McClaughry: Electric vehicles and African child labor

By John McClaughry

A few weeks ago I devoted three WDEV radio scripts to the pros and cons of switching to an electric vehicle. This is a large topic to deal with in five minutes of air time, so I want to add two thoughts now.

After citing some advantages, I said “Their vulnerable point is the thousand-pound battery. Repeated discharging and recharging cycles degrade it, and operation in cold climates diminishes performance and battery life, reasonably estimated to be fifteen years.”

One of the EV experts I learn from emailed to tell me that my 15 year estimate for lifetime of a thousand pound EV battery was far too high in actual operation. He said eight years was a far better practical estimate. I was far too generous with the 15 years.

Another input was more interesting. It featured an article on this point by an old friend of mine, Amory Lovins, one of the really inventive minds of our time, who Sen. Shumlin brought in to address the legislature here in 2007.

To my charge that cobalt, mined by children in Africa under appalling conditions, is essential to battery composition, Amory writes that that is true now for one class of car-battery chemistries, but others use little cobalt or none at all. Standard-range Tesla car batteries use no cobalt.

What I said was true at this moment, but Amory believes that new technologies like iron-nitride and control software and power electronics made of silicon may soon conquer the cobalt problem.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Image courtesy of Vermont Agency of Natural Resources

5 thoughts on “McClaughry: Electric vehicles and African child labor

  1. This conservative Republican drives a Tesla, it’s the fastest, safest & by far the funnest vehicle I’ve ever owned.

  2. I remember seeing playwright David Mamet in and around Montpelier in the early 90’s…for many years he had a house in Cabot/Marshfiled. He sold it now. He was also a one time professor at Goddard College – and Mamet used to be uber liberal, now uber Conservative. Mamet has a way with words and here is a great quote by him, Mamet “woked” up!….”…‘In order for democrats, liberals, progressives, et al, to continue their illogical belief systems they have to pretend not to know a lot of things’… ”

    Liberal Progressives love all “feel good” headlines of EV cars..Unicorns and Rainbows…..but are clueless that they just can’t ever be what they wish….becuase there is not enough of the minerals/metals to make all the batteries required to force all to drive electric…….Cobalt, Lithium (especially), Cadmium….Nickel etc…..and the two countries that have largest mining operations for these minerals are, guess who….China and Russia. Good luck with that.

  3. Yesterday someone sent me a video of a man whose EV battery ran out, so he opened his trunk to reveal a small gasoline generator, designed with a plug to charge the EV. Looked up the generator and found it is a fairly common item. Comes with a warning not to charge the EV with the generator while driving. I hope people aren’t driving around with gasoline cans in their trunks.

    • How about riding the battery buses in Paris?

      ALL 149 BATTERY TRANSIT BUSES were taken off the streets of Paris, after TWO fires in ONE MONTH.

      Why is Vermont still distributing these BATTERY buses?

      BATTERY-POWERED Transit Bus EXPLODES While Parked at a Street Curb; Watch Video.

      A million-dollar BATTERY-POWERED transit bus (which costs about 3 times as much as a regular transit bus), parked at a street curb, suddenly has smoke coming from the roof, then it explodes, and burns fiercely for hours, until it burns itself out.
      BTW, dousing the flames with water or foam has NO effect.
      Luckily, no passengers were aboard
      Watch video
      Your children could be on a cozy, snuggly, feel-good, battery school bus soon (which costs about 3 times as much as a regular school bus), if VT-DPS, GMP, VT-PUC, and scare-mongering-Legislator nutcases have THEIR way of saving the world, with YOUR MONEY.
      Electric Bus in Paris Spontaneously Explodes

      Readers have heard of Teslas spontaneously exploding over the years (read: here) but never an electric bus until now.

      Last Friday, a video surfaced online of French public transport operator RATP’s bus bursting into flames within seconds in Paris. Luckily the bus wasn’t crowded, and passengers were able to exit quickly.

      AFP notes that all 149 electric buses manufactured by Bollore SA have been taken off the road.é-

      “The bus driver immediately evacuated all the passengers. Nobody was hurt,” RATP said. The city’s fire department said the blaze took 30 firefighters to extinguish.

      This isn’t the first time one of these buses caught fire. On April 4, in central Paris, another bus experienced a similar explosion.

      In both incidents, there were no injuries. The video is shocking because it shows only a few seconds for the lithium batteries to ignite, giving occupants inside the bus barely any time to exit.

      First responders in many parts of the world aren’t adequately prepared nor trained to handle lithium battery fires amid the proliferation of EVs on streets and highways.

      It takes 20+ tons of water to extinguish a Tesla vehicle battery fire.

      A combustion engine needs, on average, 3 tons of water to extinguish.
      EVs are not so ECO-friendly!!


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