The Electric Car Road Trip To Nowheresville
Countries are keen to out-virtue-signal each other with electric cars and their contribution to reducing Climate Change; what is plainly missing in the game is any concept as to how these goals can realistically be achieved.
Following the Parliament’s recent confirmation of the 43 percent CO2 reduction target by 2030 and zero by 2050, the pressure is on. [bold, links added]
California, Woke capital of the world, leads the pack as the home of over one-third of America’s electric cars.
It has targeted new car sales of 35 percent electric by 2026, 68 percent by 2030 (compared with a predicted American figure of 10 percent at that time), and 100 percent by 2035.
There are consequences. There are already electricity shortages in the pro-renewables state and users have been asked not to charge their cars between 3 and 9 pm when there is a 30 percent increase in home use of electricity and the sun is low (or set).
California is fortunate that it has energy backup provided by a nuclear power station (which was due to be closed), and out-of-state fossil fuel generation.
The Democrats, under sleepy Joe, want to introduce country-wide targets of 50 percent EV sales by 2030, the UK has an even less achievable target of 80 percent by 2030.
In Australia, similar problems may be afoot. A spoof flyer sent out to Greens-run Brighton Council in Melbourne asked homeowners to restrict their electricity use so that car owners can charge their vehicles.
The joke may become reality as other Greens councils in Sydney look at future bans on petrol/diesel vehicles entering their areas, placing upward pressure on a failing grid. Last year there were 26,000 EVs purchased, 3 percent of the total.
Future predictions are that new electric vehicle (EV) global sales, currently at around 10 percent, will reach 23 percent in China and 40 percent in Europe by 2025.
The French government is putting pressure on conventional vehicle sales by introducing bans on non-EV entering cities. Legislation has been passed and will become active in January 2023. Green City Councils in this country are likely to follow this virtue signaling.
Australian government predictions are that by 2030, 89 percent of new sales will be EVs; the availability of electricity to charge them is another matter.
The first problem to be addressed is the increased price of the vehicle; costing between $5,000 and $20,000 more than a petrol-driven car, unsurprisingly, more subsidies may be necessary.
Despite cheaper vehicle servicing, it is estimated it will take 10 years to recoup this extra cost. These vehicles will not be charged road excise duty on fuel sales, this will result in significant income loss (currently over $19 billion) to the road network maintenance, which others may have to subsidize; the Federal government is looking at taxing vehicles on the distance driven.
A similar scheme has already been considered in Victoria, at 2.6 cents per kilometer, NSW will activate a scheme in 2027, at 2.5 cents per kilometer.
There is a multitude of other problems to be overcome to achieve this transporting Nirvana. These programs require an enormous number of batteries, where will they come from?
The auto manufacturers are making this switch, as well as for car production, but this takes time and there are significant supply chain issues, with most batteries coming from China.
A recent estimate was that 83 percent of electric vehicles, under the names of Tesla, MG, Volvo, and BM, come from China. There are plans to build US battery manufacturing capacity, in addition to Tesla, involving VW, Toyota, and Ford.
Forecasts suggest that the price of graphite, nickel, and lithium will increase between 8 and 11-fold in the next decade; batteries also require copper, cobalt, manganese, and rare earth, and predictions are that demand will exceed supply.
The price of battery raw materials has already increased by 144 percent in the last two years. Lithium reserves are estimated at 8 million tons in Chile, 2.5 million tons in Australia, 2 million tons in Argentina, and 1 million tons in China; two-thirds of the world’s cobalt resources are in the Congo, where child labor is involved.
The pollution produced by mining and processing lithium and rare earth needs to be added to the environmental equation. Currently, batteries are not recyclable and will add to pollution, but there are plans to recycle as many as 30 percent; even if this goal is achievable, there will still be pollution caused by leaking of the toxic substances they contain, as well as the environmental pollution resulting from increased mining activity.
Read full post at Spectator AU