On wednesday I attended a conference named 'Car 2.0' organized by business students at UC Berkeley & Stanford Univ. It was an excellent conference and I'm still digesting everything that was said.
One of these was an observation that cell prices have fallen dramatically but does that mean the prices for finished batteries are falling?
There's a distinction some might not grok... In lead-acid batteries we're accustomed to buying a whole battery that comes in 12volt size, but with little awareness that the battery is made of 6 cells. That's because the lead-acid battery packages the cells into a neat box to make assembling a battery system easier. With lithium though we're getting individual cells. You could just get some cells, put them in a box, wire up connectors between them, and declare it a battery. But you're likely to lose a lot of expensive lithium cells to too-deep a discharge or overcharging. Hence a complete lithium based battery is packaging, BMS, perhaps cooling fans, perhaps a charger...
In the conference that was the question raised - whether battery prices are truly falling. The people on stage were from Coda, Aptera, and a guy who'd helped launch Tesla but had been pushed out.
To answer the question they discussed that difference between a collection of cells and a proper battery. And they pointed out that the car manufacturers are being very opaque about the costs of the components used to build the cars. Hence it's hard to tell whether GM's or Nissan's or Honda's (etc) price for battery systems is falling, or climbing, or what.
We can look at websites of the vendors catering to us hobbyists - and see that the prices we pay for cells is falling. But maybe that has more to do with Thundersky's business than anything about whether the overall lithium battery market is seeing a price decline. But it seems likely that if/since cell prices are falling, if the other costs remain constant that prices for battery systems would also be falling. But at that there's a dependency on how large the cell price is to the price of a battery system. For example if other costs like labor dominate the cost of the battery system, then cheaper cells won't make much difference to the final battery price.