Tesla may be synonymous with electric vehicles right now. But within a few years, GM, Volvo, BMW, Audie, etc., will be making mostly or only EVs, because they, according to the ad nauseam mantra are, drum-roll please, emission-free, climate-friendly, socially and ecologically responsible, and more affordable every year.
These companies are urging governments to provide more and more subsidies and mandates to persuade/force people to buy EVs.
Babbling by the Elites
"I am a car guy" President Biden wants all new light/medium-duty vehicles sold by 2035 to be EVs.
That is at about 14 million EVs per year
Vice President Harris wants only ZEVs (zero-emission vehicles) on America’s roads by 2045, i.e., prohibit the use of gasoline/diesel vehicles
Various states are considering, or have already passed, similar goals
Some would even ban the sale of new gasoline/diesel vehicles by 2030.
Climate Czar John Kerry will likely buy upscale EVs for his fleet of twelve cars, two yachts, six houses, and the private jet he flies in to accept Climate-Crusader awards.
AOC would use her Green New Deal to “massively” expand EV manufacturing.
She has a $55,000 Tesla Model 3 Long Range (350 miles per charge).
NOTE: Perhaps even more ironic and perverse, the ZEV moniker refers only to emissions in the USA – and only if the electricity required to manufacture and charge ZEVs comes from non-fossil-fuel power plants.
Right now, in the US, about 60+% of all electricity is from fossil fuels; the rest is from pre-existing hydro, nuclear, and tree burning, with about 10% from new wind and solar, after more than 20 years of subsidies.
For some urban people EVs are an easy choice. But why the hefty subsidies? Why do the rest of us need mandates and diktats?
Will a new Henry Ford dictum be: “You can have any kind of car with any color you want, as long as it’s electric?”
Who is getting the subsidies? Who is paying for them?
What other costs and unintended consequences are Big Green, Big Government, Big Media, and Big Tech keeping quiet about?
A 2022 Tesla Model S, Long Range, AWD, can go 412 miles on a multi-hour charge; its MSRP is about $100,000, no extras, plus dealer charges, documents, transportation, state sales taxes, plus a home charger on a dedicated 240V line.
A 2022 Model Y, Long Range, AWD, MSRP is about $65,000, plus same deal
A 2022 Nissan Leaf, rear wheel drive, MRSP about $34,000, but only goes 149 miles, which is totally inadequate during hot and cold weather.
Mileage of course assumes temperatures are moderate, and drivers are not using heating or AC, and only the driver in the vehicle.
Load it up with 2 or 3 passengers, with luggage, and some hilly roads, on a cold day, and range goes to hell.
Similar sticker-shock prices apply to other EV makes and models, putting them out of reach for most families.
Regarding CO2 reduction, EVs are driven an average of about 8,500 miles per year, mostly due to range short comings, and away-from-home-charging challenges.
Much more useful gasoline/diesel vehicles are driven an average of about 11,600 miles per year, mostly due to their short and long range usefulness, and long travel range of 500 miles and up.
Pro-EV Analysts Overstate CO2 Reductions of EVs.
1) Typically use 13,000 miles per year for EVs AND GASOLINE/DIESEL VEHICLES, when calculating the annual CO2 reduction, which greatly overstates it. They should have used 8,500 miles for each vehicle, for a proper comparison.
2) Plus they conveniently leave out all the CO2 prior to the start of driving,
3) Plus they conveniently leave out all the CO2 of dealing with the expensive, messy, hazardous-waste disposal of EVs
Subsidies and Perks
To soften the blows to budgets and liberties, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) wants to:
1) Spend $BILLIONS to install 500,000 new EV charging stations
2) Replace US government vehicles with EVs
3) Finance “cash for clunkers” rebates to help 50 million low-income families navigate their vehicle transformation.
Politicians made permanent the $7,500 per car federal tax credit, and states are increasing tax rebates
EV drivers want other incentives perpetuated:
1) Free charging
2) Access to HOV lanes for plug-ins, with only the driver
3) Not pay fees that substitute for gasoline taxes to finance the construction, maintenance and repair of highways we all drive on.
A 2015 study found that the richest 20% of Americans received 90% of these generous EV subsidies. No surprise there.
The same is true for solar systems and in-home batteries.
This perverse, reverse-Robin-Hood system also means subsidies are:
1) Paid by taxpayers, including millions of working class and minority families, most of which will never be able to afford an EV
2) Added to the out-of-control US national debt, currently at $32 TRILLION
Any cash-for-clunkers program would worsen the problem.
Adverse Effects of Subsidies on Low-income Households
By enabling sufficiently wealthy families to trade in gasoline/diesel cars for EVs, it would result in millions of perfectly drivable vehicles, that would have ended up in used car lots, getting crushed and melted instead.
Basic supply and demand laws imply, the average cost of pre-owned gasoline/diesel vehicles will soar by thousands of dollars, pricing them out of reach for millions of lower-income families.
They’ll be forced to buy pieces of junk, or ride buses and subways, jammed with people they hope won’t be carrying next-generation COVID.
The United States will begin to look like Cuba, which still boasts legions of classic 1960s and 1970s cars that are cared for and kept on the road with engines, brakes and other parts cannibalized from wrecks.
Once the states and federals ban gasoline/diesel vehicle sales, even that will end.
Grid Expansions and Reinforcements and Reliable Electric Service
Texans know just how well wind turbines and solar panels work when over-hyped “global warming” turns to record cold and snow.
