs $0.10 per kilowatt-hour and there are no interest, opportunity costs or fees, you will break even. If it costs more than $0.10/kWh you will lose money in the end.
If, on the other hand, a battery made in the United States with North American materials costs $60/kWh and the $45 Inflation Reduction Act subsidy cuts that to an effective $15/kWh, and it lasts 10 years and cycles 100 times per year, then 15 / 1000 = $0.015/kWh, and that is your levelized, or effective life cycle cost of electricity! That’s a whole lot less than $0.10/kWh, so you save big!
Do you want to charge your new SEI 100 kWh traction battery pack and take a 400 mile ride with your new battery-electric conversion of the old car you have loved and kept nice? If your solar is $0.01/kWh, and you have a matching 100 kWh stationary battery pack to capture solar during the day and hold it to charge at night, your costs are $0.01 + (2 x $0.015) = ($0.01 + $0.03) = $0.04 per kilowatt-hour. Divide $0.04 by 5 miles per kWh and you spend $0.008 per mile! Multiply $0.008 by 400 miles and your trip costs $3.20 for electricity, has no stops for charging, and you still have 100 miles range left to go!
To top it off, your up-front purchase price for the battery portion of your conversion was only $1,500 for the battery itself, plus the control system (which was cheap because your battery can’t ever catch fire!), plus installer labor and markup from your local mechanic or at your local conversion cooperative. That was repeated for your solar installer and electrician who set up the stationary batteries, solar system, and controls.
A conversion and complete solar and charging system may pay for itself with savings in 1 to 4 years, compared to operating a internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle, and replace it every few to several years. If you purchase a new battery-electric vehicle, it may take 3 to 6 years to pay for itself, assuming you drive 10,000 or more miles per year. [Your numbers may vary.]