The Truth About Electric Cars
They're not telling you everything
Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past 10 years, you would have noticed that the world is shifting towards eclectic cars and some governments are being very very aggressive about it. But the question that these governments aren’t asking is: Is it even possible for everyone to have an electric car?
The state of California in the US has a plan to phase out gasoline cars by 2035. They said it would cut smog by 25%. Almost every time I hear talk about electric cars, it’s always a one sided analysis. They’ll talk to you about how gasoline cars pollute but never the pollution that goes into mining and processing the materials that make electric cars and the slave-like environments some of those mines are.
There are two types of batteries used in electric vehicles, NMC (nickel manganese cobalt) and LFP (lithium ferrous phosphate). Let’s talk about some of these materials. There’s an NPR article that refers to mining in the Congo as modern day slavery. "You have to imagine walking around some of these mining areas and dialing back our clock centuries. People are working in subhuman, grinding, degrading conditions. They use pickaxes, shovels, stretches of rebar to hack and scrounge at the earth in trenches and pits and tunnels to gather cobalt and feed it up the formal supply chain”. If we’re going to talk about ethics I think these things require an honest discussion from EV manufacturers and Governments.
What electric car companies won’t tell you is that while their operations might be “clean” where they source their materials from is not. So they get to assemble the batteries in a nice way and put a bowtie on it for you the customer. Ask them where the materials are sourced from and their answers start to get shaky. China controls around 3/4 of the electric car supply chain plus Russia has some of that and trust me, they’re not worried about “green energy”. When nickel is being processed it pollutes the air with Sulphur dioxide that can lead to health problems and cause harm trees and plants. Coal energy is also used to power processing plants and pollutes the air.
The European Union is looking to make “all new cars and vans zero-emission from 2035”. But they still haven’t addressed these tough problems.
Electric cars consume a lot of power, When electric car companies estimate carbon footprints of EVs they do so by assuming the power grid used to charge them is fully green. I don’t think there’s any country in the world at that stage yet. If that’s not enough for you we can also get into some supply and demand here. Currently as we stand there are not enough materials for everyone to have an electric car. For that to happen to you need to ramp up the production of EVERYTHING used to make them. Boatloads of lithium, cobalt, copper, zinc, lithium and more. Imagine every problem I talked about in this article and 10x it. Now add the Ukraine war and the sanctions it brought to Russia, materials from Russia are now off limits to most countries. According to a Yale article: “Europe, a raw materials pauper, imports more than $7 billion of metals, rubber, and minerals a year from Russia, including nickel, palladium, lithium, platinum, cobalt, neon gas, aluminum, and copper. These are all vitally important for the batteries, electric cars, solar panels, smart grids, and wind turbines needed to tackle climate change”.
Electric cars are a fun luxury to have but that’s all it is, a fun luxury. We’re not ready for a fully EV world and we won’t be ready for a long time. Governments need to ease their expectations when it comes to this and focus on tackling the big problems like not having China own most of the supply chain, making their country’s power grid green and installing tons of charging infrastructure. Telling everyone to buy an electric car and telling manufacturers they can’t make gas cars is the easy part. Politicians want to bark at everyone for free political points but they’re not doing the hard work necessary on their part to make this thing possible in the first place.
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