I like automobiles and don't want them banned, but the real problem that we have is that we're dependent on an unscalable transportation solution: cars.
Furthermore, lithium is an extremely abundant mineral. It's available pretty much everywhere, including the deserts of Nevada and Australia. The idea that we have to destroy rare ecosystems to get it is ridiculous.
It’s not that Lithium is actually going to be in short supply, it simply collects in different areas.
>the average electric vehicle battery requires around 10 kg of [lithium]. In turn, 5.3 tons of lithium carbonate ore yield one ton of lithium
This would suggest that 53kg of ore would be enough to provide one car's worth of lithium.
I could see this happening for lithium also. Get the quantity in global circulation to the level we need and then live off that for the future.
Now, you can say the same thing for oil. Sure. But EVs are bad for the environment and its not obvious they're even a net good.
- You're commenting on a thread about a collapsing water table due to Li extraction.
- Li's price has risen and projected to continue to do so for quite some time.
- You post that Li extraction is cheap, clean and widely available in TX (perhaps the most covetous state of the Union?). Money is literally in a capped oil well and Texans are too lazy to pick it up.
Perhaps Li isn't as easy and clean to extract as you were led to believe?
Tesla has expressed interest in developing a lithium refinery in Texas, so we might see some hoses drinking from those old wells soon enough.
Brine has to be pumped to evap pools and then refined.
>Piedmont Lithium .. will establish a lithium hydroxide processing, refining and manufacturing facility in Southeast Tennessee
I don't think Piedmont is getting into the ore, or brine extraction. They are processing the salts into hydroxide.
Funny enough, soon after this announcement, elon announced his intention to do the same with Tesla.
>its not obvious they're even a net good.
It is extremely obvious. Even if the relevant region of the Andes is completely desertified (which I would prefer not happen) the scale of impact is a pittance next to global warming.
For the most part, Countries are currently mining/producing about 1% of their reserves per year (roughly), and that's a fraction of the resources (which is the 86 MT number).
From the data though -- Reserves seem to be climbing over time, so while there is a dramatic uptick in lithium mining, it doesn't seem like we've hit peak reserve/resources yet.
My dad comes from that region so I really appreciate that you'd rather the area not become a desert just so some SV bro can virtue signal with a Tesla.
Personally, Id rather Californians used their own water to extract their own Li to power their own Teslas.
As to the obviousness of the net good, actually it isn't. Thats why studies are done. Even if it's a net environmental benefit (comparing different types of pollution is a massive value judgement, btw) it doesn't follow its ethically a benefit for the reason outlines above - why should by father's family become environmental refugees?
You're comparing losing a small part of the Andes to half the Mediterranean basin (desertification), a third of the Amazon, the whole world's coastline below 2 meters AMSL, and we don't even know what to expect from the effects of heat stress on wildlife, but we can expect it to kill plenty of people directly. And that's just what I can fit in a sentence.
Damage to the environment of the subtropical Andes is probably avoidable and should be avoided. There are other ways to get lithium. There are also alternatives to evaporation ponds that could let you put water back in the ground. But it's annoying when everyone thinks their pet issue is as important as the worst environmental threat humanity has faced in recorded history.
1880 AD: Furthermore, oil is an extremely abundant resource. The idea that we have to destroy rare ecosystems to get it is ridiculous.
142 years later: Look how they massacred my boy
16kg of gasoline lasts 1 "cycle" for 18-45 miles. The output requires significant energy input to capture and convert the co2 and H2O back into a fuel.
There is a chasm between “EVs are a false solution” and “we can snap out fingers and implement transit”.
I am all for reducing the share of cars in traffic, but that will take quite some time and not replace all cars. So we need more environment friendly cars and those would be electric.
These changes are tied to the demand for a resource intensive new product in a way which barely compares to the established production of ICE vehicles using supply chains that are decades old. With all that this requires, we can certainly spend a little time thinking about painting bike lanes and subsidizing ebikes. You can make 80-100 ebike batteries or you can make a single electric car battery. We should really consider how diversifying our transport infrastructure could facilitate a faster change to electric transport while reducing our impact on the natural world.
