One problem has been largely ignored: the batteries. They are environmentally intensive to make, expensive and ironically need enormous amounts of energy to recycle, and then only a fraction of the material can be recovered. Taking a different approach from selling the cars - mandating that companies produce them, paying companies to produce them, then paying customers to buy them - politicians who learned how toxic the batteries are decided to mandate that companies recycle more in the future than pesky science makes possible now.
There are two problems with that. First, science does not work that way or both solar panels and batteries would not have this problem. Companies tried to make solar panels viable for 70 years and they still are not, and there hasn't been a meaningful breakthrough in batteries in 30. Reality does not matter, politicians in Europe are still demanding that more of the batteries be recycled while simultaneously forcing more batteries that can't be recycled to be sold. The environmental logic of all that is very complex, you have to be a politician to understand it.
A new overview looks at some of these challenges. Cobalt prevents corrosion in the battery, for example - a concern when battery life is already only 5 years up to maybe 10 - but is tremendously damaging to the environment while nickel is cheaper and easier but harms battery life. The paper posits that old batteries too unreliable for cars can be used to try and level out the booms and busts of solar and wind power. That would reduce the problem by 17 percent, they believe.
Their other recommendation is...more subsidies. "Incentivize" companies to make recycling worthwhile. When has that ever worked? Is corn ethanol or the environment improved since Vice-President Al Gore forced higher costs and lower engine performance on Americans to, as he later admitted, appeal to Iowa corn farmers before his Presidential campaign? Not at all. It's been worse. The Obama administration even turned over 5,000,000 acres of federal conservation land to corn farmers. How was that an environmental win? Everyone hates ethanol. It was bad science and worse policy but sadly typical of government when 'science' is only accepted based on how many donors believed or deny it.
What hasn't been mandated and subsidized? Cell phones.
- EU Says It Will Recycle 70% Of Electric Car Batteries- Here's Why That's Actually Worse For The Environment
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- Sweden Wants To Ban Any Car That Isn't Electric- And It Could Work
- EPA Is Lowering The Ethanol Mandate Below 2020 Levels- They Should Lower It To Zero
- Biofuels Are A Negative For The Climate And We Can Thank Environmentalists For That