Average battery prices will fall well below $150/kWh in 2019, driven by intense competition between manufacturers and falling cobalt and lithium prices, research service Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) says.

At the end of 2018, average battery pack prices had reached a record low at $176 per kWh, according to BNEF head of energy storage Logan Goldie-Scot.

The magical $100 per kWh price tag for a battery pack is thought to be the tipping point where EV and internal combustion engine (ICE) costs reach parity.

READ: High Voltage — all the news driving battery metals stocks

Benchmark Mineral Intelligence boss Simon Moores says 2019 could be the year lithium ion batteries go below $100/kWh.

(Tesla has claimed before that its batteries are close to that $100/Kwh mark)

“Lower lithium and cobalt prices will help this, but manufacturing scale and improvements will drive it,” he Tweeted.

Electric vehicle sales up by “only” 40 per cent

There are now just under 5 million passenger electric vehicles on the road globally (excluding buses and other commercial vehicles).

Colin McKerracher, BNEF’s head of advanced transport, reckons another 2.6 million EVs will be sold this year.

This is a growth rate of “only” 40 per cent, down from the 70 per cent growth rate in 2018.

“China will again lead, with some 1.5 million of those sales, representing around 57 per cent of the global market,” Mr McKerracher says.

Broader macroeconomic factors – like higher interest rates and slowing consumer spending — and the phasing out of EV subsides will impact global sales.

“China’s market is in transition, and the recent annual doubling of sales every year looks unlikely to hold in 2019,” Mr McKerracher says.

“We expect subsidies to be cut in February, but with a phase-out period that lasts until the end of the second quarter.

“In markets like the US and the UK, direct purchase subsidies are already starting to wind down.”

Energy storage set to break records

Mr Goldie-Scot also says annual global energy storage deployments in 2019 will exceed 10GWh for the first time in the history of the market.

“This includes both utility-scale and behind-the-meter assets and will be up from last year’s estimated 8GWh (or 4GW) of new installations,” he says.