Californians, in poorly insulated, poorly sealed houses, endure rolling blackouts during hot weather.
For several years, production engineers have been pondering how to retool vehicle plants from gas/diesel to EV.
They better start thinking about how to retool and power ALL US FACTORIES
With many politicians and environmentalists equally repulsed by nuclear and hydroelectric power, having any new electricity source will be a recurrent challenge.
Having reliable, affordable electricity may become a pipe dream.
It would be a miracle to have enough electricity to replace:
- All of today’s coal and gas power generation,
- Internal combustion vehicle fuels,
- Natural gas for cooking, heating and emergency power,
- Coal and gas for smelters and factories, and
- Countless other now-fossil-fuel uses, such as polyester clothes
Every building will have to replace existing heating systems with ground or air source heat pumps, HPs
Utilities will have to enhance electrical distribution grids to handle the extra loads of HPs and EVs
There’s also the matter of nasty, toxic, very-difficult-to-extinguish lithium battery fires – in cars, homes, parking garages and backup battery facilities.
We’re talking millions of wind turbines, billions of solar panels, billions of battery modules, millions of miles of new power lines.
They will kill birds and bats, disrupt or destroy sensitive habitats, and impair or eradicate hundreds of plant and animal species.
As electricity prices increase, US factories won’t be able to compete against China and other nations that will not stop using fossil fuels.
Zero-carbon fantasies ignore the essential role of fossil fuels in manufacturing ZEVs, and wind/solar/battery systems
The Need for Materials Will be Enormous
From mining and processing the myriad metals and minerals for EV battery modules, wiring, drivetrains and bodies, to actually making the components and finished vehicles, every step requires oil, natural gas or coal.
Not in California or America perhaps, but elsewhere on Planet Earth, especially Africa, Asia and South America, most often with foreign companies in leading roles.
A typical EV battery pack weighs 1000 lb, including:
25-30 lb of lithium
60 lb of nickel
44 lb of manganese
30 lb cobalt
200 lb of copper
400 lb of aluminum, steel, and plastic.
Inside the battery pack are over 6,000 individual lithium-ion cells.
To manufacture each EV auto battery pack, you must process:
25,000 lb of brine for the lithium
30,000 lb of ore for the cobalt
5,000 lb of ore for the nickel
25,000 lb of ore for copper
All told, you dig up 500,000 pounds of the earth's crust for one battery pack.
NOTE: Rare-earth means, you have to move a lot of materials, with diesel machinery, to finally get, after much processing, a metric ton of a rare-earth metal.
An EV requires three times more copper than its gasoline/diesel vehicle
A single one MW wind turbine needs 3.5 metric ton of copper
And every 1,000 tons of finished copper involves mining, crushing, refining and smelting some 125,000 tons of ore – plus removing thousands of tons of overburden and surrounding rock just to reach the ore.
The same is true for all these other materials, especially rare earths.
Try to imagine the cumulative global impacts from all this mining and fossil fuel use – so that the entitled Al Gore, Leo DiCaprio and other wealthy, saintly people can drive their upscale “clean, green, climate-friendly” EVs, on the way to their private mega-yachts and private planes, and private islands
Even worse, many of these materials are dug up and turned into “virtuous” EVs, wind turbines and solar panels – in China, Congo, Bolivia and other places – with little regard for child labor, fair wages, workplace safety, air and water pollution, toxic and radioactive wastes, endangered species, and mined land reclamation.
It’s all far away, out of sight and out of mind, and thus politically irrelevant.
Projected World Copper Production
In 2021, the total use of copper was:
About 30 million metric tons, of which
About 21 million metric ton was mined, and
About 9 million metric ton was from recycling; about 50% from scrap yards; about 50% from process wastes.
The mined quantity was 16 million metric ton in 2010.
The recycled percentage will increase with increasing copper prices.
Copper is particularly effective for wind, solar and EVs, because of its high electrical conductivity and low reactivity.
Traditional power plants and transmission systems, and gasoline/diesel vehicles use copper in their manufacturing. However, wind, solar and EVs require a whole lot more of it.
EVs require 2.5 times as much copper as gas/diesel vehicles
Solar per installed MW requires 2.0 times as much as an installed MW of traditional natural gas and coal
Offshore wind per installed MW requires 5.0 times as much as an installed MW of traditional natural gas and coal
A large-scale turn towards wind, solar, EVs and heat pumps, including grid expansion and reinforcement, if implemented “overnight”, would require about 3 times the 2021 world copper production
However, each MW of wind and solar would produce about 50% of what each MW of traditional power plant would produce. That means, the MW of installed wind and solar would be about 2 times the MW of installed traditional gas and coal.
Thus, the 2021 world copper production would need to increase at least 5 times to install enough MW of wind and solar, to produce the same quantity of world electricity as in 2021
In the real world nothing is done “overnight”.
The 2021 world quantity of electricity would be 1.03^19 = 75% larger in 2040, because it has been growing at 3%/y, for several decades.
That means the 2040 world copper production would be about 8 times the 2021 world copper production, unless used copper would be reclaimed to make new copper.
Slave Labor to Make it Happen
And amid all this is the touchy issue of Uighur genocide and their people being sent to re-education/slave labor camps, to help meet China’s mineral, EV and other export markets.
How long will we let real social, environmental and climate justice take a back seat to EV mythology?
Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of books, reports and articles on energy, environmental, climate and human rights issues.