Investment into energy storage technology is expected to require an investment of $1.2 trillion by 2040, a part of which will be made up by batteries for electric vehicles. Furthermore, battery technology is expected to progress rapidly to meet the needs of automakers and consumers, who won't stop searching for more efficient, powerful energy sources.
Large-scale lithium-ion batteries similar to those used in modern EVs are predicted by Bloomberg to decrease in cost by 52 percent by 2030. Reduced costs of batteries and swelling demand for EVs will mean heavy investment into large-scale manufacturing of batteries, which in turn will cascade down to supporting industries such as mining and transportation.
"Costs have come down faster than we expected," stated Bloomberg NEF analyst Yayoi Sekine. "Batteries are going to permeate our lives."
Investment into EV batteries this year alone totaled $1 billion as of mid-March, more than double invested by venture capital firms in 2017, and that sum has only increased since. One major player is Volkswagen, which in September poured another $100 million into startup QuantumScape, which is researching solid-state batteries with the hopes of readying them for commercial use by 2025.
Solid-state batteries are thought to be the future of energy storage due to their solid electrolyte, which resists catching fire better than the liquid electrolyte of a lithium-ion battery. Some also believe solid-state batteries can possess energy density superior to that of liquid-electrolyte batteries, which can, in turn, allow smaller batteries and less weight with better range.
One intermediate step between lithium-ion batteries and solid-state batteries could be lithium-sulfur batteries, which are believed to have as much as five times the energy density of lithium-ion units. They face the problem of more rapid degradation than lithium-ion batteries, however, so which technologies will reign in the future remains unclear.