At one time, “Saving the Environment” and “Fighting Climate Change” were synonymous. That is no longer true. The quest for Clean Energy through electric vehicles (EVs) epitomizes “the end justifies the means.”
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), an electric vehicle requires six times the mineral inputs of a comparable internal combustion engine vehicle (ICE). EV batteries are very heavy and are made with some exotic, expensive, toxic, and flammable materials.
The primary metals in EV batteries include Nickel, Lithium, Cobalt, Copper and Rare Earth metals (Neodymium and Dysprosium). The mining of these materials, their use in manufacturing and their ultimate disposal all present significant environmental challenges. Ninety percent of the ICE lead-acid batteries are recycled while only five percent of the EV lithium-ion batteries are.
Oil has been so demonized that we tend to overlook some of its positive traits as a power source relative to the battery power of EVs. The power for an internal combustion engine, oil, is a homogeneous commodity found abundantly around the world (especially in our own backyard). In 2019, the four top oil producing nations were the United States, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Canada. In contrast, the power for EVs is dependent on a mixture of diverse commodities from just a handful of third world countries.
In spite of the environmental hysteria about oil drilling, the surface area disturbed is relatively small since the oil is extracted from under the ground. In contrast, many of the materials prominent in the clean energy revolution are obtained through open-pit horizontal mining which is extremely damaging to wide areas of the environment.