Note that I agree with you - if we are going to have cars then they should ideally be electric. But some people see EVs as kind of an ultimate solution, and those people are mistaken. Which is why I and many others are screaming about the need to look at transportation in a holistic way rather than a one size fits all "replace ICE with EVs" approach. Cars were never ideal to begin with, lets not perpetuate old mistakes with a new resource intensive type of car.
Instead of buying a car, you pay for a subscription. Instead of taking your own car you call a car to come at your house and pick you up.
Less cars standing parked at the parking lots at the office 8-10 hours a day. Less cars parked at the grocery stores. Less cars parked at home.
Less cars needed to be built to transport the same amount of people as today.
Customer service is non-existent and I can’t afford to pay to remove the down rank event.
Also it is hard to imaging taking a car to the grocery store, shopping for ten minutes, and then waiting for a new car versus hiring the car to stay waiting.
However, similar density (standard or population-weighted) alone doesn't automatically make public transit any more politically or socially viable. According to an early paper on COVID-19 death rates, population-weight density (but not standard density) could explain cross-country variance in the initial rate of spread of COVID-19, but not the subsequent evolution of the pandemic. https://arxiv.org/pdf/2005.01167.pdf For the latter, the researchers needed to turn to the Hofstede cross-cultural measure of individualism to explain country variance.
That points to the more likely reason the U.S. has trouble with public transit--not because we live sparsely (we don't), but because of our highly individualistic culture. IOW, we don't like it. Indeed, as COVID-19 has arguably shown, as compared to many other countries, we would literally prefer to die than to be more pro-social.
Should we move to EVs while we're building trains? Of course. Have we started moving to EVs without any movement on trains? Sadly, yes.
You may not realize it, but California's GDP is many times "most European countries." They have a way to go to catch up.
This is because the US is no longer capable of infrastructure projects. There are number of reasons why and good articles on the topic if you are interested.
And higher taxes usually come before the results.
Also, California has Elon Musk doing everything he can to avoid hearing the word "train".
Since 150 years an extensive tram network existed, with horse carriages like in many other European cities before it was electrified.
Every part of the city is walkable and always has been.
Few cities in the US are comparable, maybe New York but it's not really desirable to live there for a lot of reasons - being full of cars in a place where none should be being one of them.
When the population are used to this and the car trafic goes down, the bike lane will be too crowded to be a two-way. Then you do the same on the other side of the street and make them both one-way roads with car lanes in the middle.
In our town they are rebuilding the bus stops on streets so if two busses stop, they will block the whole road for car traffic. The bikes can pass on the separate bike lanes though. This by design so people will choose bike instead of car. Not quite thought through though since this will also block blue-light traffic...
Labor cost and cost of living is so high that it prohibits the existence of small neighborhood stores. I live in South America and have lived in many different places here, you can buy everything within walking distance wherever you are. In my neighborhood probably 5% of the houses have a small shop. Twice per week the streets turn into a market in different parts of the city. Even in the big cities you have small convenience stores operated by families in every corner. Public transportation is probably the best in the world, you can go anywhere without a car for very low prices - even for our income levels.
Europe is somewhat in the middle between these two. Public transportation doesn't get you everywhere and its expensive. Most small stores which existed 30 years ago are dead because of supermarkets and online stores. You still won't see extreme examples of a car-centered culture like public high schools with 5000 students and you can usually get to a smaller supermarket within 15 minutes. But having higher labor cost lead to more centralization.
Also keep in mind that the first thing people buy once they have money is a car, even if public transportation works. You see this in places like China. We won't get rid of cars anytime soon. The best outcome we can hope for within the next 50 years is driverless ridesharing.
We radically modified our country for cars in a very short amount of time. We can do the san with cheaper and more efficient transit methods in a shorter amount of time, for at least a core that covers 60% of people in very little time, if that is what we wanted.
Instead we have public processes that take five years to decide on installing a bike lane. We took all the inefficiency of centra planning, then took away the only advantage, speed of decisions.
Whereas self-driving cars have the potential for taking over the bigger trips. A self-driving car does not need to park, so ideally it drops you of at a 'bus' stop nearby and you walk the part yourself. This also separates the cars from the urban centres and makes the self driving problem much less hard.
