The EV transition in the eyes of the Beholden Part 3

Part 1 of the EV transition highlighted some of the costs associated with it and Part 2 of this series outlined some of the negative issues of EV and their batteries. In an effort to keep it readable at less than 1,500 words it was stated a Part 3 would be a requirement so here it is!

EV Fires

Should one do a simple Google search using the words “tesla car fire” and then hit the video button you will get dozens of videos of intense fires (presumably caused by the batteries) including some simply parked in a garage or stopped at an intersection. Some news story with videos where deaths have occurred note Tesla is being sued.  It surely makes one hesitant to consider their next vehicle should be an EV as it’s not just Tesla EV catching fire as another Google search discloses. As these happenings gain more publicity the push-back on the government decrees in the developed world, including here in Canada where the decree is; “all vehicle sales (cars and trucks) by 2035 will be electric” will surely grow!

Battery Storage Fires

An article by S&P Global on May 31, 2022 titled; “Battery blazes, breakdowns underscore ‘growing pains’ for energy storage” highlights the problems associated with battery storage and the fire occurrence in Southern Australia back in 2021 when it was claimed to be the largest battery storage unit in the world.  The article also outlines the latest problem with the 400 MW unit in California (Moss Landing Energy Storage) and now the largest unit in the world which recently experienced their second incident.  The article notes: “The breakdowns are among more than 50 known failures at medium- to large-scale battery storage projects in the U.S., Europe, Asia and Australia. Daily outage reports from the California ISO, which has more battery storage on its network than any other grid operator, point to additional frequent “plant troubles” curtailing capacity that the state is counting on to keep the lights on during critical periods of peak demand.” The article goes on to state: “Ranging from limited operational hiccups to catastrophic explosions, such incidents are likely to continue to accompany the proliferation of battery peakers, technology and safety experts said.” This certainly suggests the continued use of natural gas plants to back up the intermittent and unreliable nature of wind and solar generation will be with us for a few decades unless our politicians and the bureaucrats advising them are OK with frequent blackouts.

Transit EV Bus Fires

As the push to eliminate fossil fuel use for all the developed world continues the concept of electrifying all transit and transport vehicles gathers steam so, with lots of government support many transit authorities are working to convert their bus fleets.  As just one example the City of Ottawa under its $57.4 billion “Energy Evolution” transition plan, have a target aiming to have a zero-emission transit sector by 2030. One should presume the 944 transit buses currently in Ottawa will be converted to battery operated ones by that date. Ottawa isn’t the only city in Canada or around the world with these plans and many European cities are much farther ahead.  One example is Stuttgart (check out video) with two of EV transit buses and in the fall of 2021 one of them “is believed to have been the source of a massive fire that destroyed 25 buses in the city and also heavily damaged part of the depot they were parked in.” Once again there are dozens of videos and stories of EV bus fires from various locations around the world including one a few days ago in Connecticut which would make one somewhat reluctant to step on board for a trip or be content to allow your child to take an EV school bus.  Needless to say, investigations into these fires are going on wherever they occurred and many of the fleets have parked their EV buses until the investigations determine the cause of the fire(s) is complete and the cause known.

Child Labour mines for Cobalt in the Congo and Zambia

Cobalt is one of the principal ingredients in an EV lithium-ion battery and the Congo has the highest known cobalt reserves in the world representing close to 70% and another African country, Zambia has the 2nd highest known reserves.  Interestingly enough CNN back in May 2018 did some investigative work resulting in them posting a video titled “CNN FINDS CHILD LABOUR IN COBALT TRADE.” The video highlights the use of child labour to mine the cobalt and supply those EV battery manufacturers in China, the U.S.A, Europe and shortly, presumably Ontario. The latter have joined hands with PM Trudeau and the Province to provide grants for a new $1.5 billion plant to be built in Windsor with our tax dollars. Obviously, those tax dollars will be supporting the continued use of child labour in the Congo and in Zambia.

Supply Shortages Loom

Another major problem with the whole “energy transition” push is the probable upcoming shortages of key components required for the electrification of everything and one of those is copper.  As noted in an article in the Financial Post a couple of weeks ago, “Numerous metals and minerals have been hawked as “the next oil,” but according to veteran energy historian Daniel Yergin, only one metal represents the linchpin of the energy transition away from fossil fuels — copper.“ Yergin “sees a looming supply-demand gap in copper that risks “short-circuiting” the energy transition and stalling global ambitions to slash greenhouse gas emissions to “net zero” by 2050.” The article cites a report estimating copper supply would need to double from current production of 25 million metric tons to 50 million metric tons by 2035. The report concludes: “copper shortages could delay how long it takes to reach net-zero emissions; Yergin also acknowledged that various other critical minerals — lithium and cobalt, for example — could well have an impact on climate goals too.”

It sure looks as if the electrification of everything is a pipe dream that will continue to exhibit dire consequences on mankind except perhaps for the small but very rich segment of the population. The time has come to kill the wishes of the eco-warriors and those politicians who have consumed their Kool-Aid.

Author: parkergallantenergyperspectivesblog

Retired international banker.

7 thoughts on “The EV transition in the eyes of the Beholden Part 3”

    1. Carbon dioxide is not “pollution”; it is the basis for all life on earth. It is also an odourless, colourless, gas that serves to support photosynthesis in plants. As to whether the carbon tax is “feckless”, it is now at at $50 per tonne in most of Canada and the rate is scheduled to rise to at least $170 per tonne by 2030. That is an enormous financial burden on the Canadian firms that consume oil and natural gas, and it places them at a severe competitive disadvantage compared to the companies in the countries that are our principal trading partners. The United States has no carbon tax, Mexico’s carbon tax rate is $4 per tonne, and the regional carbon taxes in China are in the range of $3-$6 per tonne. That does not even count the enormous costs to the over 300 climate regulations, subsidies and other measures that governments in Canada have imposed. All of that gets passed on to consumers and make inflation worse.

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  1. Thanks for a great review of where we are in the energy transition game. I’d like to know what you think of other disruptive energy sectors, such as hydrogen. It’s safer, and cleaner, and has a longer potential life expectancy than does the li-ion sector. Also, how do you feel about the aluminum ion/graphene battery. A fourth part to your set of articles might be on alternatives to the li-ion battery world.

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  2. The world simply does not have the capacity to meet the battery demand that would be created through government EV mandates. It takes over 16 years for mining projects to go from discovery and decision-to-build to first production, assuming environmental assessment processes and environmentalists’ legal challenges do not halt them along the way. If a decision were taken tomorrow to build a mine, new production might begin after 2038. More probably, the minerals requirements cannot be met until well after 2050, if then. That does not include the time required to build the refineries and metal processing plants to convert the mined materials into finished products. Even ignoring the costs and safety risks, the so-called “transition” is not happening.

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