Cost development for lead-acid batteries back to the 19th century

Lead-acid batteries were the first widely commercialised rechargeable batteries. As early as in the 1880s English, French, German and American companies started selling these batteries for stationary, transport and portable applications.

In this project we obtain historic price lists for lead-acid batteries from 1880 to today by searching economic archives and libraries in Germany and the UK. Combined with annual lead consumption data dating back to the early 20th century, we are able to construct an experience curve for lead-acid batteries stretching more than 100 years of development.

The results are likely to prove as useful insights for the cost reduction path currently emerging and maturing electrochemical storage technologies might follow.

Figure – Price list for stationary-lead acid batteries in glass containers from January 1890 [German].

Project in progress.

Oliver Schmidt

Centre for Environmental Policy (CEP)

​South Kensington Campus

Imperial College London

London SW7 2AZ, UK

tel: +44 79 345 487 36