With minimal effort I could align my schedule to share my car with almost anyone, if I didn't have to drive it.
Train tracks are much much much easier and cheaper to build than your planes and bombs, albeit less profitable
I'm looking forward to revisit this comment when we run out of raw materials for EVs and all the tooling and expertise to make ICE cars is long gone. Should be fun.
Lead acid batteries are recycled at a rate of ~99%, is there a good argument for why we won't end in a similar regulatory environment for other transport scale batteries?
I'm a big fan of non-car solutions (I just biked back from my neighborhood grocery store), but if someone's gonna buy a car, I'd rather it not be combusting continuously to run.
Perhaps enough for some uses, but challenging for most cars.
I'm gonna use this line whenever my pro-car cheems mindset  family complain about new bike lanes getting installed :D
Many American cities could be 1/4th of the size they currently are while still being full of single family residential + townhouses. We could be even denser if we wanted to. It'd, however, make the current homes of 3/4ths of the homeowners basically worthless. The world might be a lot better if the latest ring of single family exurbs didn't exist, but it does, and people are not going to be happy to abandon their new houses. Do we give people their money back from their now unsellable houses? Are we happy with the fact that the lucky winners that are the real targets of rezoning becoming very rich, as their land is now going to house more the families than before? How many construction workers, and construction materials, are we going to get to increase our homebuilding speed by orders of magnitude? That's a lot of materials in exchange for abandoned houses.
In practice, a change like this has to take 30-40 years minimum, and we sure shouldn't we waiting that long with gas cars. It's not a case of true solutions and false solutions: The problem is large enough that we'll have to apply many solutions at once.
there's a potential fix for that that's being tried in australia: rezoning windfall taxes (https://www.prosper.org.au/rezoning-windfalls/ ; posted here too https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=32957896)
They're also a huge financial enabler for us scaling our battery production, and the grid scale battery technology that is resulting is hugely useful in terms of transitioning away from fossil fuel electricity production.
Thats not obvious to me. Why is that the case?
What are the assumptions in your assertion?
are you assuming continuous innovations in mtls science?
Are you assuming a certain electrical grid and generstion mix that may or may not exist?
For example, large ships certainly fall under "commercial" vehicles, but any electrical energy storage (even inexistent ones) would be hard pressed to compete on CO2 emissions with our current grid make up. 50% thermal efficiency is really good!
Well the same can be said about tractor trailers. Their engines aren't 50% efficient, but they're pretty darned good! Id be surprised if an EV drivetrain can beat them on CO2 emissions.
And if ships and trucks diesel engines are made to run NG (LNG tankers already do) Forget it. EV's are a CO2 environmental disaster by comparison.
So, again, what are your assumptions?
See: Rapid battery cost declines accelerate the prospects of all-electric interregional container shipping
> Modeling 5 to 10 GWh electrified containerships, researchers find that 40% of routes today could be electrified in an economically viable manner, before considering environmental costs.
Electric Semi trucks are already happening.
The reason is straightforward, the grid has a certain thermal efficiency, one that ships basically match and semis approach.
Almost certainly already better in most of the world, and anyway if you're building ship charging stations you can buy new renewable PPAs at the same time to supply power.
"Of course it is"
"Of course it is" is not science. It might pass muster in CS, but in engineering with heavy objects "of course it <>" is the mother of all f-ups.
Even if mining all of the lithium and copper weren't such a disastrously extractive and exploitative process, big personal steel boxes would still be an awful mode of transportation for most people. Our insistence on building infrastructure such that cars are the only truly viable method of getting around diminishes my enthusiasm about what is otherwise amazing technological progress.
You could say the same thing about literally anything as no supply chain is perfect. But if there's a problem somewhere, like with mining, you zero in and fix it. The fact that a problem exists doesn't invalidate the entire system.
First principles approach - there's no shortage of materials in the crust, no shortage of energy from the sun, and no problem with cars. Your argument is that they're 'unscalable' well they don't need to be because the population will soon be declining.
