Back in 2008 when I was talking about how cars like the Prius were not nearly as environmentally friendly as the greens and Democrats let on because the manufacturing process for the battery system was so hostile to the environment. That process erased any benefits you might achieve during use.
That assessment was spot on. And it is, in fact worse than I initially imagined. Apparently the batteries do not last all that long. They need to be replaced after a few years. They are very expensive, almost prohibitively expensive. Not including this new battery problem made hybrids look better than they actually were. And it turns out there are a number of issues I had not considered, issues that have come up as the battery only electric vehicle tries to find a place in the garages of drivers around the world.
The study was commissioned by the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership, which is jointly funded by the British government and the car industry. It found that a mid-size electric car would produce 23.1 tonnes of CO2 over its lifetime, compared with 24 tonnes for a similar petrol car. Emissions from manufacturing electric cars are at least 50 per cent higher because batteries are made from materials such as lithium, copper and refined silicon, which require much energy to be processed.
Many electric cars are expected to need a replacement battery after a few years. Once the emissions from producing the second battery are added in, the total CO2 from producing an electric car rises to 12.6 tonnes, compared with 5.6 tonnes for a petrol car. Disposal also produces double the emissions because of the energy consumed in recovering and recycling metals in the battery. The study also took into account carbon emitted to generate the grid electricity consumed.
It gets worse. While the US has abundant supplies of oil and gas, things the environmentalist left wont let us drill for or refine (but stuff we could get at or drill for domestically), the stuff you need to make reliable batteries for electric and hybrid cars is scarce on US soil. Places like Bolivia, Chile and…China control the worlds supply of minerals needed to make them.
So while energy independence was never something we were going to realistically achieve, at least with oil and gas we could limit ourselves to sources primarily in our own hemisphere (which we do). But batteries will require overwhelming reliance on other places that don’t love us much either.
Lithium ion seems to be the direction most car manufacturers are heading, which poses fewer disposal risks to the environment — but still poses risks in mining and manufacturing, especially to groundwater.
Lithium also poses another blow to the argument for the electric car — its domestic availability. Eighty-five percent of the known reserves are in Bolivia, Chile, and China, and lithium is not the only element needed for large-scale production of car battery systems. Large flake graphite is also needed, and China controls 80 percent of the market, along with other “rare earth” elements. Far from ending our dependence on foreign resources, we will merely exchange our dependence from the Middle East to China, which is not exactly an encouraging thought for our future.
Even if we did have these elements in abundance, we would need to mine and drill for them. Those are precisely the activities that environmentalists and short-sighted government policies have been blocking for decades in coal, oil, shale, and natural gas. Besides, “peak lithium” may arrive long before “peak oil,” as the Argonne National Laboratory estimates that we only have enough lithium available to manufacture car batteries through 2050 — less than 40 years from now. A lithium “crunch” could occur by 2017 — which also hardly lends confidence to the reliability of the electric car as a long-term solution.
Not exactly the Green boom or boon we’ve been sold. And we’ll get to enrich other enemies, instead of creating jobs and growth with the wealth of resources we have at home–just because a sliver of angry activists and the Democrat party they pander too don’t happen to like those resources.
But batteries were always worse for the environment, for manufacturing and disposal. The greens just refused to admit it in their quest to destroy oil and gas. And they are bad in ways that are not just about their CO2 crack pipe and the fiscal fleecing that is the scam of global warming. Battery disposal on that scale could pose a Yucca mountain like problem and NIMBY like reactions to any containment facilities for the millions of dead batteries, complicating environmental issues further. Actual environmental issues, not the fake ones the left manufactures for politcal power.
It’s all representative of the Alinsky model for change. Whatever the institution is destroy it. Don’t worry about the side effects. Don’t concern yourself with all the possible outcomes.
That is what environmental socialists and democrats who write 3000 page bills do. The goal is destroy what is there. What replaces it, that’s not any of their concern right now. They can always tweak the edges, or if they have to, destroy that as well. As long as they are the ones in power. As long as they have control.
So what’s next? With democrats in charge, more of the same.