Electric cars are becoming increasingly popular on the roads today.
But the question is: Do they have a future?
Countries all over the world are now focusing more on the infrastructure of electric cars, building designated charging areas, and more available parking lots for electric cars.
Even though electric cars are more suitable for transportation than conventional petrol and diesel engine, we can not get rid of them completely. We still need diesel engines for ships, lorries and heavy machinery.
Current electric technology.
In an electric car, the battery is most important, and, that is where all the big manufacturers are putting their focus on. What matters most is the range an electric vehicle can travel on a full charge. At the moment, this is about 350 miles (563 Kilometers), which is not much.
Car manufactures have increased the rate at which electric cars are produced by creating and developing car batteries that are capable of holding a charge for longer, giving the consumer a higher range between charges.
According to McKinsey Company, the industry has attracted more than $400 billion in investment over the decade and about $100 billion of that coming since the beginning of 2020.
At the moment most electric car batteries are made from lithium-ion and lithium-polymer, because of their high energy density compared to their weight.
Depending on the battery, it can produce more or fewer watts per kilogram.
Lithium Battery Resources.
The question is: Do we have enough lithium on earth to make all the vehicles electric?
At the moment there are around 30 to 90 million tons of lithium on earth. Keep in mind that an electric car’s battery will have to be replaced approximately every 5 years.
Will this be enough to manufacture car batteries to make all vehicles electric?
Let’s take the 90 million tons of lithium and compare it to steel from what diesel and petrol engines are manufactured. In 2020, the world has produces 1877.5 million tones of steel, in just one year alone. More than the earth’s lithium resources altogether.
From the figures, the earth does not have enough assets to produces electric vehicles on a larger scale.
The solution for this will be to recycle the batteries. When an electric vehicle leaves the factory it will produce significantly less CO2 than a petrol or diesel engine, but, the problem lies in the production of batteries.
Mining the materials to produce the batteries such as cobalt and lithium, produces a significant amount of carbon emissions (CO2), potentially about 30% to 50% more than producing a vehicle that runs on petrol or diesel.
Now, imagine having to recycle the battery’s every 5 to 10 years on almost all the cars on the road. The emission will be equal to or higher than a petrol or diesel cars emission in its life cycle.
Plus, lithium resources are limited.
Therefore, the world should look for solution in making more hydrogen and hybrid cars and evolve the technology to reduce CO2 as much as possible.
Maintenance cost is a big selling weapon in the automotive world. An electric vehicle will cost more to buy, due to its higher production price but the running cost of the electric car will be significantly less, due to engine maintenance such as oil change, transmission oil and other engine fluid, which are not present, reducing the maintenance costs.
“You have to match the convenience of the gasoline car in order for people to buy an electric car.”— Elon, Musk