Mon, Jul

The EV Scamdemic

Mining for lithium batteries


CLIMATE REALITY - Who is the greatest salesperson? Google lists among others Dale Carnegie the self-help guru, Mary Kay Ash cosmetics multi-level marketing queen, David Ogilvy advertising astonishing star, Joe Girard a legendary car salesman, infomercial king Ron Popeil, and tech “rock star” Larry Ellison. Curiously Elon Musk’s name is missing. I submit to you that Elon Musk the world’s richest man is also the world’s greatest salesman. 

Elon with his Tesla “no-emissions” vehicles have really pulled a fast one on the unsuspecting environmentally concerned public. Consider this: averaged over a battery’s life, each mile of driving an electric car “consumes” five pounds of earth. Using an internal combustion engine consumes about 0.2 pounds of liquids per mile. Tearing the needed minerals out of the earth to manufacture more EVs will create an even bigger mining sector, which currently uses 40% of all industrial energy. An EV car needs six times more minerals that a conventional car and that adds up to a lot of hydrocarbon emissions. 

According to Kelly's blue book a well-known Car Industry resource the average electric vehicle now costs $65,000. EVs might require less maintenance due to the lack of oil changes but the fact that they are heavier and consume tires much faster, offsets the maintenance savings. The typical tire for an EV is roughly 46% more expensive than the equivalent regular tire for a gas-powered car. It is also a well-known fact that the immense, heavy batteries in electric vehicles causes more tire wear and creates much higher particle polution which can be according to some experts 400 times worse than tailpipe emissions. 

To create a lithium battery. You need 190 pounds of graphite, 130 pounds of nickel, 90 pounds of copper, 60 pounds of cobalt, and 30 pounds of lithium. That’s at least 500,000 pounds of earth moving and hard rock mining to obtain the minerals to make a single electric car battery. It takes 800 barrels of oil to create one battery. Consider Tesla, the world’s best-known battery maker: it takes ten Tesla batteries worth $250,000 which collectively weigh 20,000 pounds, to store the energy equivalent of one barrel of oil. A barrel of oil, only weighs 300 pounds. and can be stored in a $20 tank. The mining intensity in your EV car is just so disproportionate to gas driven or a hybrid car. 

To continue this net zero, green dream, fantasia, you will need 10 million tons of new copper supply over the next 10 years this is the equivalent of a new Escondida copper mine, the largest in the world every year for the next 10 years. Copper smelters which refine the rocks into usable metal are notoriously dirty. By products of the smelting process are cadmium, arsenic, and lead which contaminates the earth and water. 

An EV Battery will never ever, last for 1500 to 2000 complete cycles so you're never going to recover the amount of energy just used to produce the minerals in that battery and build the car. Therefore, the government needs to subsidize bigly the “renewable” energy drive. If it was efficient and practical it would not need massive government subsidies. From the get-go all electric cars and their batteries are a net loss of energy and damaging to the environment. It takes millions of tons of diesel exhaust to mine the minerals and then there is the problem of disposing of the batteries. Once that EV battery is used up and can’t take a charge anymore and with lithium batteries it comes to a particular point and then it dies quickly because of the nature of the small 3.2 volt watch cells batteries that are an EV car battery. It is thousands of these little, tiny lithium batteries. Once those batteries are done you can't recycle them. All you can do is just let it sit in a landfill to become a horrific environmental pollution problem because we don't have any way to recycle them, it’s too expensive to get the batteries out of the vehicles. You would have to disassemble the whole car just to get the battery out. This is a net damaging effect on our global environment and there's just simply no way around it, electric cars powered by batteries are a bad idea and they show up at a time our civilization has some really bad ideas. 

The cost to fuel electric vehicles in the United States is now  higher than gas-powered cars for the first time in 18 months, Anderson Economic Group (AEG) said. “In Q4 2022, typical mid-priced ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) car drivers paid about $11.29 to fuel their vehicles for 100 miles of driving. That cost was around $0.31 cheaper than the amount paid by mid-priced EV drivers charging mostly at home, and over $3 less than the cost borne by comparable EV drivers charging commercially,” (AEG) said in an analysis.

