How To Talk To People About Electric Car Supply Chain Issues

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There’s a lot of misinformation out there about electric cars, most of it planted by companies that are petrified their business model — selling gasoline and diesel fuel — is about to suffer a Kodak moment. The executives at these companies think they have some God-given right to continue selling their death-dealing products until every drop of oil on Earth has been extracted, transported, refined, distributed, and burned.

They rail against those who say burning fossil fuels makes us sick, shortens our lifespans, and overheats our planet. Because they have virtually unlimited funds, they use that money to bribe fund politicians who support their business model. We think our elected representatives are supposed to be working for us, but, in fact, they are working for corporations who do not have our best interests at heart. [For more on this topic, read Who Will Tell The People? The Betrayal of American Democracy by William Greider. It was published in 1993 and accurately predicted the events of today.]

A few days ago, we did an article about a new study by researchers at the Yale School of Environment. It acknowledges that, yes, building electric cars and the batteries that power them creates carbon emissions, but they pale in comparison to the emissions associated with building and powering cars with internal combustion engines.

The knock on electric vehicles is like the people who rail about Tesla taking advantage of a government loan guarantee when the company was in its infancy but conveniently neglect to mention that General Motors, Chrysler, and Ford also were the beneficiaries of massive government financial assistance in recent memory.

If you are going to tell the story, tell the whole story, not just the part that favors your position. Tell people about the massive subsidies the fossil fuel industry gets every year. Tell people about the impacts on human health that result from burning fossil fuels. Doing otherwise is just flat our lying.

Engineering & Technology was so impressed with the Yale study, they featured it in a recent story for their readers. The parts quoted below were actually covered in our story as well, but they are so important, they bear repeating:

“The surprising element was how much lower the emissions of electric vehicles were,” said researcher Stephanie Weber. “The supply chain for combustion vehicles is just so dirty that electric vehicles can’t surpass them, even when you factor in indirect emissions.”

The research team combined concepts from energy economics and industrial ecology – carbon pricing, life cycle assessment, and modelling energy systems – to find if carbon emissions were still reduced when indirect emissions from the electric vehicle supply chain were factored in.

“A major concern about electric vehicles is that the supply chain, including the mining and processing of raw materials and the manufacturing of batteries, is far from clean,” said Professor Ken Gillingham. “So, if we priced the carbon embodied in these processes, the expectation is electric vehicles would be exorbitantly expensive. It turns out that’s not the case. If you level the playing field by also pricing the carbon in the fossil fuel vehicle supply chain, electric vehicle sales would actually increase.”

An Informative Video

In a comment to our prior story, CleanTechnica reader Joe Rizzi shared a video narrated by Robert Llewellyn, founder of the Fully Charged YouTube channel. It illustrates graphically (in both senses of the word) the part of the story the proponents of fossil fuels leave out. It’s the perfect way to educate your family, friends, and co-workers who may be considering the purchase of an electric car but are hesitating because of the FUD being spread around by fossil fuel companies and their apologists. Feel free to share it widely.

The future of driving is electric. A new year is upon us and every indication is it will see a dramatic increase in electric vehicle sales and a dramatic decrease in the sale of cars with infernal combustion engines. This is the moment all of us at CleanTechnica and all our loyal readers have been waiting for.

Go forth and spread the word! Driving electric saves money for drivers but it also saves people from the harmful pollutants conventional cars leave in their wake and saves the planet from more heat-trapping gases. The time for electric cars has arrived, and not a moment too soon!

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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new."

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