The Health of Electric Vehicle Batteries

Scott Case, Co-Founder & CEO of Recurrent joined Grayson Brulte on The Road To Autonomy Podcast to discuss using data to understand the true health of electric vehicle batteries.

The conversation begins with Grayson asking Scott about the BloombergNEF 2040 electric vehicle forecast.

I think every forecast made by everyone is wrong and too low.

– Scott Case

With over 9,000 vehicles currently on the Recurrent platform and the market for electric vehicle sales projected to grow globally 17.25% annually into 2040, Recurrent is preparing for the rapid growth of their platform.

The Recurrent platform is gathering insights on how electric vehicle batteries perform in different climates, whether it’s a cold or hot weather region.

Exposure to extreme heat over time will break down the battery, it will wear it out more quickly.

– Scott Case

On the other hand, exposure to extreme cold will not wear about the battery more quickly. With the wear on the battery, electric vehicles sold and driven in these environments could have a positive or negative impact on the resell value of the vehicle depending on the conditions.

Grayson asks Scott from an economic standpoint if the health of the battery will be the determining factor when it comes to the price of an electric vehicle.

It’s not yet, but it is going to be.

– Scott Case

This raises the question of what happens when electric vehicles come out of rental car fleets and are sold as used vehicles. How will they be properly priced? Will the pricing be based on the odometer reading or the health of the battery? Grayson and Scott discuss the possible ways the vehicles could be priced and whether a battery swap will be needed prior to selling the used electric vehicle.

With the majority of Recurrent’s data coming from individual EV owners and the United States currently dealing with record high gas prices of $4.58 a gallon, Grayson asks Scott if he is seeing consumers switching from gas cars to electric cars due the high gas prices.

High gas prices haven’t factored into that at all. Not yet, they are going to.

– Scott Case

Making reference to data to validate his point, Scott points to data from the Argonne National Laboratory.

Monthly New Electric Vehicle Sales and Average Gasoline Price - Argonne National Laboratory
Monthly New Electric Vehicle Sales and Average Gasoline Price (Source: Argonne National Laboratory)

With J.P. Morgan projecting the national average price to hit $6 per gallon by the end of the summer, the transition to electric vehicles could accelerate. However, there could be an issue⁠ charging those newly bought electric vehicles as the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, the regulatory body that oversees grid stability is publicly stating that power supplies in the much of the United States and Canada will be stretched. If the grid issues persist, the adoption of EVs could be slowed.

Wrapping up the conversation, Scott discusses how he sees the used EV market growing and evolving over the next decade.

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Recorded on Friday, May 20, 2022.