I found this post by Haley Zermba at satisfying in a perverse sort of way:

While you can cut down your carbon footprint by a massive margin by switching over to an EV, you just can’t get away from using finite resources completely. EV batteries contain a litany of expensive and finite rare earth metals and minerals, most notably cobalt and lithium, which cause tricky negotiations with global supply chains and which are not without their negative environmental externalities thanks to sometimes messy mining operations.

The energy revolution’s dependence on rare earth metals, which is only set to intensify, has inadvertently put a huge amount of control into the hands of China, which controls around 90% of the market for some of these resources, and has shown that it is not afraid to use that power to sway international politics and diplomacy. In fact, it has been posited that China’s dominance of these supply chains, and other countries’ reticence of that dominance, could potentially lead to a new clean energy resource war if world powers don’t tread lightly.

And now, according to a new Bank of America Global Research report, the global EV battery supply is in danger of running out completely as soon as 2025. “Our updated EV battery supply-demand model suggests the global EV battery supply will likely hit [a] ‘sold-out’ situation between 2025-26, with its global operating rates reaching above 85%,” the report reads ominously. The supply shortage will be largely a product of rapidly increasing demand in a market that is simply unprepared for the levels of EV adoption coming down the pike in the immediate term.

As world leaders feature incentives and imperatives for electric car adoption in their post-pandemic recovery policies and economic stimulus packages, and the private sector leans further into Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investment principles, the transition away from gasoline and diesel combustion engines is expected to go into overdrive. “We forecast the global operating rates of EV battery will rise to about 121% by 2030, based on announced capacity so far, implying another round of substantial CapEx cycles will likely kick in the next 2-3 years,” the BoA report went on to say.

The world needs to ramp up its EV battery production, and it needs to do it essentially overnight.

since it’s something I’ve been pointing out for over a decade now. The reject rate for EV batteries is alarmingly high and scaling production up will like as not increase the reject rate.

11 comments… add one
  • bob sykes Link

    Of course, if your EV is in Ohio, where 80% of the electricity comes from either natural gas or coal (still some), you carbon dioxide emissions are likely to equal those of a gasoline-powered car.

    The sticker mgpe mileage, typically a little under 100, only counts the electric charge drawn from the battery. The true mileage (using the DOE method developed in the Clinton administration) is more typically 35 mgpe. The difference is in the electricity generation, transmission, voltage stepping up or down, and in the charging device.

    35 mpge is actually quite good. Most gasoline cars don’t achieve that. But 100 mpge is a damned lie, and the EPA, every bit as corrupt as the FBI, is a nest of damned liars.

    I read somewhere that the newest chargers are expected to recharge a battery (to 100%??) in only 40 minutes. So every 150 to 200 miles, you pull over for a 40 minute nap. Assuming you can find a charging station, and assuming there is no line.

    See the USA in your Chevrolet… Not a chance Dinah.

    I’m 78 years old and retired. I drive less than 5,000 miles per year. My two gasoline-powered cars have 18,000 and 28,000 miles on them. I likely will never buy another car. No EV for me.

  • And you didn’t even touch on the issues with EV batteries exploding. GM is now recommending not charging up to 100%.

  • Drew Link

    “While you can cut down your carbon footprint by a massive margin by switching over to an EV…”

    Not really. In addition to the points made by Dave and Bob, the average person is clueless as to how much energy the extractive processes require. Its hard to pull atoms and molecules that have an affinity for each other apart. That’s why you find them chemically bound in nature, in a comfortable low energy state. So you have to apply energy in refining processes. Lots of it. Even lithium refined from brines (as opposed to minerals) in electrolytic processes is very energy intensive.

    But what do I know. I’m just 1/2 extractive metallurgist………

    Bob is correct. These people are smart enough to know better, and dishonest enough to pitch their bull.

  • Again, I don’t believe that EVs are useless. I think they’re a good solution in certain niches. I’m skeptical that they will solve the problem of carbon emissions from transport.

    BTW, why isn’t there more mention of small diesels? Quite a number of them do better than 35 mpg. They’re commonplace in Europe.

  • Drew Link

    “Again, I don’t believe that EVs are useless. I think they’re a good solution in certain niches.”

    Given a true all in relative energy consumption analysis, call me dubious. But at best they are scattabouts for local driving. In the golf course community I live in everyone has a Li-Ion battery powered cart.

    “BTW, why isn’t there more mention of small diesels?”

    C’mon, you know the answer. For the same reason we aren’t pursuing some form of nuclear power. The objective is ideological, not energy efficiency.

  • CuriousOnlooker Link

    Diesel’s doom was the emissions cheating scandal. It turned out Volkswagen hadn’t actually figured how to cost effective clean diesel. Europe is banning diesel because it caused worsened air quality.

    On resource consumption from creating battery — its manageable if one can reuse or recycle them. That’s why I harp that the Federal Government should set interoperable standards for batteries now. Instead of 20 years from now when we a “trash” crisis.

    In the bigger picture, EV’s is only partial contributor to carbon emissions. There is shipping and aviation — and EV’s are unlikely to work there.

  • There is shipping and aviation — and EV’s are unlikely to work there.

    As I’ve been saying there is presently no such thing as a green container ship.

  • steve Link

    Several of my staff own EVs. We cover two hospital about 50 miles away so people do have to drive their in their EVs. Has not been a problem. However, the part they seem to like best is almost never needing to take them in for maintenance. A real hassle when you have unpredictable hours and emergencies that require you to immediately respond and head into work.

    I think part of the problem is that you guys remain firmly in the past. Like when we argued about the Prius and you and Drew pretty much said you would need to change the batteries after every long drive. In fact, even then we knew the batteries were holding top much longer than expected. We are seeing much better range on EVs now. Just like the costs for energy from Solar and wind keep dropping.

    EVs will remain a niche product until you figure out how to charge them in cities. Already with their much lower maintenance rates and costs the ideal second car for many people (most households have at least 2 cars).


  • Already with their much lower maintenance rates and costs the ideal second car for many people (most households have at least 2 cars)

    I tend to agree with that. I’m not quite as sanguine as steve is about the longevity of EV batteries. For example, I think that where you live and how you store the vehicle when it’s not being used matter. Here’s what Consumer Reports found in their testing in 2019:

    Once the temperature hits the freezing mark or below, the demands on the battery increase. There isn’t really a hard and fast number where battery performance is affected, but in general, as it gets colder, the voltage and the power output decline for an EV battery, says Sam Abuelsamid, senior analyst at automotive research and consulting firm Navigant.

    Where it drops off depends in part on the battery’s chemistry and construction, although the decline is more pronounced at temperatures below 0° F, he says. But even moderately cold temperatures mean higher electrical loads to run heaters and window defoggers—all draw from the battery and reduce range.

    So, probably not ideal for Minneapolis or Fargo. Much better for San Francisco.

    Also keep in mind that there is no Moore’s Law for batteries.

  • Grey Shambler Link

    I’ve been trying to figure this inevitable EV future out.
    Established automakers are announcing daily their financial commitments to this and yet they all seem to agree that while battery technology has improved, much more investment will be required to achieve an uncertain result.
    Could it be that they listen to the wrong people?
    Alarmists, doomsayers, and accompanying hucksters are not speaking for the American consumer.
    Let’s look for a way to short this nonsense.

  • steve Link

    We hit below zero for couple of days every year it seems. Has not been a problem for people. One of my guys before joining us drove up to Scranton every day for a couple of years in his EV, a 75 mile drive each way. They took the other car to visit family in Boston.


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