Should America’s Future Rely on BEVs? Part 2

Should America’s Future Rely on BEVs? Part 2

In Part 1, we saw that hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and internal combustion powered vehicles (ICEs) produced no more CO2 emissions than battery powered vehicles (BEVs), unless the source of electricity for charging BEVs came from renewables.

BEVs, to meet a politically imposed zero carbon objective, require huge investments of money the country doesn’t have. The national debt is currently $21 trillion (not including intragovernmental adjustments).

Quoting from Part 1:

The cost to the United States will be around $7.5 trillion. But this investment must be repeated every 20 years, based on the life of wind turbines and PV solar panels.”

There is also the question of material resources to build the batteries for BEVs.

The United State is faced with two issues:

  1. Can the United States afford to transition to a net zero carbon economy?
  2. Will the United States become dependent on other countries for the materials it uses in batteries?

Today, the United States is essentially energy independent, with the ability to supply all its energy needs from North America. 

The United States is a leader in many energy technologies, but not in the manufacture of batteries.

The United States is dependent on foreign countries for both the technology and the mineral resources to make batteries.

The following chart from the International Energy Agency (IEA) establishes the three top countries in extracting and processing the minerals needed to transition to a zero carbon economy.

While the United States is a leader in the extraction and processing of fossil fuels, it is a laggard in the extraction and processing of the materials needed to build batteries for BEVs.

The predominant leader in the extraction and processing of these minerals is China.

Industries in the United States are investing heavily in BEVs, under the questionable assumption that there is a climate emergency.

General Motors has announced it will invest $35 billion through 2025 in BEVs. Ford has announced it will invest $22 billion through 2025. Fiat Chrysler has announced it will use A123 systems, a Chinese controlled company, as its battery supplier.

GM and Ford have aligned themselves with LG Chem and SK Innovation, respectively, to build batteries in the United States. These are both South Korean companies. Panasonic, another battery manufacturer based in Japan, is aligned with Tesla.

GM announced it will no longer sell ICE vehicles after 2035. Ford made similar, but less all inclusive promises.

China, Japan and South Korea lead in battery technology, with the United States scrambling to get up to speed. 

It will be very difficult, if not impossible, for the United States to gain a leadership position in battery technology.

There is a holdout in this striving to be the most “climate friendly” car company, and it’s Toyota. 

As pointed out in Part 1, Toyota is focused on hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), and has only committed to producing “electrified” vehicles. While this includes BEVs, it would appear as though Toyota is hedging its bets.

Transitioning from ICEs to BEVs is a shift from a fuel-intensive to materials-intensive energy system, which places the United States at a disadvantage.

Is it in America’s best interest to put all its eggs in one basket, i.e, BEVs?

. . .



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4 Replies to “Should America’s Future Rely on BEVs? Part 2”

  1. Donn,
    I was checking the stats on light vehicles registered in the U.S.A. Seems we have about 280 million light trucks and automobiles. So far about 1.3 million total EV’s, Hydrids and alternative fuel vehicles. Also, most of our total energy is used for transportation, so if we were to magically produce 280 million EV’s in ten years the total energy now supplied by petroleum would need to be supplied over the electric grid. An enormous increase in electric load. I keep coming back to the fact that currently we use about 100 Quadrillion Btu’s per year. Last year, I think electricity generation was about 37% of the 100 Quads. As we move forward to more electric vehicles then the energy demand is likely to remain at about 100 + Quadrillion Btu’s. Solar and wind was less than 10% of the total when the old hydro units and Biomass plants are taken out of the 12% renewables. The DC Swamp needs some experienced power engineers that have similar experience as we do, plus a touch of Common Sense too 🙂

    • Thanks for your comments. No question the DC swamp needs to do their homework, if their intentions were honorable, which I doubt.
      NREL says we would have to double our generation of electricity if we were to use nothing but BEVs and also use electricity for heating our homes. This would be impossible if we tried to do so with wind and solar.
      My special report, Green Nightmare for Americans, describes how difficult and costly this would be.
      The report establishes some key takeaways. The cost would be $7.5 trillion and that cost would have to be repeated every 20 years because of the short 20 year estimated life of wind and solar installations. Assuming wind and solar were actually viable alternatives.

  2. An excellent broad view of future energy needs. In our homes are dozens of items that were previously manual operation but are now electric. For example, the simple toothbrush.