Tag Archives: Electric car batteries

The High Cost of Electronic Cars, by Eric Peters

Electronic cars are not cheap, even though you’re not paying at the pump. From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

EVs are likely to be shorter-lived cars, this being a function of the fact that they are electronic cars. And because of that, they are even more expensive cars than they cost to buy.

Here’s why:

While it is true that an electric motor, as such, is a very simple thing (and one of the things often touted as an advantage electric cars have vs. a car with an engine, which has many moving parts) the electronics that control the motor (in an EV) are not simple. It is a foundational mistake to equate the electric motor in an electric car with the electric motor that spins a small appliance, such as a power drill. The latter has simple electronics; a speed controller – and that’s about all, besides the motor. An EV’s motor requires a computer controller which governs a myriad of operating parameters as well as the overall operation of the car, itself – and all of its myriad electronically controlled related and secondary systems, such as the drive-by-wire system, battery cooling (and heating) system as well as its charging system.

Modern combustion-engined cars have similar electronic systems, of course, that govern their myriad systems. But that is precisely why modern combustion-engined cars have become less reliable over time than the less-electronicized cars of the past and more disposable, as they age, because of the cost of replacing critical electronic controls without which the vehicle or vital systems will not operate relative to the depreciating value of the vehicle, itself.

EVs double down on that problem – by electronicizing everything. Even the heater (for the people).

And then there is the EV’s electric battery, itself – a hugely complex thing made of hundreds/thousands of individual cells, all of them a potential failure point (and fire source) and the whole thing certain to degrade in function over time the more it is used and thus the faster it will wear out, in term of its capacity to receive and retain full charge.

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Used Car Battery Problems Take Shine Off China’s “Green” New Energy Vehicles, by Shawn Li

A large-scale switch to electric cars faces the significant environmental problems of mining the rare earth elements for the batteries and then disposing of the batteries at the end of their useful lives. They’re already running into these problems in China. From Shawn Li at The Epoch Times via zerohedge.com:

In the last decade, China has rapidly expanded its “green” new energy vehicle (NEV) industry but recycling and disposing of hundreds of thousands of tons of used car batteries has become a pressing issue due to environmental concerns.

Growth in China’s NEV industry took off in 2014 when nearly 78,500 NEVs were produced and some 75,000 were sold. As of September of this year, China’s NEV registration reached 6.78 million, of which 5.52 million are fully electric vehicles.

The NEV industry predicts that its production and sales growth rate will remain above 40 percent in the next five years prompting the question of how to best manage the growing numbers of discarded lithium batteries from the NEVs.

Industry data shows that the service life of lithium batteries used in electric vehicles is generally 5 to 8 years, and the service life under warranty is 4 to 6 years. That means, tens of thousands of electric car batteries will soon need to be discarded or recycled, and millions more down the road.

According to the latest data from China Automotive Technology and Research Center, the cumulative decommissioning of China’s electric car batteries reached 200,000 tons in 2020 and the figure is estimated to climb to 780,000 tons by 2025.

Presently, most end-of-life batteries are traded in the unregulated black market, raising serious environmental concerns. If such batteries are not handled properly, they could cause soil, air, and water pollution.

“A 20-gram cell phone battery can pollute a water body equivalent to three standard swimming pools. If it is buried in the ground, it can pollute 1 square kilometer (247 acres) of land for about 50 years,” Wu Feng, a professor at Beijing Institute of Technology, once publicly stated.

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