Electric vehicles

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John Brown

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They may eventually draw attention to the possibility that personal powered transport will not be sustainable.
It's well past its best anyway, if you look at the chaos and confusion in every town and village in the country and the amount of work needed to accommodate it; basically the destruction of large areas of town, cities, countryside, and the domination of streets and open spaces.
One odd thing is how modern cars have bloated in size and make life even more difficult - great fat paramilitary vehicles draw up every day, blocking the street outside our village school to drop off little kids who would have walked or cycled in the old days.
Boys toys! :rolleyes:
  • Road, n. A strip of land along which one may pass from where it is too tiresome to be to where it is futile to go.
 

Cooper

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To replace all UK-based vehicles today with electric vehicles (not including the LGV and HGV fleets), assuming they use the most resource-frugal next-generation NMC 811 batteries, would take 207,900 tonnes cobalt, 264,600 tonnes of lithium carbonate (LCE), at least 7,200 tonnes of neodymium and dysprosium, in addition to 2,362,500 tonnes copper. This represents, just under two times the total annual world cobalt production, nearly the entire world production of neodymium, three quarters the world’s lithium production and at least half of the world’s copper production during 2018.

Amazing that you point out it will only take one years production of these materials to replace all the ice vehicles. Why has it taken so long for manufactures to get around to doing it?
Production of course is always linked to demand. I understand that Lithium is one of the most abundant elements and Cornwall has a very good supply. I just wish I could justify the purchase of an EV but our annual mileage is so low it doesn't warrant even the traditional materials, let alone the exotic ones.
 

Jacob

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Amazing that you point out it will only take one years production of these materials to replace all the ice vehicles. Why has it taken so long for manufactures to get around to doing it?
Production of course is always linked to demand. I understand that Lithium is one of the most abundant elements and Cornwall has a very good supply. I just wish I could justify the purchase of an EV but our annual mileage is so low it doesn't warrant even the traditional materials, let alone the exotic ones.
But it will have to be continued indefinitely, not just a one off event
 

John Brown

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Amazing that you point out it will only take one years production of these materials to replace all the ice vehicles. Why has it taken so long for manufactures to get around to doing it?
Production of course is always linked to demand. I understand that Lithium is one of the most abundant elements and Cornwall has a very good supply. I just wish I could justify the purchase of an EV but our annual mileage is so low it doesn't warrant even the traditional materials, let alone the exotic ones.
I think you may have missed the fact that they talk about all the vehicles in the UK, and the resources world wide. That's how I read it, anyway.
 

Terry - Somerset

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If the transition to EV happens over 20 years, the UK may typically consume less than 5% of world output of even the most scarce elements annually.

Worldwide this will create price and availability pressures. But it also assumes no improvements in battery technology over the period which may either reduce or eliminate the need for scarce materials.

Further if the intention is to recycle at the end of life, the problem possibly being created will disappear over time.

I prefer glass full to glass empty.
 

Garden Shed Projects

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The way I understand things, the push for EVs is not aimed at making motoring cheaper, but greener. The fact that they are currantly cheaper per mile may help encourage early adopters, but it is not the raisin d'etre.

see what vindictive text has done there... A dried fruit pun...
I don’t feel that battery electric vehicles is the future. The technology is available now so this what is being promoted. Hydrogen fuel cell looks to have more legs to me and battery cars may well go the way of the humble compact disk.
I came across a video on YouTube over the weekend

look

From the thumb nail you couldn’t tell the make of the car and it looked pretty exotic. If we manage to get the infrastructure in place I think they will overtake battery cars pretty quickly.
 

niemeyjt

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Amazing that you point out it will only take one years production of these materials to replace all the ice vehicles. Why has it taken so long for manufactures to get around to doing it?
Production of course is always linked to demand. I understand that Lithium is one of the most abundant elements and Cornwall has a very good supply. I just wish I could justify the purchase of an EV but our annual mileage is so low it doesn't warrant even the traditional materials, let alone the exotic ones.

