The Devil Is in the Details
Between 15 and 18 million electric cars and trucks are now on roadways around the world in a quest to reduce carbon emissions. But consumers aren’t being told the whole green story. Reese Energy Consulting today is studying the inconvenient truths about battery-powered vehicles that, conveniently, aren’t advertised in the sales pitch to buy them. According to physicist Mark Mills of the Manhattan Institute, it would take 500 million electric vehicles to lower global oil consumption by just 10%. The electricity required to power and recharge batteries is generated by natural gas- or coal-fired electrical plants. Manufacturing the batteries themselves require heavy, carbon-intensive mining for earth minerals like cobalt, lithium, and nickel. To produce a single battery, it takes mining 500,000 pounds of minerals and rock. The mining industry generates up to 5.1 gigatons of GHG emissions every year. U.S. regulations make mining a serious challenge, so we largely import those minerals from China—the world’s largest polluter releasing as much as 1 billion tons of CO2 emissions annually. As a side note, the President last month announced $2.8 billion in grants to expand U.S. battery manufacturing along with domestic mineral production.