Thursday, July 27, 2017

Electric Cars

Britain is to ban all new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040 amid fears that rising levels of nitrogen oxide pose a major risk to public health. There was a similar pledge in France.
Yet the ecological footprint of e-cars is disastrous.  A person can drive a Mercedes E-class for eight years before he or she does as much damage to the environment as a Tesla. One of the reasons for this is the super-heavy batteries used in electric vehicles.
Millions upon millions of e-cars also means millions upon millions of such batteries. Raw materials such as lithium and cobalt are in high demand. But where does cobalt come from? Well, at least to an overwhelming extent it come from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a nation rocked by civil war and large-scale corruption. It's mainly child laborers who have to dig out the ore. But without cobalt from the DRC you can forget about any fantasies about e-cars.
Add to this humanitarian concern is the worry over pollution. Poisons and dangerous particles are a side effect of the production of batteries, let alone the tons of carbon dioxide produced. And in the end, millions of batteries have to be disposed of and then hopefully recycled. Otherwise it is toxic waste.
Under capitalism, there is no clean green motor car.