Longtime Tesla bull ARK invest recently identified battery cost declines as a form of “good deflation” that could lead to a boost in EV sales.
To support its observations, ARK Invest used the 2022 Nissan Leaf EV’s price as an example. A few years ago, Nissan announced that the 2016 Leaf SV and SL variants would come standard with its 30kWh battery pack for an EPA-rated 107 miles of range. Nissan’s suggested manufacturer’s prices for the SV and SL were $34,200 and $36,790, respectively. ARK calculated that the 2016 Nissan Leaf would cost ~$39,000 in today’s dollars.
Today, the 2022 Leaf with a 40 kWh battery pack costs $27,400, that’s $11,600 less than the 2016 version with an additional range of 42 miles. The Nissan Leaf’s pricing reveals that it costs less to produce an EV with more milage today than five years ago.
Battery cost declines could decrease EV production costs and improve range, which may boost electric vehicle sales in the long run. An increase in electric vehicle sales could lead to growth in the EV market.
In contrast to “good deflation,” ARK also identified an example of “bad deflation” in the auto industry, specifically in the used car market. The investment management firm noted a decline in used car prices over the past few months, indicated by the Manheim Used Vehicle Index.
“While [ARK Invest] believe[s] the decline in battery costs is likely to translate into lower prices, boosting EV sales, the drop in used car prices could be signaling weakening demand for traditional gas-powered cars,” wrote Sam Korus in ARK’s newsletter.
In its July 2021 publication, The Manheim Market Report (MMR) stated there were declines in prices every week last month. The used car market saw price declines accelerating through mid-July that slowed over the last two weeks. The MMR did not differentiate between used gas-powered vehicles or second-hand cars.
However, the used car market for EVs seems to be growing. Some countries, including the United States and Canada, are already considering tax credits and rebates for second-hand EVs.
As a frontrunner in the latest EV revolution, Tesla seems to be leading the charge in the used car market for electric vehicles as well. After making headways in the new passenger car market, the Tesla Model 3 had become a dominating force in the used car market in countries like the United States and the United Kingdom.
Given everything discussed above, it seems both forms of deflation ARK Invest discussed suggest that EV sales will increase, both in the new and used car market. More governments worldwide are readily committing to decreasing carbon emissions and transitioning to clean energy sources which would greatly affect the future of the auto market as well.