Due to climate change concerns, countries are turning away from fossil fuels.
The auto industry is going electric. China (the biggest car market) and the European Union are major proponents of electric vehicles.
For years, the Chinese government has been funding purchase subsidies, building more EV charging stations and battery-swapping facilities. Mandates are imposed on car manufacturers - a certain percentage of cars sold by the company must be electric. Top electric automakers Tesla Inc and BYD Auto Inc secretly soaked up the market share given up by legacy carmakers. By 2030, forty per cent of vehicles sold in China will be powered by battery packs.
Most EU member states offer economic incentives with subsidies up to thirty per cent of the purchase cost. The United States, though being a latecomer, will catch up under Biden’s administration. Billions of dollars on EV infrastructure and incentives for car buyers are likely on their way.
“The transition to EVs is both happening far later than many people had hoped for and far faster than most legacy [automakers] expected two or three years ago.”
Despite battery fires, recalls, and a global chip shortage, the EV boom is not going away any time soon.
Source of electricity
“Zero emission” claims from EV automakers should be taken with a grain of salt. Manufacturing lithium-ion battery pack require cobalt. It is not sustainable and ethical to mine cobalt. Reports of excessive use of child labour and dangerous working conditions in cobalt mines have been in the news for years. Workers dig cobalt ore with bare hands.
Keep in mind: electric vehicles are only as clean as their power supply. Electric cars don’t power themselves as fuel vehicles do. They rely on charging cables that ultimately connect to a wind park, a solar farm or a fossil fuel power station.
EVs in Europe are generally cleaner. They emit fifty per cent fewer greenhouse gases than typical vehicles, thanks to growing numbers of wind farms and nuclear stations.
Electric vehicles, boasting themselves “green and clean”, can be way dirtier in China, where half of its electricity relies on coal-fired power plants. The situation might soon change as China invests billions of dollars in the sustainable energy industry.
Nuclear fusion, the “holy grail” of the energy research field, is grabbing attention again. Following recent breakthroughs, researchers from JET managed to generate enough energy for tens of thousands of homes in only five seconds.
Nuclear fusion is much safer than current fission-based nuclear power plants. Unlike fission, fusion does not trigger a runaway chain reaction, which caused the Chernobyl and Fukushima disaster.
- Fusion is cheaper to operate than fission. The only waste of fusion is helium.
- Fusion is four million times more efficient than burning fossil fuel.
EVs and the fusion-based technology have the potential to slow down climate change.
If an electric vehicle is powered by fossil fuel, there is no point in buying one. The source of electricity in EVs deserves more attention, so is emerging clean energy technology.