In the future there will be a variety of cheaper EVs with shorter ranges which will both lower demand for battery resources while also achieving climate change goals.
Car batteries will also undoubtedly be critical parts of the electrical grid in 5-10 years, so they'll be doing double duty.
* Nissan Leaf
* Fiat 500e
* Honda E
* Ford Focus EV
* VW Golf e-something
* BMW i3
These are all fine cars that get you from A->B as well as any of the $100,000+ EVs that seems to be all over the road. They all have ranges that will get 95% of the population to work.
51% of all habitable land is not "very little":
But pretending that somehow we don't need a giant lithium battery industry because we'll just eliminate vehicles of all kinds seems horrifyingly wrong.
Personally, I'd love to see the post office running freight rail for the country, investing in electrification of rail, and focusing on moving as much freight as possible by train.
Lithium is a fairly common element. It's not a rare earth. Extracting it and processing it are energy and water intensive processes and mining of itself also has issues with pollution. So doing that in the Andes where water is scarce, is indeed problematic. This is also a reason that some areas are hesitant with giving permits for lithium mining. Nevertheless, there are new mines in Nevada, Texas, Canada, Cornwall, Australia, and other places that are starting to ramp up.
The sentiment in this thread seems to be a bit weirdly anti car and even pro ICE cars. However, this is not the show stopper that some ICE car fanatics want you to believe it is. If only they applied the same outrage against burning oil, fracking, oil spills, damage done by oil refineries, oil drilling in senstive ecosystems, and all the rest. The damage lithium mining does pales in comparison to that.
This is just a minor growing pains for an exponentially growing industry that is going from almost no volume ten years ago to shipping tens of millions of vehicles as well as grid storage, home storage, and other batteries. Anything with wheels is going to stop burning stuff and start using lithium. And close 100% of that lithium can be recycled when the battery eventually reaches its end of life.
Lithium ion and other batteries are part of the solution to the problems caused by burning oil. The solution is not advertising we all turn ourselves into Luddites. Good luck advertising it; but I have no confidence that you'll move the needle in a way that matters. Batteries on the other hand are succeeding where generations of hippies have failed to even slow down the growth at which the problem was accelerating. ICE cars are now legacy vehicles and the transition to EVs is well under way. Thanks to lithium ion batteries.
The future here looks bright. On the frontpage of HN today is an article on Ars Technica saying the cost of installing and operating new solar power farms is dropping below the operating costs for existing gas power plants, nevermind coal. It's not directly comparable because you'd need to add energy storage to be truly equivalent. Still, it's very promising. I have no doubt that we will solve these problems this century.
So EVs are better in all circumstances, and enable continuous improvements by using more renewables.
The existence of more EVs also creates the incentive to build out renewables.
These big shifts never happen in isolation, they need to happen in lockstep.
You're still displacing 2+ tonnes of metal to move your 70kg ass. Using the word "efficiency" in this scenario is an insult to intelligence
A lot of EV chargers of course use solar panels and other renewable energy sources for the simple reason that that's just the cheapest way to charge an EV. And even if somehow you do charge using coal produced energy because you live in a place that forces you to buy from your local coal burning energy monopolists, you are using fossil fuels at much more efficient rate than an ICE car. So, it's dirty and expensive but a lot less dirty and expensive than an ICE car.
If you think about it coal energy is expensive. That's why lots of coal plants are being shut down. They are no longer cost effective and there are cheaper ways of generating energy. If you are in the business of using lots of energy (e.g. because you charge electrical cars), you are going to buy the cheapest energy you can get. Hint: coal/gas/nuclear energy are an absolute last resort in this market.
In fact people that own EVs tend to also invest in solar + batteries in their home. Those people are using 100% clean energy and save a lot of money. Many companies with EVs in their fleet do the same thing.
Recycling is not a problem but a huge business opportunity; which is why there are a lot of very big investments in this space happening. There are going to be a massive amount of used up batteries in a few decades full of valuable materials that can be extracted and sold at a profit. Anyone that can figure out how to recycle them cost effectively will be making a lot of profit.
