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 by Jon Burras
Electric Cars: Maybe Not Such a Great Idea After All
2019 Spectator Ron - The Spectator All Rights Reserved
     I am not a communist, socialist, anti-technology zealot or against progressive ideas. In fact, I consider myself on the cutting edge of new ideas when they present themselves. I consider myself a clear thinker and one who is practical in most matters.
     As of late I have become extremely alarmed at the environmentally friendly trend of replacing gasoline engine automobiles with electric cars and hybrid electric vehicles. After all the environmental victory parades and self-adornment for making a choice to save the environment by going electric, has anyone with common sense thought this entire scenario through? Well I have and I am most disturbed at my findings.
     Whether you believe in global climate change and the need to reduce hydrocarbons from our atmosphere or not, many drivers have begun to switch over to hybrid electric/gas vehicles or just to all electric cars. There are many sporty names and styles from which to choose. In most cases the owners feel good about themselves for doing something to help the environment by reducing green house gas emissions. After I reveal what comes next, should these individuals really feel good about it at all?
     First off, many hybrid and electric vehicle owners errantly believe that they are saving the environment when going electric. The reality is that most electric vehicle owners charge their cars at home or in a charging station with electricity that comes from a power plant. These power plants are often hundreds of miles away and will burn fossil fuels like coal, oil or natural gas to create electricity. Over eighty-two percent of electricity in the United States still comes from fossil fuels and only 18 percent from alternative sources like solar, wind or geothermal. Thus, an electric vehicle owner is most likely still getting his power from a fossil fuel driven power plant. Rarely will an electric vehicle owner actually have his own solar panels on his home creating his own free electricity.
     There is also a tremendous amount of waste of energy producing electricity with fossil fuels and also transporting the electricity across miles of transmission lines. A power plant will lose about sixty-five percent of its energy value when producing electricity. For instance, only about one-third of the BTUs (British Thermal Units) of energy in a lump of coal will be converted to electricity. The other two-thirds escapes as waste heat up a smoke stack, into the ocean or a cooling pond. In addition, transmission lines carrying electricity for long distances will lose anywhere from six to fifteen percent of their energy through heat loss. The reality is that if you charge your electric car at home or at a charging station you are participating in a very inefficient and wasteful production and delivery system of electricity where only about twenty-five percent of the actual energy value makes it to your home wiring system.
     Electric cars also have a limited range for driving. You might have to sneak behind a gasoline station with your extension cord and plug into an outlet in order to get yourself back home. Drivers spend countless hours at charging stations waiting for enough electricity to be delivered so that they can resume their journey. If you have all day and are not in a rush then long trips by electric vehicle can be somewhat romantic. If you have a daily round trip that goes to the same place every day that might work for you. Electric vehicles might be a second car when you do not need extra reassurance that refueling is available right away. Currently the infrastructure is not ready for electric vehicles and the charge time is quite inconvenient, especially when you are in a hurry. Electric vehicles are like traveling by train; if you have plenty of time they can be quite enjoyable.
     Most people do not realize that their electric car has a gigantic battery that is sending off emf (electr0 magnetic frequency) radiation. This is the same radiation as produced by cell phone towers and high tension power lines. These frequency waves have proven to be cancer causing. Even cell phone companies warn you not to place a cell phone too close to your head when it is turned on as to not absorb the radiation. You would not want to purchase a home directly beneath high tension power lines. Why would you purchase a vehicle with a large battery sending off just as much emf radiation? In essence, you are sitting on top of a cancer causing wave producer.
     A startling fact to consider is that after about ten years of car ownership electric vehicle owners will have to cough up a sizable amount of money to change the battery out. This amount could be anywhere from $10,000-$15,000. This would be the equivalent if you owned a gas engine vehicle and after ten years had to change out the engine, transmission and entire drive train. This "balloon" payment will cause quite a crisis ripple throughout the entire electric vehicle industry.
     Imagine what will happen in a few short years when all those who were first to jump on the electric vehicle bandwagon now had a moment of reckoning on what to do with an eight year old electric car. Have you saved up enough money for this huge expense? Who would want to buy a second-hand electric or hybrid vehicle knowing that in two years they must spend a fortune for a new battery? You are going to have lots of folks going bankrupt and a glut of used electric cars lying around because nobody can afford the upkeep for new batteries. All that money saved by not having to purchase gasoline was not really saved after all.
     The main component of an electric vehicle's battery is lithium. Where do you think lithium comes from? There are only a handful of lithium mines in the world. Only one of these mines is in the United States. As the world turns to battery operated vehicles and other devices will there be enough lithium to supply that need? One lithium-ion battery for an electric car requires as much lithium as needed for 10,000 cell phone batteries. Lithium is a mineral that is difficult to bring to market, has a limited supply and is the main ingredient in car batteries. As electric vehicle sales double and then triple in the next few years, where will all the lithium come from to produce those giant batteries? Nobody knows for sure right now but many are betting (and praying) that new technologies and more lithium supplies show up sooner rather than later.
     Cobalt, another important ingredient in lithium-ion batteries, is a very rare mineral only found in a few places in the world. This rare mineral is most prevalent is war torn areas of Africa. Child labor is used to enter into dangerous mines to extract the cobalt. Sales from the cobalt are used to fund local and international terror groups and militias. If one thinks that he is driving a hybrid or electric vehicle to be more environmentally friendly than you might want to reset that idea. One's electric vehicle footprint causes immense environmental and political harm throughout the world.
     Electric vehicle battery fires might be more rare than gasoline vehicle fires but they also might be much harder to put out once they start. It might even take twenty-four hours for an electric battery to fully be put out. Sometimes the fire looks like it is all extinguished but it will reignite later on. This dilemma has placed more diligence on fire departments when dealing with an electric car fire. An electric car will require much more water to extinguish the blaze than in a gasoline fire.
     Electric vehicles are usually more costly to purchase than a gasoline vehicle. State and federal rebates are disappearing and the actual cost of owning an electric or hybrid vehicle is becoming known. Also, many people depended on special allowances for hybrids and electric cars to be able to drive in car pool lanes. As more and more electric vehicles are on the roads these perks too will continue to disappear.
     While it sounds good on paper and in the board room of environmentalists, the electric car has many challenges ahead for itself. There are environmental, economic and political issues that one must come to terms with when purchasing an electric vehicle. There is a much darker and dirtier side to the electric car bandwagon. As we have seen in the housing industry crash of 2008, when faced with balloon payments on mortgages that many were ill-equipped to afford, many homes were lost and the economy went into the tank. If we do not come to terms with the high cost of battery replacement, the limited supply of materials for batteries and the fossil fuel production of electricity to feed this demand, we might soon face the same dismal fate. It is time that we all woke up to the truth. As the saying goes, "there is no free lunch". In this case, there is no free electricity here and there never will be.