I guess the issue is it will take the world's production to satisfy the needs of replacing the UK's ICE cars. Some of the other 190+ countries in the world may also want to replace their ICE cars.
 

Garden Shed Projects

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Well I for one am not planning on hanging Teslas from my fruit trees to discourage the birds.
I am just suggesting it as technology that we all bought into that worked well and proved to just be a stepping stone into digital music that was soon overtaken as storage improved.

you may be better off hanging a Nissan Leaf from your trees 🙄
 

TominDales

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There will, of course, be challenges. I wasn't around at the time of the first ICE vehicles, but I can imagine there were similar concerns. Having clicked through and read the article you linked to, these scientists accept that we need to tackle the problem. I don't think they are advocating throwing in the towel and stoically awaiting doomsday. They are drawing attention to the challenges, which is a good thing, because you can bet Boris and his chums have never heard of dysprosium. To be honest, neither had I.
I agree, That is my reading of this article. As others have pointed out as demand increases so will supply. Its very expensive to open a new mine +£bn etc so prices tend to fluctuate as demand outstrips supply and then new production clicks in. If prices continue to rise, then alternative battery chemistries or business models become attractive.
Current predictions indicate Cobalt demand will outstrip current supply by mid about 2025.
1625484954431.png

The other big concerns is the source of cobalt. Most metals are distributed fairly uniformly across the globe, Cobalt is an exception, its main source is the DRG. The industry is concerned about sustainability and the environmental conditions from DRG mining. There have been development to produce low cobalt and zero cobalt batteries. The latest NMC 811 is an example of this development 811 refers to the proportion of metal, N (Nickle), M (manganese) C (cobalt). In the past decade the main formulation for battery chemistry has been from NMC- 111 to 625 and now 111 so Cobalt has shrunk from ca 33% to 10% of the weight of the cell. Alterative chemistries such as LFP and future chemistries such as dodium sulphur are in development to remove Cobalt completely.

Metal traders saw this trend and tried to corner the market in 2019 leading to a price hike, but they overestimated uptake of Evs and new mining capacity, so the prices has come down 2/3rs in the past 2 years. Cobalt is a fairly rare metal with not many applications so its price has always been erratic. Wars in or near the DRG have had the biggest impact on availability and price
1625485519123.png

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Magnets for motors and generators
Of more concern is the availability of rare earth elements such as Dysprosium and Neodymium. They are used to make the strong magnets in motors and generators. So wind turbines, and EVs - wither its hydrogen fuel cell or battery ev its still needs a motor. The rare earth magnets have caused a revolution in motors size and power. The avaialbity of lightweight powerful hand tools is down to these magnets, however most of todays supply comes from China and the US in particular is short on supply. In the UK there has been an announcement of a rare earth refiner investment on Teesside using ores from Tanzania. Rare earths are hard to purify as they contain Thorium a radioactive by-product. Its for that reason the mines in the US and Mexico shut in late 20th century and china became the domenant supplier. Now there is a scramble to find non-Chinese supply and purification methods that can deal with the toxic tailings in a safe way.

1625486274852.png


Recycling
The industry is already looking at recycling. Having seen the problems in ICE and other industries (plastic packaging for example), the new EV and battery makers are looking to design circular supply chains and closed loop recycling. The valuable metals are an incentive, but the whole point of EV is to be green so it needs a green end of life and second life. The view is that by 2035 most cobalt and rare earths will be available from recycling and new minerals will only be needed to supply growth in demand.

Alternative to personal transport.
As Jacob has pointed out, there are strong drivers to reduce personal transport. New models for transport, such as shared ownership and home delivery, and communication by smart phone etc are likely to reduce the demand for cars over time. By 2035 we are likely to have reached peak car ownership.
 

TominDales

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If the transition to EV happens over 20 years, the UK may typically consume less than 5% of world output of even the most scarce elements annually.

Worldwide this will create price and availability pressures. But it also assumes no improvements in battery technology over the period which may either reduce or eliminate the need for scarce materials.

Further if the intention is to recycle at the end of life, the problem possibly being created will disappear over time.