Seriously, nobody is going to dump EV batteries in a landfill; that would be extremely stupid (and illegal in most civilized places). And if people somehow did this anyway, companies would popup to mine those landfills. Because why would you leave batteries in the ground that are contain tens/hundreds of dollars worth of raw materials? That's not going to be a thing.
A dead EV battery is actually worth more than most second/third hand ICE cars changing hands for a few hundred/thousand dollars. And those are recycled as well eventually. Including their lead acid batteries which in comparison are almost worthless. Just look up the kilo price of lithium. It's around 70$ currently. Lead is worth a bit under 2$/kg. Yet lead battery recycling is very successful. Scrap pricing for lead batteries is around 50 cents per kilo and recycling them is a profitable business.
A Tesla has around 12kg of lithium as well as few other valuable materials (depending on the model). So, the raw materials in a dead Tesla battery is worth at least 840$ (just the lithium). So when it dies, you don't trash it but you sell it to the highest bidder. Even if that price comes down a bit eventually, it's still going to be lucrative. There is not going to be a shortage of demand for lithium for the foreseeable future. It's a growth market that will keep on growing for a few decades.
I mean we ship our old electronics to Africa where they burn them in open air dumps to retrieve the metal, it wouldn't be the first time we're being lied to about "recycling"
What's the cost of importing 500,000 gallons of water to replace what evaporates? If the miners had to pay that cost, would it still be economical for them to sell that ton of lithium carbonate?
The first result in Google says lithium carbonate costs $17,000 per ton in 2021. It might be more now.
This fluid-hauling train car has a capacity of around 30,000 gallons:
So, about 16 train cars worth of water for $17,000 worth of lithium. Not sure if that's a good trade or not. It might depend on how far they have to go for the water. (Maybe sea water would be good enough, if the ground water they're removing is already brine, then maybe adding more salt isn't a problem.)
This is the greatest flaw in markets. It's said that markets compute the right values for trade goods. But it should be qualified to: Value now (or in the short term).
In any specific moment value has certain dispersion due to multiple factors. The uncertainty of value in the future is huge because those factors compound.
My point is that I believe markes only work in the short term. For long term planning (~one huamn lifetime, a civilization life time) markets don't work.
Often markets also depend on standardization and regulation that can only be enforced by governments.
If the markets that exist today fail to take into consideration the true societal costs of their operation—if there is no accounting for future costs—that is not a failure of markets in general, but of the current political regime.
Or for every ton of lithium requires two tons of diesel just to replace the water. I assumed 100% thermal efficiency, so probably double that.
And where is the water coming from? You need fresh water, adding salt to brine just adds salt to the area.
And now you still have to make a battery out of the stuff
Freedom unit warning.
1 gal of water weights 8.33lbs. Andes are about 12,000 feet up. So 500,000 gallons would take about 50,000,000,000 ft-lbs.
2.655 million ft-lbs/kwh.
So about 18.8 kwh.
I can't help but think there must be a math error somewhere, since the result would imply that it should be approximately possible for a Nissan Leaf to pull a train of over a dozen fluid-containing cars from sea level to 12,000 feet on a single charge. That doesn't seem right, but I don't see anything wrong with the math so maybe my intuition is just wrong.
Cars are just too insanely cheap and convenient at what they do.
Some people would prefer it to be different.
This is just nonsense. It's something like $600 per capita  on tax revenue of $23,000 or so per capita , for 2.6%.
Even in the 'best case scenario' of the US entirely mobilizing to electrify and nationalize all rail lines we'd be looking at a minimum 10 year maybe much more effort, and during that time reducing the amount of gas usage is good, whether it be by hybrids or electric cars or something else.
Cars are death machines, not just because of the high energy collisions, but because they kill us slowly with inactivity and obesity.
A couple cans of coke are more calories than you'll spend walking through a city.
South Korea has even fewer. Let's set the first goal at one car per household, and supplement everything beyond that with transit and electric bikes.
Even after we moved to the suburbs, and the Golf was in the shop (deer) for a month (supply chain), it wasnt so bad.
My other car is a 7 seater SUV with a 3.3L V6 that can tow 5000 lb. Its big enough that it can do anything I might need it to do.
