Mike's Minute: Greenies can't have it both ways with EVs

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Tue, 13 Apr 2021, 10:01AM

Mike's Minute: Greenies can't have it both ways with EVs

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Tue, 13 Apr 2021, 10:01AM

It’s a funny old thing to watch at the moment. It's starting to dawn on the greenies that the 'magic' of the electric car might not be as magical as they thought. Like so many who hop on bandwagons, they don’t do the homework. They essentially pedal their ideology based on clap-trap. For all the buzz around EVs, two stark things have been at play. One - they haven't taken off in terms of sales. Hence you’ve seen the endless push for subsides paid for by others (ie the taxpayer). Two -  very little time has been spent on the environmental issues surrounding their production. Yes, fossil fuels are not environmentally brilliant. But that doesn’t make the production of EVs good - because they aren't.

The battery is up to 40% of a car's cost. From day one, the battery starts to die - meaning in years to come, we're going to have a tremendous number of dead batteries. Further, making the batteries requires a lot of materials that are currently mined in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo -  things like cobalt, nickel, copper and manganese. Rare earths are involved, and they're currently tied up fairly tightly by the Chinese - hence, the market is skewed.

The new development in the debate is that a lot of this stuff can be found on the seabed in the Pacific. Brilliant - let's go get it.

Whoops. Forgot about the greenies. The greenies are aghast at the environmental impacts of mining in the waters off the Cook Islands. Indeed the United Nations, no less, is currently looking at regulating mining. BMW, Google and Samsung have said they will not use any metal sourced from the deep ocean, which is laudable. But it does leave the question... if not the ocean...where? That bastion of unionised and technologically advanced engineering and extraction, the Congo?

And this is the pinch point. You can't have it both ways. You can't extol the virtues of a new form of transportation if you're not prepared to be honest about how it's built. Like so much  in life, it's not black and white. Diesel and petrol still drive engines for very good reasons.

No, an EV doesn’t put carbon out a tail pipe, but a hell of a lot of the earth got attacked to drag the stuff up and out, that made the battery - and you can't hide from that. Or, at least if you try to - it makes you an ideological hypocrite. In the same way, EVs should sell because they're good and desired - not because they're subsidised.

The so-called switch should be made because the switch makes sense, and not because the environmentalists were good with the green wash.