I prefer glass full to glass empty.
Most people in the industry see it this way.
Technology will help meet supply demand and recycling is will go to a new level.

Recycling is likely to be the next big tech story
At present the industry has linear supply chains and relies on the recycling industry; Viola Suez etc to sort out the mess at the end. This is changing, there is a lot of R&D on how to design for recycling and how to cope with end of life. Its a tricky thing to do and will need new supply chains and wholescale change to materials technology so will probably take until 2050 to fully implement, but its the direction of travel. It has to be, we are consuming 6 planets worth of resources right now.
In EVs there is a strong incentive to develop recycling, the whole selling point of EV's is the environmental sustainability. Also the metals are valuable and worth recovering, so its likely to be an early adopter.
 

D_W

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I don’t feel that battery electric vehicles is the future. The technology is available now so this what is being promoted. Hydrogen fuel cell looks to have more legs to me and battery cars may well go the way of the humble compact disk.
I came across a video on YouTube over the weekend

look

From the thumb nail you couldn’t tell the make of the car and it looked pretty exotic. If we manage to get the infrastructure in place I think they will overtake battery cars pretty quickly.


Decades away at least. Too expensive at this point, something like 70k in dollars for a Toyota prius style car and then more for fuel.

Fuel cells have been tried off and on since at least 1960 in the states.
 

Garden Shed Projects

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Decades away at least. Too expensive at this point, something like 70k in dollars for a Toyota prius style car and then more for fuel.

Fuel cells have been tried off and on since at least 1960 in the states.
I don’t agree.
We had a national fleet of battery electric milk floats in the UK in the 60’s and that the technology didn’t catch on untill the noughties.
I agree hydrogen is in its infancy but the cars are on the market now we just need the infrastructure to catch up.

£65000 would get you a Hyundai or Toyota. How much was a Tesla 5 years ago. It’s not the car, it’s somewhere to refuel them that’s the issue.
 

Jacob

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.....the whole selling point of EV's is the environmental sustainability. Also the metals are valuable and worth recovering, so its likely to be an early adopter.
I think the main selling point will be legislation depriving us of the unsustainable alternatives - which will be heavily resisted by industry as we know from the Exxon scandal and others. Carmakers want petrol and diesel vehicle ban to start from 2035.
We need something like the wartime utility standard https://museum.wales/articles/2168/Rationing-furniture-during-the-Second-World-War-/ for higher quality, longer life, reduced material demand, increasingly serviceable, increasingly recycleable etc. plus rationing/banning of the most wasteful products and services.
If we don't do it ourselves it will be done to us by mother nature instead!
 
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D_W

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Those are probably subsidized at that cost.

It's not just somewhere to refuel, but that somewhere also costs more than gas. If it cost more for electricity for a bev than gas, nobody would buy it.
 

TominDales

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I think the main selling point will be legislation depriving us of the unsustainable alternatives - which will be heavily resisted by industry as we know from the
The legislation is already in place in Europe. This years emission targets have condemned ICI. Its technically easer and cheaper to make EVs that meet the new target than its to make ICE vehicles that comply.
Legislation is only part of the issue, ultimately vehicle manufactures design products that appeal to consumers, as society desires greener products, the suppliers will innovate in imaginative ways to satisfy that need. The desire for sustainable products is driving innovation.
Legislation is essential when the desired change cannot compete on cost with the previous standard, having taken into account manufacturing scale factors. Ultimately consumers (and voters) will only tolerate so much legislative change that is fostered on them top down, so leaders need to win the hearts and minds of their population to effect these changes. And its a lot easier to do if the OEMs can use normal market factors to drive sales of the greener product.

I've watched governments too often trip over on environmental issue, either by not properly engaging and persuading the public and industry of the need for change (vs Macron in France last year over fuel duty, and Blair in 2001 in similar vein), or they are too timid and delay much needed policy change. However I do think the that EU legislators got the emissions control regime pretty spot on to drive the switch from ICE, shame they didn't start 10 years earlier. The technology was invited in the 1990s, it needed emissions legislation to drive industrialisation and adoption.
 
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