Getting the golf, ironically, lowered our fuel consumption because the golf can do 70% of what we'd use the SUV for. But, because of that remaining 30%, I'm keeping the SUV.
So its not obvious that simply lowering average numbers of cars per household improves anything.
Btw, replacing my Golf with an F150 hybrid would probably lower my fuel usage.
Yes, there will always be outliers, but I care about the average case.
I would venture to say there is a higher correlation between wealth to cars, than driving to cars. I would futher venture that if you have 4+ cars, you do less driving than the average person who only has one car per household.
I have 17 Tesla's that i rent out on Eturo. I work remotely in downtown chicago and i literally never drive.
But like, the world in which the average cars per household is 1.0 is one where there are a lot fewer cars on the road. I'm not sure why that's controversial to you?
Such a team can work on improving EC technology. It cannot meaningfully make progress on reconfiguring a city like Houston or Los Angeles or San Francisco.
Many folks on here have hobbies that just are not public-transit friendly, e.g. windsurfing for me. However, I would love it if I didn't have to drive between my urban area and an adjacent one because of the dearth of public transit options (besides the even worse option of teensy flights).
I'd recommend looking up the average japanese car vs the average american car
Unfortunately, that will never happen.
E.g., in the SF Bay Area NIMBYism is rampant and the density is laughable for such a vital geographic area. If walkable cities are not possible in the hyper-progressive futuristic Bay Area, where is it possible in the US?
The choice to have founded your city a thousand years before the invention of the automobile, maybe.
Many European cities that were rebuilt after destruction during WW2 were built in a more automobile-centric manner, because people enjoy cars.
Honestly, I would like to see someone start a new city in the US around the concept of walkability. There's so much empty land in this country, and with remote jobs there's less of a need to place a city next to existing employment centers. It would be an interesting experiment, if nothing else.
We can choose to upzone and convert large road corridors into rail plus some road and convert some roads to bus rapid transit and some to bikes.
It's an eminently solvable problem and one that has been solved over and over again in the modern era.
You'll hear no arguments from me. Even the biggest cities in this country are laughably low density.
> convert some roads to bus rapid transit and some to bikes
I don't know, I used to live in one of those big cities that had an awful commute by car, with congested roads and expensive parking when you could even find one. Solo drivers still comprised the plurality of commuters, and that number only went up during my time there, despite many efforts at improving public transit.
People just don't like public transit for some reason, even when the alternative is pretty shitty. I don't imagine that it's gotten any more popular in this year, with higher rates of crime and other antisocial behavior on public transit around the country.
> one that has been solved over and over again in the modern era
Are there really good examples of cities anywhere around the world that were previously automobile-centric that became public transit-centric?
But like, a cleaner, faster, more frequent, less crowded transit? Yes please!
Cities like Oslo, Philadelphia, Boulder, and Seattle are experiencing huge transit changes right now and seeing major increases in bike and transit ridership. Boulder, in particular, dramatically reduced single occupancy transportation.
Driving any large vehicle is a stressful job and there's always a shortage of people willing to do it.
Of course this implies that the larger the vehicle the better, so rail comes to mind, but that it turn requires infrastructure.
Overall it's a hard problem to solve.
Then how did the Europeans manage to do it? They had to. There's literally no other option for a region that doesn't have abundant oil resources.
This is quite false, unfortunately. It seems like cats have fallen out of favor in America, and now everyone is getting a dog.
And the trains have absolutely resulted in both increased density and upzoning.
Greenwood and Phinney ridge are both "suburban" but totally walkable.
All we need to do is properly fund transit. It's not hard, it's just not cheap.
The light rail doesn't go to Phinney or Greenwood, but I meant Lynnwood, Shoreline, etc stops.
It's not just "not cheap", it's ruinously more costly than cars. Housing just isn't dense enough to bake it affordable.
Would love to see Europe with US levels of diversity and population still remain "walkable" without density
Most European "cities" are what would be a suburb/village in the US.
The US has tons of walkable suburbs and villages.
Were there some 5 over 1s in the commercial areas? Sure. Is that high density? Hardly.
Summoning the political and social will to replace car-centric infrastructure is a different problem, one even so-called progressives are not interested in adopting, at least for themselves.
