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Can Metal Mining Match the Speed of the Planned Electric Vehicle Transition?

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From the Fraser Institute

By Kenneth P. Green

The governments of Canada, the United States, and many other nations are mandating a shift in vehicle technology: away from vehicles powered primarily by internal combustion engines, and toward vehicles powered primarily with electricity stored on board in batteries.

Canada’s government has established policies designed to push automakers to achieve the government’s goal of having 35 percent of all new medium- and heavy-duty vehicle sales be electric by 2030, rising to 100 percent of all new medium- and heavy-duty vehicle sales being electric by 2040.

The US has set a target requiring 50 percent of all new passenger cars and light trucks sold in 2030 be electric, or largely electric hybrid vehicles. These timelines are ambitious, calling for a major expansion of the prevalence of electric vehicles (EVs) in the major vehicle classes in a very short time—only 7 to 10 years.

Barring breakthrough developments in battery technology, this massive and rapid expansion of battery-electric vehicle production will require a correspondingly massive and rapid expansion of the mining and refining of the metals and rare earth elements critical to battery-electric vehicle technology.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) suggests that to meet international EV adoption pledges, the world will need 50 new lithium mines by 2030, along with 60 new nickel mines, and 17 new cobalt mines. The materials needed for cathode production will require 50 more new mines, and anode materials another 40. The battery cells will require 90 new mines, and EVs themselves another 81. In total, this adds up to 388 new mines. For context, as of 2021, there were only 270 metal mines operating across the US, and only 70 in Canada. If Canada and the US wish to have internal supply chains for these vital EV metals, they have a lot of mines to establish in a very short period.

Historically, however, mining and refining facilities are both slow to develop and are highly uncertain endeavors plagued by regulatory uncertainty and by environmental and regulatory barriers. Lithium production timelines, for example, are approximately 6 to 9 years, while production timelines (from application to production) for nickel are approximately 13 to 18 years, according to the IEA.

The establishment of aggressive and short-term EV adoption goals sets up a potential conflict with metal and mineral production, which is historically characterized by long lead-times and long production timelines. The risk that mineral and mining production will fall short of projected demand is significant, and could greatly affect the success of various governments’ plans for EV transition.

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Federal government should face facts—the EV transition is failing

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From the Fraser Institute

By Kenneth P. Green

” public charging infrastructure isn’t keeping pace with predicted consumer adoption of EVs, and as noted in a recent study published by the Fraser Institute, targets for consumer adoption of EVs are out of sync with historical timelines for the development of metals needed to make them “

A series of recent headlines in the Wall Street Journal reveal the extent to which government plans in Canada and the United States, to transition surface transportation from internal combustion to battery-electric power, are already showing signs of failure. “Ford Cuts Lightning Output in Latest Sign of EV Downshift,” reads one article while the editorial page says “The EV Backlash Builds: Companies cut output amid flagging demand” and “The Electric Vehicle Push Runs Out of Power.

And there’s evidence the electric vehicle (EV) transition is also stalling in other countries. In Germany, EV sales are in freefall as the cash-strapped government tapers off subsidies for EVs. Battery EV registrations dropped 29 per cent from the previous year while plug-in hybrid registrations dropped 35 per cent year-over-year.

Manufacturers are also pulling back from the EV market. Recently, only a year after announcing a US$5 billion joint venture between GM and Honda to develop affordable EVs, the two auto giants pulled the plug on the venture. Even in China, which planned to be the world’s dominant supplier of EVs and batteries, is finding the transition hard to sustain. As Bloomberg reports, “China’s Abandoned, Obsolete Electric Cars Are Piling Up in Cities.” The subhead of the article explains, “A subsidy-fueled boom helped build China into an electric-car giant but left weed-infested lots across the nation brimming with unwanted battery-powered vehicles.”

All of this should trouble the Trudeau government, which mandated that all new light-duty vehicles sold in Canada be EVs by 2035 and has poured taxpayer dollars into the predicted future EV and battery production industry. For example, $28 billion for two EV battery plants (Stellantis-LG and Volkswagen), $2.7 billion for a new battery manufacturing plant in Montreal (which will also get $4.6 billion in production incentives with one-third coming from Quebec), and $640 million for a new Ford electric vehicle factory (also in Quebec). Government has made other smaller investments in rare earth mining and refining to incentivize production of the metals needed to make EV batteries. And of course, all this “investment” government comes atop consumer incentives to convince people to buy EVs. The federal government offers incentives up to $5,000 for the purchase of light-duty vehicles, and up to $2,000 for medium-heavy duty vehicles. Seven Canadian provinces offer additional subsidies.

