Turns Out Electric Car Batteries Aren’t Made From Unicorn Farts

Can it be that current battery technology is hard on the environment? UN highlights urgent need to tackle impact of likely electric car battery production boom.

I’m not sure why the article is accompanied by a photo of a stripping-shovel in a Brazilian coal mine; I guess it is supposed to represent ecological devastation.

So it turns out that the materials needed for your electric car’s battery have some problems.

For example, two-thirds of all cobalt production happens in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). According the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), about 20 per cent of cobalt supplied from the DRC comes from artisanal mines, where human rights abuses have been reported, and up to 40,000 children work in extremely dangerous conditions in the mines for meagre income.

And in Chile, lithium mining uses nearly 65% of the water in the country’s Salar de Atamaca region, one of the driest desert areas in the world, to pump out brines from drilled wells. This has forced local quinoa farmers and llama herders to migrate and abandon ancestral settlements. It has also contributed to environment degradation, landscape damage and soil contamination, groundwater depletion and pollution.

But the good folks driving electric cars can feel secure in knowing that when they drive their vehicle, they foisted all those problems on people far away; people that they don’t need to worry about. Or something. (Hat tip to Not a Lot of People Know That.)

10 thoughts on “Turns Out Electric Car Batteries Aren’t Made From Unicorn Farts

  1. Pingback: Turns Out Electric Car Batteries Aren’t Made From Unicorn Farts — 357 Magnum | The zombie apocalypse survival homestead

  2. The carbon is important as well as cobalt but only for the older tech Lithium based cells.
    The newer tech LIFePo4 use less carbon, and much less cobalt. The NiMh in older
    batteries has the same path both can be recycled.

    As we well know the amount of copper and silicon in the motors wiring and computer
    is rather high as well. Or as a friend put thing shit don’t come outta the air, none of it.

    What’s important is how much of it when tossed on the waste pile is recovered and reused.
    Or if it doesn’t we all end up in the dark living on a pile of our trash.

    Eck!

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  3. Physics is such a bitch about that whole “there’s no such thing as something for nothing” bit.

    Maybe if there was a central bank that could make up Cobalt out of thin air, like they do with money… wait… no… that never works either.

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  4. Pingback: In The Mailbox: 07.07.20 (Evening Edition) : The Other McCain

    • China has a hold on some “rare earth elements” mostly because the EPA made mining for them in this country impossible – not just expensive, but impossible.

      The Cobalt and Lithium – as far as I know – aren’t under the control of China.

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