I really do think this kind of technology is the way forward for Lithium extraction. Total water return, no ponds, no evap, tiny footprint. Even if it's not Lilac, someone will solve this for the timescale we need to extract Lithium before recycling becomes common.
Hard rock is a very different story to brine of course.
A small, dirty, gas moped is way more efficient, cheaper and green than the greenest EV car.
The real revolution is electric bicycles, unsurprisingly one of the most popular means of transportation in China. I saw an excellent graph that I can't find at the moment, which shows that a human on a bicycle is 10 times more efficient than the most efficient biological locomotion known (that of fish).
Touching mining would be suicide, it's 20% of the GDP. Chile is the most advanced country in South America because of mining, just like the oil countries.
We better take that money while it lasts and invest it wisely.
The proposed constitution could have been a big blow to the sector, for now it didn't get approved so we will have to see what happens in the future. This uncertainty isn't good for foreign investment, we can only hope that the government gets their act together.
By the way, I would argue that copper mining is far more destructive than Lithium mining.
With the new constitution they can effectively kill separation of powers, checks and balances, etc. and install a far-left dictatorship.
AOC isn't really that left. She's left compared to the Democratic party, but I don't think she's that extreme.
Without a radical breakthrough in batteries, electric cars are not the answer. They are every bit the problem that ICE cars are, it's just that the full environmental costs of the switchover have not been widely-recognized.
I think you’re confusing an environmental catastrophe with devastating consequences for specific people (and animals etc) in a contained location with a completely uncontained environmental catastrophe with devastating consequences for all life on this planet.
Just reducing cars’ impact to “devastating a number of specific contained locales” would be a monumental step forward.
Saving the world by consuming more (vehicles, electronics) etc is not going to work. Eventually we will fall inline with the Nash Equilibrium as well.
If you want to make an argument at the grid scale, go ahead, but hydrogen's just too big a pain in the butt to work with.
Do you think they use lemon juice and electric excavators ? No, they go though thousands and thousands of tonnes of dirt to get grams of valuable metal while pumping shit tonnes of chemicals in the ground. All the byproducts are then stored in tailing dams which have the annoying tendency to leak or straight up break
It's also the primary concern of the linked article, 'lax regulation', not necessarily mining itself.
Are these batteries recyclable in perpetuity or does lithium degrade?
And this is early days. These are already fantastic numbers but it is highly probable that innovation and scaling will improve them still further.
It's particularly exciting to see rare metals like cobalt so highly recyclable. As newer batteries require much less cobalt than older batteries, the need for virgin cobalt mining could be slashed or eliminated within a decade or two.
Glass and aluminium are also extremely recyclable, but a huge amount of post-consumer glass and aluminium still ends up in landfill. Whereas the logistics, economics and supply chain of lead acid batteries makes them ideal for recycling. And I'd expect EV batteries to comfortably surpass this high bar given how difficult it would be for an EV battery to somehow make it into landfill.
Let me reword that for you... how practical/sustainable is it to recycle lithium car batteries? Will there be a point where we can stop all lithium mining because there will be enough in in use and available for recycling?
