« Misinformation And Biden | Main | Where The Hell Am I? - Can President Joey Answer Correctly »

The Elephant InThe Room

I just heard that General Motors is planning to be manufacturing only all electric vehicles by 2035. I know that it is very fashionable to jump on the electric vehicle bandwagon right now but there are some things that no one is talking about that trouble me.

President Joey has promised to build 500,000 charging stations which will solve a small, actually very small, portion of the fueling problem for electric vehicles. The logistics of getting the electricity to those stations is going to be a huge undertaking. Of course, tens of millions of homes will have to be retrofitted with individual charging stations.

In California, where they don’t produce enough electricity to serve their population on a very hot day already, can you imagine a few million vehicles plugging into the electric gird after work every day. Can you spell rationing. Perhaps a few nuclear power plants will solve their energy problem if they can and are willing to build them fast enough. Wind and solar just aren’t capable of producing enough reliable energy to sustain the huge need for that many cars in California, let alone the rest of the United Sates, 365 days a year.

Watching all the pundits praising electric vehicles, I believe they are all ignoring the elephant in the room, namely lithium. Right now the average life of a vehicle in the United Sates is probably between 5 and 10 years before they hit the junk yard. We currently have places to recycle old vehicles. Some vehicles are crushed and recycled that way. Some can be found in pick-a-part junkyards. Tires are another thing altogether. There are some attempts to recycle the old tires but they mostly are stored in huge piles and left to rot in the baking sun. Imagine hundreds of millions of pounds of old lithium batteries sitting around leaking into the local water table with nowhere to safely store them. The nationwide need for a place to safely store our nuclear waste is currently a huge problem but no one wants to store it in their backyard. I’m sure most of you are aware of the fight over Yucca Mountain? Where in the world are we going to find a home to safely store all the old lithium filled car batteries? Rest assured Nevada won’t take them.

In one of the few news articles that address the battery waste problem it says that in the UK, a pretty small country by any standard, based on the relatively small number of electric cars sold there in 2017, “researchers in the United Kingdom calculated that 250,000 metric tons, or half a million cubic meters, of unprocessed battery pack waste will result when these vehicles reach the end of their lives.”

The article goes on to say:

“Currently in the United Kingdom, there are no dedicated operating facilities for processing electric vehicle waste batteries. What batteries do get processed are exported and recycled using a pyrometallurgical method, which uses high temperatures to smelt the batteries and extract some reusable components. However, it’s wasteful and inefficient, which means some materials can’t be recovered, he said.

The batteries produced by different manufacturers vary widely and the paper calls for more standardization to allow easier recycling. Current designs also don’t lend themselves to easy deconstruction by hand or machine.”

The article goes on to say that we are currently capable of recycling 95% of old batteries currently used in our nasty combustion engine automobiles.

You can read more about the problem here.

To sum up the electric vehicle situation -

The lack of charging stations is a major hurdle....500,000 stations are not going to suffice.

Retrofitting tens of millions of homes with charging stations won't happen overnight.

The lack of enough clean energy to supply the charging stations is a major hurdle.

The need for a place to safely store all the old batteries hasn’t been addressed by anyone that I know of.

I am confident our brand spanking new visionary President, President Joey, has thought about all of this and he will have solutions for us just soon as he wakes up from his nap.

Posted by Rick | March 2, 2021 01:05 PM

eXTReMe Tracker