It takes 500,000 lbs of materials to produce one 1,000 lb electric car battery.
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— Manhattan Institute (@ManhattanInst) September 14, 2022
Mills Full text: “There’s no such thing, of course, as a zero-emissions vehicle. The real question is, where are the emissions associated with the electric car? B Because what you do with an electric vehicle is you don’t eliminate emissions; you export them somewhere else. You have to dig up about 500,000 pounds of materials to make a single 1000-pound battery. it takes 100 to 300 barrels of oil to manufacture a battery that can hold one barrel of oil equivalent of energy. Just manufacturing the battery can have a carbon debt rate ranging from 10 tons to 40 tons of co2, and the plans that are in place to increase the use of batteries will require an increase in production of minerals like lithium, cobalt, zinc — demand for those minerals will increase between 400% and 4,000%. There isn’t enough mining in the world to make enough batteries for that many people for their car.”
Mark P. Mills Excerpt: Volkswagen (VW) calculates that a diesel car emits less CO2 than an EV for the first 70,000 miles it is driven. How can this be? Fabricating one EV battery entails mining about 250 tons of rock to secure the minerals needed. The energy used in the mining ecosystem—oil, coal, and natural gas—means that one EV has a carbon debt equal to emitting between eight and 20 tons of CO2 before its first mile driven. …
One can begin with a reality that cannot be blinked away: energy is needed for everything that is fabricated, grown, operated, or moved. It’s easy to ignore the benefits of cheap energy when it’s cheap, but not so much when it isn’t. Consider, to take one example, that more than half the recent rise in wheat prices arose directly from far higher costs for the natural gas used to make fertilizer. Consider as well that digital devices and hardware—the most complex products ever produced at scale—require, on average, about 1,000 times more energy to fabricate, pound for pound, than the products that dominated the 20th century.
Historically, the energy costs of manufacturing a product roughly tracked the weight of the thing produced. A refrigerator weighs about 200 times more than a hair dryer and takes nearly 100 times more energy to fabricate. But it takes nearly as much energy to make one smartphone as it does one refrigerator, even though the latter weighs 1,000 times more. The world produces nearly 10 times more smartphones a year than refrigerators. Thus, the global fabrication of smartphones now uses 15% as much energy as does the entire automotive industry, even though a car weighs 10,000 times more than a smartphone. The global Cloud, society’s newest and biggest infrastructure, uses twice as much electricity as the entire nation of Japan. And then, of course, there are all the other common, vital needs for energy, from heating and cooling homes to producing food and delivering freight.
Bio: Mark P. Mills is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a faculty fellow at Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science. … Mills served in the White House Science Office under President Reagan and subsequently provided science and technology policy counsel to a variety of private-sector firms, the Department of Energy, and U.S. research laboratories…
Early in his career, Mills was an experimental physicist and development engineer at Bell Northern Research (Canada’s Bell Labs) and at the RCA David Sarnoff Research Center on microprocessors, fiber optics, missile guidance, earning several patents for his work. He holds a degree in physics from Queen’s University, Ontario, Canada.