What's behind the push for electric vehicles?
The modern internal combustion engine is an engineering marvel. These power plants run incredibly clean. According to the EPA, overall gasoline car tailpipe emissions are now about 98–99% less than for cars in the 1960s. Many current gas-powered cars get well over 35 miles per gallon and have highway ranges of over 500 miles. Refueling takes five minutes, and there are 115,000 gasoline stations in the U.S.
So why the huge push by the U.S. government to convert to electric vehicles? It is curious, given that E.V.s are actually inferior to gas vehicles for most uses. (Perhaps a case could be made for hybrid vehicles in short-range, high-density urban settings.) Also, beyond vehicle performance, there are other serious negative side-effects of this E.V. conversion. To recap, here are some of the problems with widespread conversion to E.V.s:
Environmental Damage — Several studies have shown that when factoring in the production process and electricity generation needed to charge the batteries, E.V. conversion can be more damaging to the environment that gas vehicles.
Rare Earth Mineral Mining Problems — The mining of rare earth minerals such as lithium and cobalt for E.V. batteries causes a great deal of environmental damage. Much of this is done in foreign counties that don't have good environmental oversight. Furthermore, to meet the international goal of two billion E.V.s by 2050 would require triple the amount of annual lithium currently mined for all purposes. Disposal of spent batteries can have toxic environmental effects, and mitigation of this issue hasn't been thought through or planned.
Given that some U.S. states are mandating that new gas vehicles be completely phased out, how is the supply of lithium and other minerals going to keep up? California has already passed a mandate that new gas vehicles cannot be sold after 2035, with states such as Washington, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, and Vermont expected to do the same. Finally, the mining of lithium and other needed elements for E.V. batteries is creating a humanitarian crisis, with documented evidence of significant child slave labor involved with this mining.
Performance Shortfalls — E.V.s generally have a range under 225 miles, and this range is a lot less in cold or hot conditions. Partial recharging typically takes at least an hour with most charging options available today. In a weather crisis such as a blizzard or hurricane, E.V.s are dangerously unreliable. Cross-country road trips can be a nightmare.
More Expensive to Purchase — The average E.V. currently costs about $18,000 more than an average gas vehicle, even with large government subsidies. This puts the purchase of an E.V. beyond the budget of many lower-income Americans and stresses the budgets of all but the wealthiest citizens. Also, E.V.s typically don't last as long as modern gas vehicles. The average E.V. needs expensive new batteries every 10 years.
Dangerously Heavy — E.V.s are far heavier than gas vehicles, given the heavy batteries needed to power E.V.s. This creates a safety imbalance with non-E.V.s in crash situations.
Stress on the Grid — E.V.s obviously need to be charged from the electric grid. This at a time when the U.S. electric grid is dangerously unstable both from an infrastructure standpoint and potential terror attacks. Joe Biden's stated policy is to phase out all types of fossil fuel vehicles by 2035 and all use of fossil fuels in general shortly after that. There is no current plan to reconstitute a meaningful nuclear power generating capacity, and even if there were, this would take decades. Furthermore, there is no "magic bullet" new energy source anywhere on the horizon. How is intermittent and inefficient wind and solar power generation going to fuel the tens of millions of new mandated E.V.s?
This coerced conversion plan is clearly a disaster if the goal is to provide the American people a better way to travel. But what if the goal is something other than converting to a "better mousetrap"? Could it be that a coalition of globalists, environmental fundamentalists, and totalitarian-leaning politicians are conspiring to limit the freedom of Americans and control their ability to move about? After all, it is a lot easier to shut down, curtail, or monitor a centrally managed electric grid than it is to close 115,000 gas stations.
Americans might want to wake up and think about the risks of buying into the virtue-signaling conversion to E.V.s. The way of life that we have enjoyed for over a century may very well be at stake.
Jeffrey Wright is a Minneapolis-based investment banker, entrepreneur, and concerned citizen.