Clearly, the Trudeau government is betting heavily, with the limited resources of Canadian taxpayers, on an EV future that increasingly looks unlikely to happen. Governments around the world are running out of money to subsidize EVs, consumers are increasingly reluctant to buy EVs, public charging infrastructure isn’t keeping pace with predicted consumer adoption of EVs, and as noted in a recent study published by the Fraser Institute, targets for consumer adoption of EVs are out of sync with historical timelines for the development of metals needed to make them, insuring a bottleneck situation in the not-too-distant future.

In fact, to meet international EV adoption pledges, the world would need 50 new lithium mines by 2030, along with 60 new nickel mines and 17 new cobalt mines. The materials needed for cathode production will require 50 more new mines, and another 40 new mines for anode materials. The battery cells will require 90 new mines, and EVs themselves another 81. In total, this adds up to 388 new mines. For context, as of 2021, there were only 270 metal mines operating in the U.S. and only 70 in Canada. And mine development timelines are long—lithium timelines, for example, are approximately six to nine years, while production timelines (from application to production) for nickel are approximately 13 to 18 years.

The writing is on the wall. The Trudeau government should reconsider the reckless gambling with taxpayer money that its EV agenda represents. It should withdraw the “investments” where it can, and reconsider the country’s 2035 all-EV mandate. These all look increasingly like bad bets, with Canadian taxpayers being the ultimate losers.

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Electric vehicle weight poses threat to current road infrastructure, safety experts warn

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Tesla Model Y

From LifeSiteNews

By Bob Unruh

A report in the Washington Times explains that electric vehicles (EVs) can weigh up to 50 percent more than internal combustion motor vehicles. That extra weight could more easily damage roads, bridges, and parking garages.

If all of the existing headaches for those pushing expensive electric vehicles on resisting American consumers could vanish, there’s still a big one that may have no ready solution.

Already, it appears the U.S. could end up dependent on unfriendly nations for materials for all those batteries. Then there’s the fact that the nation’s grid simply can’t support all that recharging – California already has been sending out advisories for owners not to charge. And then there’s the limited range, extended recharging times, both worsened by bad weather.

But now a report in the Washington Times explains that those batteries are heavy, and EVs can weigh up to 50 percent more than internal combustion motor vehicles.

And that weight damages roads, bridges and parking garages, with those vehicles easily plowing through safety guardrails while posing a higher danger to other drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists traveling the same routes.

“The problems associated with EVs are poised to grow as more consumers purchase the cars under the Biden administration’s plan to eliminate gas-powered vehicles and the tailpipe emissions that come with them,” the report explained.

It explained engineers writing recently for Structure Magazine suggested construction companies, and building codes, need to make accommodation for the higher weight.

Parking garages, they said, should be redesigned to hold more weight.

“Significantly increasing passenger vehicle weights combined with recently reduced structural design requirements will result in reduced factors of safety and increased maintenance and repair costs for parking structures,” the engineers wrote. “There are many cases of parking structure failures, and the growing demand for EVs will only increase the probability of failure.”

Then there are those guardrails, installed to minimize damage when traffic goes awry.

They are installed between lanes for traffic moving opposite directions, between lanes and edge drop-offs and more.

That concern comes out of a procedure at a test facility in Nebraska, where examiners took a 3.6-ton Rivian R1 and sent it into a metal guardrail at 62 mph, first head-on, then at an angle.

Both times it “ripped through” the guardrail and continued into what would have been lanes for oncoming traffic, the report revealed.

The conclusion was simple: making vehicles much heavier means “a lot more force” is required to redirect the vehicle.

University of Nebraska professor Cody Stolle, told the Times, “We found these guardrail systems don’t have great compatibility with these [electric] vehicles yet.”

The heavier vehicles also could cause more damage to other vehicles in collisions.

The report said an insurance institute expert confirmed the weight provides more protection to those inside the EV, but at the expense of anyone in another vehicle involved in an accident.

Joe Biden has insisted over and over that consumers should be buying the much more expensive and often less reliable electric cars the government programs subsidize.

The weight differences are significant. The report said the Tesla Model Y is more than 4,400 pounds while the similar size gas-powered Honda Accord is 3,300. Kia makes multiple SUVs, with the gas model weighting 3,900 pounds and the EV unit nearly 6,500.

Residential roads already are not engineered to handle the heavy weight on highways, and the lifespan of bridges could be reduced with much heavier traffic, the report said.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., recently said, “EVs are typically much heavier compared to similarly sized, gas-powered vehicles, which will put additional strain on America’s transportation infrastructure. The American Society of Civil Engineers warns that an increase in EVs could substantially reduce the lifespan of roads and bridges, necessitating further investment in infrastructure.”

Reprinted with permission from the WND News Center.

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