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Electric vehicles not the answer to a cleaner environment

I would like to be shown how electric vehicles are going to provide a “low-carbon future,” as stated by Minister of Energy, Mines and Low-carbon Innovation Bruce Ralston. The world is supposedly saved by EV buyers who can afford to pay $50,000 to $100,000 – and receive tens of thousands back in subsidies, tax credits, rebates and free recharges at public expense.

But what about the manufacture of these ‘virtuous’ vehicles and their batteries?

Half-ton batteries to haul around and lighter aluminum bodies to compensate for that weight. Aluminum that requires eight times more energy to produce than steel and leaves behind toxic red mud. Components of an EV battery: Lithium (15kg), nickel (16 to 20 kg), cobalt (a toxic metal – 10kg), the mining of which causes considerable environmental and human damage in Asia, South America, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and elsewhere. Eighty per cent of EV batteries are currently manufactured in China and other parts of Asia, with energy from coal.

EVs, like other cars, still require carbon-intensive infrastructure like highways and parking lots (goodbye farmland and green spaces in cities). Their tires still shed toxic fine particles (an average of a pound per tire per year), a considerable source of air, soil and water pollution. The processes to recycle EV batteries are not carbon-free.

In B.C., dams provide hydroelectricity. The millions of tons of concrete used to build them are carbon-free, right? The farmland and forests lost, the populations displaced, the treaties with First Nations ignored, the aquatic life impacted, these don’t matter, right? Anything for a ‘green’, ‘clean’ ride. And reservoirs release methane, an egregious GHG.

People who think their EV magically runs on rain may be a bit naive.

And will road crash human fatalities, to say nothing of the animal ones – currently estimated to be 1.3 million per year worldwide – be any less with EVs on the roads? The private car-centered system of transportation is hardly sustainable or equitable.

Marie Roulleau

Victoria

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