Where did the electricity come from? Tesla charging station. Photo credit: J Dean

Forcing Californians to buy EVs they can’t charge

The US state of California is forcing citizens to buy e-cars and at the same time admonishing them to not charge their vehicles to save electricity.

Published: September 5, 2022, 11:42 am

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    The new law is to be implemented gradually by 2035. Should there then be energy bottlenecks similar to the current one, the citizens would have practically no more mobility options, warned the media portal Panampost.

    A few days ago, the Democratic Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, signed a law that will make it mandatory for citizens to purchase new electric cars or EVs by 2035. At the same time, he called on the population to save electricity because of the current heat wave.

    The current situation makes this clear. Due to the heat wave, the government asked the population a few days ago to reduce their electricity consumption, especially between 4 pm and 9 pm. They should turn off the lights, turn off the air conditioning and, of course, “avoid using large appliances and charging electric vehicles”.

    Should there be similar energy bottlenecks in 2035, the vehicle fleet would come to a complete standstill and citizens would then have no more mobility options, Panampost pointed out.

    According to the media portal the introduction of emission-free vehicles will be taking place gradually: by 2026, 35 percent of new vehicles sold in California should be “emission-free” and by 2035 the government aims to reach 100 percent.

    The White House is constantly pushing the notion of clean energy and signing multi-million dollar plans to supposedly promote it, but the hasty passage of its plans has major flaws and contradictions, the media portal pointed out.

    In order to draw up their calculations, scientists only rarely rely on proven facts, but rather on data modelling. Depending on the assumption, electric cars are either a lot less, equally or sometimes even a lot more polluting than engine powered traditional cars.

    EVs may not be environmentally friendly

    Apart from the contradictions that the Democratic government of the state is entertaining, this is another episode of measures without a plan B, because the use of electric vehicles is not an environmentally friendly solution either, emphasized the media portal.

    Even if driving a fully electric vehicle does not contribute directly to air pollution, the way the electricity it uses is generated is key.

    An average of 60 percent of the electricity produced in the world comes from coal and gas (fossil fuels). This means that an electric car produces nearly as much CO2 per kilometer as a petrol or diesel vehicle.

    Only if the electricity is mainly generated using zero emission energy sources, such as nuclear power plants or renewable energy (wind power, solar energy, hydropower) an e-car would produce less CO2 per kilometer than a classical car.

    These car batteries however need very specific materials which are often rare. Extracting lithium or cobalt in particular have a huge environmental impact, not to mention the huge problem of recycling.

    Thus, manufacturing batteries for electric cars requires additional resources and energy, so they may have a larger environmental footprint from the production phase. EVs also generate different impacts in their operation and maintenance. They are typically heavier and could produce more tire, brake, and road dust air pollution, as their regenerative braking could reduce such particulate pollution from brakes.

    Because their batteries are made with mineral raw materials such as cobalt, which pollutes the environment when it is extracted, child labor is also used in mining.

    Companies like Google, which has been sued by families in the Democratic Republic of Congo because children who work in the DRC’s mines were injured or killed, are well aware of the problem, Panampost said.

    Ultimately, this new Californian law will restrict and limit the movement of citizens as the global energy outlook remains precarious.

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