The Dirty Secret of Electric Vehicles - Seeker's Thoughts

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The Dirty Secret of Electric Vehicles

 Amnesty International says human rights abuses, including the use of child labour, in the extraction of minerals, like cobalt, used to make the batteries that power electric vehicles is undermining ethical claims about the cars.

Image: Amnesty International



The Dirty Secret of Electric Vehicles


Electric vehicles offer power and performance that internal combustion-engine cars simply can't match, from sleek coupes to continent-crushing GTs (and even SUVs!). There's something perfect for every driving style out there - so check out all your options before making a decision!


Though electric vehicles don't produce emissions at their tailpipe, their batteries still emit greenhouse gas during production and their recharge needs to come from power plants that use fossil fuels as well.


Also Read: How Electric Vehicles Can Help Tackle Climate Change and Reduce Emissions 

1. They’re More Carbon-Intensive


Production of lithium batteries used to power electric vehicles produces significant emissions, with estimates suggesting one EV battery producing as much carbon dioxide as driving a fuel-powered car for one year - although these numbers could differ depending on how the vehicle is used and charged.


Electric vehicles (EVs) use energy from the electric grid, which in most of the country is powered by fossil fuels. While they don't produce tailpipe emissions directly, when charging at home or most public chargers you may be creating an emissions debt from using electricity sourced from fossil fuel sources - you can offset this by choosing charging locations that prioritize renewables instead.


Purchase or lease an electric vehicle equipped with built-in safety features like lane assist and automation and you may qualify for discounts on your insurance rates; these could reduce overall operating costs so much that it becomes cheaper than its conventional counterpart.


2. They’re More Expensive


There's no denying the initial cost of electric vehicles (EVs) exceeds that of their gas vehicle counterparts; this is mostly attributable to batteries which make up a considerable percentage of their price tag.


Even with their higher upfront costs, EVs still represent long-term cost savings on car ownership costs. They require less maintenance - no oil changes needed! - and overall are cost effective.


Regenerative braking technology also allows electric vehicles (EVs) to recover energy lost through frictional braking, turning it back into electricity for charging their onboard batteries and thus making their operation both cost-efficient and environmentally-friendly. This feature not only lowers maintenance costs but makes the EV more energy-efficient as well.


Plus, electric vehicle (EV) owners can take advantage of rebates to help make their up-front purchase more cost effective. And green auto loans designed specifically for electric and fuel efficient vehicles often offer reduced interest rates and longer repayment terms to keep monthly payments at bay.


3. They’re More Heavy


Battery packs are at the core of any electric car, yet also its most substantial part. Take for instance GMC Hummer EV Edition 1, an electric SUV boasting long driving range and power. It weighs over 9,000 pounds compared to comparable gas-powered SUVs.


Weight doesn't always translate to bad news: extra kilos help maintain low centers of gravity, helping EVs handle better than conventional counterparts and making acceleration possible--like how a 9,000-pound Hummer accelerates from zero to 60 miles an hour in three seconds or less!


But this added weight can become a liability in crashes when not balanced out with heavier components that provide greater resilience. Heavier vehicles have difficulty protecting people inside, and it remains uncertain whether our current method for testing cars to assess safety will suffice when applied to modern EVs.


At automakers' disposal is an array of strategies for dealing with this challenge. Heavy vehicles could be designed with additional crush space and more robust frames to handle weightier cargo; engines must also be powerful enough to support added weight - likely necessitating more sophisticated powertrain solutions than are currently used in passenger EVs.


4. They’re More Efficient


Electric vehicles (EVs) are much more energy efficient than their gasoline-fueled counterparts when it comes to energy use and efficiency. A typical EV uses 77% or more of its stored electricity for powering its wheels compared with only 12- 30% in conventional cars, and do not produce tailpipe emissions when driving (though power plants that generate electricity may release pollutants into the environment).


Electric vehicles offer much lower maintenance costs than gas-powered ones, due to fewer moving parts and less frequent oil changes, as well as using two to three times less engine fluid like transmission fluid and coolants. Furthermore, they can be charged easily at home or work using superfast chargers which replenish their charge within minutes instead of hours.


However, when comparing the total cost of ownership between an electric vehicle (EV) and its comparable gas car counterpart, it's crucial to keep in mind where and how its energy source comes from; because an EV's charging requirements depend heavily on where and what kind of power source it needs. This variation could affect its total ownership cost drastically.


Norway is an example of a country in which electric vehicles (EVs) have a relatively low carbon footprint compared to countries that rely heavily on fossil fuels like the U.S, where fossil fuels contribute substantially to national emissions.


Human Rights Abuse and Electric Cars


Electric vehicles (EVs) have gained in popularity due to their environmental benefits and potential cost-savings for consumers at the gas station. Unfortunately, however, these cars often use batteries powered by precious metal mining - an industry plagued with human rights abuses which car companies may indirectly support through indirect supply chains that don't make clear promises or prompt necessary questions from carmakers, buyers or investors.


Cobalt, an essential component of electric vehicle batteries, comes largely from the Democratic Republic of Congo where mine workers, including children, must work under hazardous and exploitative conditions at low wages. Cobalt used in EV batteries can be extracted through large-scale industrial mining operations or hand mined at artisanal levels without direct oversight from mining companies; corruption and fraud often occurs here due to inaccurate financial reporting, undisclosed executive compensation payments and failures to implement proper internal controls.


Some EV manufacturers have pledged their commitment to ethical mineral sourcing, but have failed to take necessary steps. Mercedes and Tesla are taking more strides in this area, yet more could be done; Toyota and Ford should increase their efforts in this regard.


Consumers eager to embrace new technology deserve to know whether companies claiming to be "green" are actually making an impactful difference for the environment and human rights. Electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers must make a firm commitment to mapping and disclosing their battery supply chains as well as conducting regular, rigorous third-party assessments of suppliers' compliance with human rights and environmental standards. They should use their influence to push the EV market towards increased transparency, insisting that government funding for the industry be tied directly to rules mandating strict human rights adherence standards for funding commitments by government funding authorities.


Climate provisions of the US reconciliation bill currently before Congress include a tax credit of $7,500 for purchasing an electric car. While this incentive can provide American consumers with great incentive to switch over, car companies must use this as an opportunity to introduce policies ensuring products are produced responsibly or risk undermining global shift towards greener sources of energy by exploiting miners or others working within battery supply chains. Click here for the full report by BenarNews reporters Pizaro Gozali Idrus in Jakarta; Keisyah Aprilia in Central Sulawesi; Richard Kent in Manila - copy right 2018 BenarNews; all rights reserved by WordPress

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