If we have to go through all the trouble of tearing every last ounce of lithium off the planet just to be able to send nine billion ton electric vans down the road on autopilot, they better be good for the environment. All this and more in The morning shift for April 11, 2022.
1st Gear: New Study Claims 74 Tons of CO2 Saved vs. 45
I guess if we’re building gigantic pickups anyway, they might as well be electric. A new study suggests that EV vans do a lot of good in keeping CO2 out of the atmosphere, even compared to EV cars. Since Bloomberg:
Greenhouse gas emissions in the United States in 2019 totaled 6.6 billion metric tons, with the transportation sector being the worst polluter. Sedans, SUVs and pickup trucks accounted for 1.1 billion metric tons. According to a study from the University of Michigan Center for Sustainable Systems commissioned by Ford, over its lifetime, a battery-powered vehicle will reduce emissions by:
- 74 metric tons for a pick-up
- 56 metric tons for an SUV
- 45 metric tons for a sedan
There’s I guess a bigger question of what happens if Americans actually all try an electric pickup, find it absolutely sucks to tow half the time a year they bother and hate these things ? Ford seems aware of what is at stake:
“This vehicle is a test for the adoption of electric vehicles”, [Chief Executive Officer Jim] Farley said when the truck was unveiled last May. “We should all be watching very carefully how this is going.”
I’m not sure exactly what Ford’s contingency plan is if the Lightning fails. To give up? Blame us?
2nd Gear: In fact, we are going to have to extract a lot more lithium
All this saved CO2 does not come from nowhere! If you want high-end, heavy-duty electric mics, you’ll need gigantic lithium-ion batteries, and that’s not free, because the FinancialTimes reminds us all:
Battery makers are facing a severe shortage of lithium, underscoring the need to challenge China’s dominance in raw material supply chains, an Australian lithium producer has warned.
Stuart Crow, chairman of Lake Resources, said Western companies and governments had failed to build adequate supply chains for lithium, making the sudden boom in electric vehicle manufacturing unsustainable.
“There just won’t be enough lithium on the surface of the planet, no matter who develops and who delivers, there just won’t be,” he said. “Automakers are starting to sense that battery makers may not be able to deliver.”
It is perhaps unsurprising that this news comes from Australia, the main lithium producing country.
3rd gear: I guess now that Russia has invaded Ukraine, everyone likes hydrogen
When it comes to cleaner transport, Europe suddenly seems interested in finding alternatives to natural gas now that the country that sends natural gas to the rest of Europe is committing war crimes and ethnic cleansing. Since Bloomberg:
Europe’s effort to to wean of Russian natural gas generates billions of dollars of new commitments for the construction of a low-carbon hydrogen market.
A nearly 450% jump in gas prices in Europe last year made the green fuel of the future cost-competitive about a decade earlier than expected, according to BloombergNEF. Today, investment funds are joining governments and utilities in ambitious plans to make hydrogen a viable substitute for fossil fuels in manufacturing, transportation and heating.
“It’s kind of a tipping point,” said Phil Caldwell, chief executive of Ceres Power Holdings Plc, a UK-based hydrogen technology company. “You’re going to see that capital coming in large scale now. There is no turning back.
Momentary fads in power consumption can have real long-term impacts on the road, like the year everyone bought diesel cars in the 80s when they feared Germany would ban leaded petrol and that they cannot drive freely across Europe on holiday. .
4th gear: GM sales in China fell 21%
Things don’t look good for GM in China right now, because Automotive News reports:
GM sales fell 21% to 613,000 in China in the first quarter from a year earlier. Sales of its top-selling Chevrolet brand fell nearly 20% over the same period. running or stopping and risking delayed deliveries at a time when demand for vehicles is high.[…]GM said in March that its manufacturing facilities were operating normally in Shanghai and were unaffected by the city’s lockdown measures.
5th Gear: Nio, VW, SAIC still closed in China due to Covid
GM is far from alone in having trouble selling cars in China. Hell, a lot of companies are struggling to build anything, like Reuters reports. First, there’s the upstart EV Nio:
Nio Inc. said on Saturday it had suspended production after measures taken by China to contain the recent surge in COVID-19 cases disrupted operations at major suppliers.
“Since March, due to epidemic-related reasons, the company’s supplier partners in multiple locations, including Jilin, Shanghai and Jiangsu, have suspended production one after another and have yet to recover,” he said. said the company on its mobile app.
“Because of the impact of this Nio had to stop car production.
But also Tesla and VW, which are also Shanghai-centric:
Tesla has suspended production at its Shanghai factory since March 28, Reuters reported, after the city launched a two-stage lockdown that was later extended citywide.volkswagen plant in joint venture with FAW Group in Changchun, the provincial capital of Jilin, has been closed since mid-March, while its Shanghai plant with SAIC Motor Corp. has been closed since April 1.
Reverse: The metaphor leaves for the moon
You know how come nobody ever talks about all the other boring Apollo missions where things doesn’t be mistaken:
Neutral: How are you?
I have now locked my keys in my car twice in two weeks. How long will I continue my streak? Maybe I can set some kind of record.