September 25, 2022
The hidden truths about your electric car
By Kent Moss
What are the implications of purchasing an electric vehicle (E.V.)? Let’s find out.
A new full-size E.V. capable of traveling about 300 miles with a single charge currently sells for about $60,000. Typical E.V. battery replacement after 3–5 years of normal use sells for $10,000–$15,000. This type lithium battery replacement is handled only by an authorized dealership. On the other hand, a new full-size gas vehicle (G.V.) sells for approximately $40,000. Typical battery replacement for the same normal use sells for $100–$150 and can be replaced and installed by the individual owner.
Let’s consider the cost of ownership of driving a vehicle 100,000 miles. For the E.V., an 8-hour charge, which is good for a range of about 300 miles, is now about $8 per charge, or about $2,700. The E.V. cost includes a $60,000 initial cost plus the $2,700 charging cost and a $10,000 battery, totaling $72,700. For the G.V., the cost includes $40,000 initial cost plus $300 battery (2) replacements and 4,000 gallons of gasoline, averaging 25 miles per gallon at current gas price of $3.50 per gallon, or $14,000, and $2,000 maintenance, which totals $56,300. It follows that the price for gasoline would have to be about $7.60 per gallon for ownership cost of the E.V. to be equivalent to that of a traditional G.V. These numbers are part of the hidden truths.
A typical E.V. battery weighs one thousand pounds and is about the size of a car trunk. It contains 25 pounds of lithium; 60 pounds of nickel; 44 pounds of manganese; 30 pounds of cobalt; 200 pounds of copper; and 400 pounds of aluminum, steel, and plastic. This type of battery contains over 6,000 individual lithium-ion cells. The majority of these materials are derived from mining operations worldwide. To manufacture each E.V. auto battery, the following material must be processed: 25,000 pounds of brine for the lithium, 30,000 pounds of ore for the cobalt, 5,000 pounds of ore for the nickel, and 25,000 pounds of ore for copper. All told, suppliers must dig up 500,000 pounds of the earth’s crust for just one battery. Sixty-eight percent of the world’s cobalt, a significant part of an E.V. battery, comes from the Congo, where they have no pollution controls and minimal regulation, and they employ children, who die from handling this toxic material.
There are no emissions directly from an E.V. itself. However, there are many from mining operations. These facts are not generally publicized.
E.V.s can and should be part of the solution, but doing away with fossil fuels is not a viable alternative. According to Texas comptroller Glenn Hager, a complete divestment of the industry not only is impractical and illogical, but runs counter to the economic well-being of our country and its citizens. The U.S. economy depends on the use of fossil fuels such as natural gas and coal for power generation, and gasoline and diesel for transportation and airline industries. More research, study, and trials must be done to change our current energy sources in a responsible way.