So really the minute smartphones became commonplace, Chile should have repealed the 1981 lithium law. It did not. It did not because of corruption, in fact Soquimich was investigated as a company listed in the NYSE for corruption, and frankly they were guilty as fuck. For ages they monopolized lithium, only now that there is rock mining and Bolivia and Perú are determined to produce it themselves, Chilean bribes be damned, is there real competition. And the market is rapidly expanding, the monopoly made sense when demand was small, like when lubricants and medication were important uses, but now that it's a huge percentage of every modern car's weight, what the hell! So Soquimich "asked" the Nuclear Commission of Chile (whatever it's called in English, there's no ambiguity there is one and that's it) if it could expand production dramatically. Well that's what they said. Soquimich owns not only that office thoroughly (very prolific campaign contributors with bribes underneath, as determined by I think DOJ, in a way that being brought to light won't change because there's pitiful campaign contributions otherwise, there is loyalty, they have power beyond just influence due to the owner being Pinochet's son-in-law), but many many others, but now there is that magical thing that capitalism brings, which makes it actually work, which is competition! Particularly from rock mining. Lithium has gone so far up that rock mining is no longer expensive in such a way that it can be ruined by a retaliatory and temporary increase in production by Soquimich, which was the game plan, basically Saudi Arabia of lithium. Saudi Arabia did do that. Although the also allowed all kinds of countries into OPEC, basically allowing a quota based on proven reserves and that was all there was to it. Not strictly, but pretty much. It used to be predatory pricing essentially. Well I by this point forgive them somewhat because they are producing much more, they are competing, they are no longer a tight monopoly doing pretty harmful things, they are in principle interested in ecology (it's in their best interest to be). And further there is one thing worse than a monopoly, which is nothingness. Not a single producer. That exists, the market for selling algorithms is that, no buyers and no sellers, so no market. Nothingness. One seller is much better than no seller, and lithium prices didn't hinder laptops and smartphones all that much, they did produce more many times, and they never owned a total monopoly, I think the majority or maybe 40%--very dominant--but not that much. And plus it used to be worth dick, nobody used lithium for anything, nothing, it was a terrible business to be in for decades, like lubricant and medication and nuclear ordnance, and none of them used lithium in real volume (the hydrogen bomb yes, I don't know I would say hundreds of kilograms per bomb since I can't realistically know exactly not declassified, not a whole lot of Museums of the History of Nuclear Weapons). So really it was a pretty tough racket for even a monopoly, they didn't make real money for many decades, they in practice needed to monopolize supply--no matter who extracted it in the Andes, they had to monopolize it, no choice. Or they would compete to terribly low prices, and one or both would have to drop out of the market. Reserves were a bit greater than now, market was tiny, totally marginal element with no applications. Even today it's all just the single application of batteries, little else.
So ecology. Lithium buyers want ecology. Whether Soquimich likes it or not (and they're not pure evil they did some shit they got caught they're paying for it a bit, they lost their monopoly, now they compete), but part of the job is selling lithium and for that being ecological is mandatory. Wouldn't want to get a "conflict lithium" designation, that harms business. And it costs little, not a big polluter. I went to the biggest Chilean salt flat, I saw the lithium extraction like pumping down deep into the salt flat, but I saw all this in a tourist destination meant to look at the pink flamingos feeding on shrimp in the salt flat. That is pretty much all the life there is there, shrimp and flamingos. The flamingos were chilling, not afraid of the pump truck, and they were there to eat shrimp, so the shrimp clearly weren't being very prejudiced. That was it, there's no flora of any kind there, not right there nearby there's like dots in the ground some seasons, like nothing. There might be other birds sometimes. I would remember the tourist destination talking about other species, it was really just two...I suppose there was phytoplankton for the shrimp to eat. The tourist destination was really just about the flamingos, which are incredible, and they become pink from eating shrimp, but again if the lithium extraction fucked their life up they would not go within miles of a pump truck like that one. So ecological, and really, lithium extraction opens doors in every government office near a salt flat. Want to get permission to extract lithium, it's easy, "knock knock" "who's there" "lithium" "lithium who" "lithium who pays taxes" boom you're in. Municipal governments want money not to be such a problem, they want a budget, they want to get the wealth in their environment, and by this point it's basically a gold rush, even in Chile. And there is lots. That part of the Andes is the low-cost producer of lithium by a very wide margin, can't even mention a single salt flat worth anything outside that region. These days, lithium is green energy, it's the new oil.
 Interesting fact, lithium commodity exports and bipolar medication are the same molecule: lithium carbonate. If you're bipolar in the traditional sense and run out of lithium carbonate pills while near lithium extraction, you can either end up streaking naked through the salt flat--which happens--or ask the extractor for a sample of their commodity, which being a sample will be pretty pure, and deal with bipolarity like that. It's the only example of a commodity that is at the same time medication that I know of. I joke about Chilean lithium, that before like 2020 you shouldn't touch lithium carbonate eve if you were diagnosed bipolar, it's even crazier. It did badly for a very long time, the monopoly and 1981 law were very strong.
Why didn’t the American build a railroad to the ocean!?