Conversation Friday: Electric cars, what is the deal?

I’ve decided to launch a new series, Conversation Friday, where I discuss a leading topic in the automotive and tech world and get you, my dear viewers, also involved in the conversation.

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As we know, electric cars have seen popular demand over the last few years, with activists like Greta Thunberg and Governments putting pressure on automotive manufacturers to meet emission demands. Which also caused quite a few emission scandals, VW in particular. The real question remains, are electric cars just a temporary gimmick and trend or are they indeed the solution to our problem?

The UK, in particular, has set a ban that by 2030 it will be illegal to purchase new internal combustion engine (ICE) cars. Therefore, new and innovative resources have been funded to find a solution, as such electric vehicles are looking more and more feasible as the replacement for their ICE counterparts.

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On the negative side, electric car batteries can only last about ten years before needing to be replaced, and even though they can be recycled, about 50% of them can be at a time. They are pretty toxic, harmful and very potent to the environment, which in return becomes quite a hypocritical solution. Some organisations use recycled batteries, calling it the Second Life, as they still use and repurpose for the domestic market. A source stated that the SmartHubs project, an energy system in West Sussex comprising 1,000 second-life electric-car batteries, is set to “provide cleaner, lower-cost energy for use in social housing, transport, infrastructure, private homes and local businesses.”

The other factor is that one single car battery production can take between 6 to 8 tonnes of CO2 to develop a battery that also creates a negative impact on the environment, not to mention a necessary use of pure metals and materials, which raises concern. As another source identified, “Cobalt production is a critical issue for battery sustainability and the future of electric mobility. Much of it is mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the process raises ecological severity, ethical and human rights concerns, so reducing dependency on it as demand for batteries rises is one of the most significant challenges”.

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This is merely touching the tip of the iceberg, though I’d argue in saying that electric cars are not the future. They are just a cool trend that convinces those who lack understanding or hatred towards ICE vehicles. Below is a list of the other ethically and ecologically viable solutions that could have a positive impact on the world and reduce its carbon footprint:

  • Natural Gas Vehicles (NVG)
  • BioNGV or Biomethane
  • Hydrogen Vehicles
  • Biofuels include ethanol
  • H20 and Salt Water engines

On the other hand, Porsche may have cracked the case and found us a long-lasting solution; for the past few years, they have been developing and researching synthetic fuel, which is more or less the same fuel type that we use currently, but less harmful to the environment and will be ethically sourced. Porsche themselves have stated that in 2022 they will have a dedicated plant that will produce sustainable fuel for combustion-engine Porsche cars.

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What are your thoughts on this?

Sources and Images:

https://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/industry-news-environment-and-energy/porsche-breaks-ground-synthetic-fuel-plant-chile

https://www.sneci.com/blog/what-are-the-different-alternatives-to-the-electric-vehicle/

https://www.drivingelectric.com/your-questions-answered/840/electric-car-battery-recycling-all-you-need-to-know#:~:text=They%20feature%20in%20pretty%20much,car%20batteries%20are%20highly%20recyclable.

https://www.capgemini.com/2019/04/second-life-batteries-a-sustainable-business-opportunity-not-a-conundrum/#_ftnref1

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