Yup, Seventeen states, including Massachusetts, with vehicle emission standards tied to rules established in California face weighty decisions on whether to follow that state’s strictest-in-the nation new rules that require all new cars, pickups and SUVs to be electric or hydrogen powered by 2035. The hysteria ha begun.
The standard objections are that we do not have enough material to make batteries, what happens to old batteries, there are not enough charging stations, electric cars are too expensive, and what about California’s recent power gird problems?
First and foremost, the date of 2035 is thirteen years away and does not mean that all non-electric cars must be off the roads. According to Consumer Reports, an average car lasts for eight years while a well maintained car can last fifteen years, so the actual target date is 2050, twenty eight years from now. In that time, we can expect significant technology advances. We seem to forget that just sixty six years after the Wright Brothers flew at Kitty Hawk, Neil Armstrong walked on the moon.
As for recycling , each battery chemistry is recycled differently. As a general rule, the outer casing of the battery is first broken apart or disassembled. Next, the internal components are either melted, crushed, or broken apart. The various components are sorted by type, cleaned and processed, and then returned into the new product materials stream. I worked in the forklift business for years and battery recycling of batteries the size of your washing machine was an everyday thing.
Yes, some of the electricity will be generated by coal plants but even so, the efficiencies of the systems involved still leave a smaller carbon footprint. Yes, it will not be as easy to drive for ten or fifteen hours from Boston to the Outer Banks. You might have to stop along the way, rest up, have lunch, as your car recharges for one hour at a high output charging station.
Okay, what about farm equipment in the middle of hundreds of acres of wheat that run out of battery power? Again, not a problem. Today, fuel truck drives out and refills the petrol tank. In the future, a battery swapping truck will simply swap out batteries.
And so it goes…..
But the hysteria continues.
Footnote: In 2005, I purchased a Toyota Prius Hybrid. Our family put 265,000 miles on it before it was involved in a front end collision that resulted in its not passing state inspection, so we sold it for $500. Yes, it was a hybrid . Yes, it was on its original battery, had one brake job, no significant mechanical issues, and averaged 50 MPG. My sons are both over 6’2″ and we drove it to Vermont many winters to go skiing.