The UK shows what the future of the US and the world will really be with “sustainable” electric vehicles
Joe Biden, his fellow Democrats and what appears to be big US automakers have joined the rush to switch America's transportation to 100% electric vehicles (EV), whether we like the people or not. During a town hall in October, Biden claimed his plan would save "billions of gallons of oil" and help create a million jobs in the auto industry, including banning the sale or manufacture of new internal combustion engine vehicles by 2030. How That Will happen in the real world, he said not.
Biden's California-inspired vision excludes hybrid vehicles, includes installing 500,000 EV charging stations, and offering cash for clunkers-style discounts to new EV buyers. As of 2018, nearly half of EV registrations (256,800 out of 543,600) in California, Hawaii, Washington, and Oregon were not far behind. As of 2018, electric vehicles made up less than 2% of the total of 15 million vehicles in California – despite huge tax credits, free charging stations, free access to HOV lanes, and other subsidies and incentives.
Only 727,000 electric vehicles were sold in the US in 2019, and nearly half were plug-in hybrids. Hybrid sales peaked in 2013 but had fallen to 2.3% (about 400,000 vehicles) of all light commercial vehicle sales by 2019, largely due to shunning EV purists. Compare these numbers to the total of 6.3 million vehicles sold in 2016 or the 273,600,000 cars, motorcycles, trucks, buses, and other vehicles on U.S. roads in 2018.
After China's leadership, all US automakers – not just Tesla – are on board this major transition. As IC vehicles are replaced and gas stations are turned into EV charging stations, the pressure will increase to get rid of remaining IC vehicles and buy more EVs. China-friendly General Motors plans to spend $ 20 billion on electric vehicles and self-driving vehicle technology by 2025, including 23 different electric vehicles by 2023. Ford Motor Company has pledged to invest $ 11 billion in electric vehicle development by 2022.
Biden is following in the footsteps of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whose new climate change plan includes banning gasoline-powered vehicles by 2030 and hybrids by 2035. But, as economist and Global Britain Think Tank director Ewen Stewart argued, “Frankly, this is one of the most illiberal and economically destructive measures Whitehall has ever taken. It risks hundreds of thousands of livelihoods and much-needed exports for the slightest benefit. "
"The implications of this ban (in a 1% EV country) are huge in terms of manufacturing, supply chains, investment, sunken capital, employment, infrastructure, consumer choice, inventory value and much more," said Stewart. "Never before has a government dared to shut down an entire and critical industry almost overnight by dictation."
It was a delusion, he went on, to believe that the destruction of a successful UK industry by banning internal combustion engines – rather than letting consumer choice determine the market – will be good for the economy. Today's British automotive sector accounts for one-fifth of the country's manufacturing base. Over 80% of the 1.3 million cars it makes are exported. That is 13% of the total UK export market.
The UK automotive industry directly employs over 180,000 Britons and indirectly many hundreds of thousands more. However, the UK cannot compete with China for the global electric vehicle market as UK labor costs are far higher and its energy is becoming increasingly expensive and unreliable.
Worse still, Stewart pointed out that this virtue signaling will have minimal benefit to the UK and the global environment, but will be devastating to car owners. The UK government has already slashed the value of the country's 12 million diesel vehicles significantly, with surcharges that before 2015 cost diesel vehicle owners up to $ 67 a week just to drive in "low-emission zones". Other costs included doubling the parking permit rates and increasing taxes on diesel vehicles.
The new initiatives will do the same for gasoline-powered vehicles. They will run out of gas pumps, drop resale values and destroy the country's export market.
Andrew Montford, associate director of the Global Warming Policy Forum, says the misguided UK plan could cost motorists £ 700 billion ($ 938 billion). Montford claimed that several aspects of electric vehicles make them more expensive than gasoline cars: replacing expensive batteries, installing charging stations at home (which often require upgrading household wiring), time and inconvenience to recharge the batteries, and much more.
Montford estimated that the average household may have spent an additional £ 19,000 ($ 25,460) by 2050 – if they can still afford to own a vehicle. As other government mandates drive up electricity bills, the cost of driving could double and completely drive the working class off the streets.
The absurdity of this British attack on its own existing auto industry is made even more ridiculous by the fact that large-scale electrification does not change current mobility patterns – and only manages to cut greenhouse gas emissions in transport by 15% by 2050, Spanish systems engineering expert Margarita Mediaville explains. Calling EVs “green” or “sustainable” is obviously absurd.
Ms. Mediaville's company also noted that manufacturing all of these new EV batteries would deplete proven global reserves of copper, lithium, nickel and manganese, unless mining and / or recycling rates increase dramatically by 2050. The European Union proposes to To have "a devastating impact on water, biodiversity and the human rights of local communities".
Mining and processing ore and making batteries would also require enormous amounts of fossil fuels, hundreds or thousands of tons of ore and spoil for every ton of finished metals, and result in huge emissions of pollutants and carbon dioxide. Indeed, a new report by Competitive Enterprise Institute analyst Ben Lieberman concludes that replacing gasoline with electricity as a vehicle's energy source does not eliminate these emissions, it only changes where they are emitted.
Another disadvantage of the soaring number of electric vehicles is that the metals and minerals increasingly come from countries like China, Chile and the Congo – where fair wages, child labor, safety at work and environmental standards are far below what the US or the EU do would tolerate. The manufacture of EV batteries also requires more energy than batteries and motors for IC vehicles. Recycling is also complicated, expensive, and fraught with pollution and public health risks.
Financial firm UBS found that replacing global sales of conventional IC vehicles with electric versions would require a 2,898% increase in lithium production. an increase in cobalt of 1,928%; a 524% increase in graphite; a 105% increase in nickel; a 655% increase in rare earth minerals; and at least tripling copper production. Burning coal, diesel, and gasoline would also skyrocket to fuel the work.
According to a separate report from Securing America's Future Energy, China controls nearly 70% of the production capacity of batteries for electric vehicles, compared to just 10% in the US. The report estimates 107 of the 142 EV battery manufacturing projects planned by 2021 will be in China and only nine in the US. The transition to mandatory electric vehicles will clearly enrich China at America's expense.
Before US politicians take steps to convert America to electric vehicles and generate electricity from non-fossil fuels, they must carefully study the human and environmental costs – in precise figures, including rising lung diseases, cancer, injuries and deaths in foreign mines, processing plants and factories .
You also need to consider the impact of outsourcing battery manufacturing to Chinese companies on American workers and communities. The Chinese, with the assistance of President Biden, will happily bring most of these manufacturing orders back to the Middle Kingdom while burdening American families with rising costs of unreliable electricity, short-haul travel, and collapsing industries. Incredibly, our reliance on China for minerals and high-tech military equipment components will also increase!
All of these issues require the attention of our lawmakers and regulators, environmentalists and journalists. Unless, of course, they are only concerned with cheap virtue signs and are not concerned about American workers and energy consumers, the US and the global environment, or adult and child global workers putting their health and life at risk, including electric vehicles and other technologies .
Duggan Flanakin is director of policy research on the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org).