So many people are absolutely convinced that EVS are the best thing for the planet they are willing to put their procreative organs in on top of a giant battery that's going to have fluctuating electromagnetic fields around their privates continuously. Somehow EVs are going to save the planet even though they've got to dig up half a million pounds of hard rock to make the battery.  Our EV “eco-warriors” charge their vehicles with fossil fuels, including coal, have limited range, long charging times and are subject to expensive, and soon to be more expensive electricity prices. But that’s ok as the emissions from the smokestacks are nowhere near their toney neighborhoods. Out of sight is out of mind. And in the summer’s heat emergencies be begged by the State’s Electrical Regulators not to charge their batteries.

California’s electric grid is not up to the task. When was the last time California added a new Gas Fired or Nuclear Generating Plant? The last time a power plant was commissioned was in 2008.  Our politicians are continually asking a small and growing smaller group of power plants in California and out of California to do increasing work. The electric grid was not designed to be able to charge all the planned electric vehicles let alone all the electric stoves, air conditioners, electric hot water heaters and heat pumps, the net zero idiots’ demand. There is no way “renewable” energy can power a modern economy. We don ‘t have the battery storage, it is too expensive. The minerals are scarce and expensive to mine and refine. The wind does not always blow and for sure the sun does not shine at night. Solar cell lose efficiency in the late afternoons when we need power the most. Last summer the grid because of the heat wave came close to melting down and that is with only approximately 2% penetration of electric vehicles in the state of California. Gavin (wrong way) Newsom a few days after announcing the elimination of gas-powered vehicles to be sold in 2035 had to beg EV owners not to charge their cars due to a power emergency. Did Gavin good hair learn anything? Did he propose adding electrical generating capacity for the state? Governor good hair did not. So soon we will have a massive power shortage and an electrical system that will rival Baghdad’s. Where is the 30% to 50% increases in electrical generation going to come from to power our all electric “clean” future that politicians demand? 

All machines wear out, and there is nothing renewable about green machines, since one must engage in continual extraction of materials to build new ones and replace those that wear out. All this requires mining, processing, manufacturing (in China mostly with slave labor too), transportation, and, ultimately, the disposing of millions of tons of materials, much of it functionally or economically unrecyclable.  These tens of millions of solar cells, EV batteries, and dead windmills are not biodegradable. We will have enormous renewable energy graveyards for the dead devices that are trying to power our deadly flirtation with the net zero hopium pipe dream. 

All forms of modern energy or alternative energy are ultimately born of fossil fuels. If the future for lithium-ion batteries is so great, why is the federal government subsidizing it? A recent report is from the North American Electric Reliability Corp., a government-certified grid-reliability and standard-setting group. NERC concluded that fossil-fuel plants are being removed from the grid too fast to meet continuing electricity demand, and that is putting most of the country at risk of grid failure and blackouts during extreme weather. The U.S. just got another taste of this during the Christmas electric-grid emergency. Due to the vagaries of the weather as more “renewable” energy is piled on the grid you must put more hydrocarbon-based energy on the grid as a backup. So, we are paying double for reliable energy to achieve zero influence over the climate. As the sun, water vapor and volcanism are three biggies that rule our climate. 

So, there you have it: We are dangerously dismantling our electric generating capacity while burdening it with more demand in hope of attaining the goal of net zero by 2050, which the utility industry has admitted is a fantasy. Meanwhile China, India, and Europe are all racing back to king coal. While restricting clean burning Natural Gas that has low carbon emissions with no soot or sulfur unlike coal. Natural Gas is abundant affordable and reliable for electrical generation and even transportation.

No amount of wind turbines, solar panels, hydropower, battery power, or energy-efficiency technologies will get us to net zero by 2050. How can Humans that are 18.5% carbon, and seemingly crave carbonated beverages demonize the very chemicals that give life on earth? If CO2 was to drop below 200 parts per million the plants die, the bees die, we die. Net Zero is a plan to fail in every way except to make energy more expensive and scarcer. The net zero crowd has a huge antipathy to having, the bulk of people on earth thrive, and live productive lives. The lack of cheap energy means that billions of people will be kept needlessly in poverty or worse.


(Eliot Cohen – is a climate realist, President of a Valley HOA, and serves on advisory committees for the city of LA. )