Electric cars will save the world. If only...
… there will be FEW of them.
It seems that in the U.Ss, and probably many other places too, Electric Vehicles (EVs) are already greener than cars running on gasoline even with the current electricity grid. Of course, mass adoption of electric cars only makes sense as part of a do-over of the entire energy system, so the question of what will power all these plug-ins is valid.
And here’s a surprising answer: electrifying U.S. vehicles would wipe out the equivalent of the entire current power demand of the U.S. themselves.
Such a wonderful result comes from the fact that today there is a disgusting amount of energetic waste: “Ultimately, two-thirds of “primary energy consumption” is actually wasted, and about a third of that relates to transport”.
That leaves so much space for improvement that if the entire U.S. light-duty vehicle fleet (currently about 270 million cars and trucks) were electrified by 2030 and the U.S. expanded wind and solar generation at a rapid pace, while eliminating coal power, at the same time…
“we not only end up with a drop in U.S. carbon emissions of almost 30%, but also a far more efficient system overall.”
Or, as an infographic in that same article concludes, the result is a bigger U.S. economy running on 13% less energy inputs: “In a word: efficiency.”
Efficiency? Yay. With what?
It seems that to produce (just) 20 million Tesla’s would require 165% of the entire 2019 global lithium production.
And that is only for cars. What about electrifying houses? 1 Million Powerwalls would need “more lithium than is mined in WHOLE CONTINENTS”.
Electric cars are great. We should really talk electric, not driverless cars, because they can be extremely durable, and change forever how cars are designed. But no matter how we make cars, they cannot be anymore a mean of mass transportation, that is something doable in volumes big enough for masses.
If certain estimates are even partially right, there is just not enough stuff and space in cities, where most of the population should converge, to keep making enough cars for “mass adoption”. At some point, that reality, or even bigger drawbacks, will enter the picture.