RE: Rethink in order, Dec. 2.
Jane Vandervliet demonstrates in her piece on electric vehicles (EV) how a little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing.
She claims to be worried about the “huge” carbon footprint of the relatively tiny but growing industry, and concludes that climate change is accelerated faster by EVs than by the traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) cars, and their fossil fuel.
Alright, let’s “rethink” this theory and address some of the claims. Upstream emissions refer to the extraction process; downstream refers to all emissions that occur after the product is in the hand of the user. Even oil companies themselves will claim that 90% of emissions come in the downstream.
EVs have 0 tailpipe emissions. Also, despite the fiery claims to the contrary, with a little searching you will find EVs don’t catch fire at near the rate of ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles. Firefighters are trained to put out EV fires, and while it does require a lot of water, it is only a real issue when the battery compartment itself is compromised. A Tesla consistently gets the top safety rating of any car on the road. Not only are they structurally stronger, they are also much safer than an ICE car due to their design and safety features. For what it is worth, I was told by a firefighter captain in Mississauga that he hadn’t heard of an EV fire in the GTA during his entire career.
Many peer reviewed studies have been conducted to show that EVs over the life of a vehicle produce far less greenhouse emissions than their ICE cousins and there are good reasons governments are beginning to promote the industry to varying degrees.
Not every car company is as environmentally conscious as Tesla, but they are switching to cobalt-free batteries. The recycling of batteries is being actively taken on by companies like Redwood Materials to turn a potential problem into an opportunity to return valuable materials back into the supply stream.
Ontario, sadly, has no subsidy for purchasing EV cars, but they do seem eager to hold the hand of GM and Ford with a little corporate welfare (I am not a fan).
Ultimately, Vandervliet is possibly barking up the wrong tree, with too little knowledge, while holding the water for a fossil fuel industry that is already subsidized, according to the IMF, to the tune of $5.9 trillion a year (2020).
Perhaps this charged response has given some readers cause to reverse their thinking from the direction of last week’s “rethink.”