The recent surge in oil and gas prices has sent shockwaves through global energy markets which should only spur on and accelerate the renewable’s evolution.
All the chatter among the climate alarmist crowd is to change over to electric vehicles, because, you know, we have to do something to save the planet. BUT are electric vehicles and batteries really a cleaner source of energy.
When you sit down and perform some real world calculations, the numbers tell a different story.
To manufacture each electric vehicle auto battery, you must process 11.3 tonnes of brine for the lithium, 13.6 tonnes of ore for the cobalt, 2.27 tonnes of ore for the nickel, and 11.3 tonnes of ore for copper.
You have to dig up 226.8 tonnes of the earth’s crust for one battery.
A typical electric vehicle battery weighs about 450kg. It contains 11.3kgs of lithium, 27kgs of nickel, 20kgs of manganese, 13.6kgs cobalt, 90kgs of copper, and 180kgs of aluminium, steel, and plastic. Inside are over 6,000 individual lithium-ion cells.
Einstein’s formula, E=MC2, tells us it takes the same amount of energy to move a 2250kg petrol driven car a kilometre as it does an electric car. So the real question here is what is producing the energy to move the car.
People are misled into thinking that the batteries produce energy, the reality is that the batteries store the energy that is produced somewhere else. So, to reiterate the energy does not come from the battery; the battery is only the storage device, much like the petrol tank in current cars. At the moment, the primary means of energy production on a global scale (Australia included) is by coal, uranium, natural gas or diesel-fuelled generators. Since a major portion of global energy produced is from fossil fuels, this means that electric vehicles on the road are indirectly powered by fossil fuels.
The next question becomes what happens to the batteries after they have reached end of life?
All batteries are self-discharging. That means even when not in use, they leak tiny amounts of energy. You have likely ruined a torch or two from an old, ruptured battery. When a battery runs down and can no longer power a toy or light, it continues to leak small amounts of electricity. As the chemicals inside it run out, pressure builds inside the battery’s metal casing, and eventually, it cracks. The metals left inside then ooze out. The ooze in your ruined flashlight is toxic, and so is the ooze that will inevitably leak from every battery in a landfill. All batteries eventually rupture; it just takes rechargeable batteries longer to end up in the landfill.
So are electric vehicles and the batteries that power them emissions free. The Answer is a resounding NO!! Oh, and I didn’t touch on the human cost of making the batteries where children die from mining the cobalt.