If we’re going through all the hassle of tearing every last ounce of lithium up on the planet just so we can ship nine gazillion tons of electric pickup trucks rushing down the road on autopilot, they better be good for the environment. All that and more in The morning shift for April 11, 2022.
1st gear: New study claims 74 tons of CO2 saved versus 45
I think if we have to build giant pickup trucks anyway, then they might as well be electric. A new study suggests that electric cars do very well in keeping CO2 out of the atmosphere, even compared to electric cars. From Bloomberg:
US greenhouse gas emissions in 2019 Total 6.6 billion tonnes, with the transport sector being the worst polluter. Sedans, SUVs and pickups accounted for 1.1 billion tons. According to a study from the University of Michigan’s Center for Sustainable Systems commissioned by Ford, during its lifetime, a battery-powered vehicle will reduce emissions by:
- 74 metric tons for a pickup
- 56 metric tons for an SUV
- 45 metric tons for a sedan
I’m guessing there’s a bigger question of what happens if Americans actually all try an electric pickup, find that it’s a shame to pull the half time a year they bother, and hate these things? Ford seems to be aware of what’s at stake:
“This vehicle is a test for the adoption of electric vehicles,” [Chief Executive Officer Jim] Farley said when the truck was unveiled in May last year. “We should all look very closely at how this does.”
I’m not quite sure what Ford’s contingency plan is if Lightning flops. Give up? Blame us?
2nd gear: In fact, we need to extract a lot more lithium
All the saved CO2 does not come from anywhere! If you want high-range, heavy-duty electric pickups, use giant lithium-ion batteries, and it’s not free, as Financial Times reminds us all:
Battery manufacturers face a severe lithium shortage, underscoring the need to challenge China’s dominance of raw material supply chains, an Australian lithium producer has warned.
Stuart Crow, chairman of Lake Resources, said Western companies and governments had not built up adequate supply chains for lithium, making the sudden boom in electric vehicle manufacturing unsustainable.
“There simply will not be enough lithium on the planet, no matter who expands and who delivers, it just will not be there,” he said. “Car manufacturers are beginning to sense that battery manufacturers may not be able to supply.”
It is perhaps not surprising that this news comes from Australia, the largest lithium mine country.
3rd gear: I think now that Russia has invaded Ukraine, everyone likes hydrogen
In terms of cleaner transport, Europe suddenly seems interested in finding alternatives to natural gas, now that the country that sends the rest of Europe natural gas is committing war crimes and ethnic cleansing. From Bloomberg:
Europe’s push to wean himself Russian natural gas triggers billions of dollars in new commitments to build a market for low-carbon hydrogen.
A nearly 450% jump in European gas prices over the past year made the green fuel of the future cost-competitive about a decade ahead of schedule, according to BloombergNEF. Now, investment funds are joining governments and utilities in ambitious plans to make hydrogen a viable replacement for fossil fuels in manufacturing, transportation and heating.
“It’s a bit of a turning point,” said Phil Caldwell, CEO of Ceres Power Holdings Plc, a hydrogen-based hydrogen technology company. “You’re going to see that capital come in on a large scale now. There’s no going back.”
Immediate fashion habits in energy consumption can have real long-term consequences along the way, like the year everyone bought diesel cars in the 80s when they were worried that Germany would ban leaded petrol and they would not be able to drive around freely. Europe on holiday.
4th gear: GM sales in China fell by 21%
Things are not looking good for GM in China right now, like Car news reports:
GM’s sales fell 21 percent to 613,000 in China in the first quarter compared to a year earlier. Sales of its best-selling Chevrolet brand fell nearly 20 percent over the same period. The shutdown, one of the biggest tests of China’s “zero-COVID” strategy, has forced carmakers and suppliers to either try to adapt with extreme measures to keep factories running or to shut down and risk delayed shipments at some point , where the demand for vehicles is high.[…]GM said in March that its production facilities were operating normally in Shanghai and were not affected by the city’s shutdown measures.
5th gear: Nine, VW, SAIC still shutdown in China over Covid
GM is far from alone in having trouble selling cars in China. Hell, lots of companies are struggling to build anything Reuters reports. First, there is the EV upstart Nio:
Nio Inc. said on Saturday that it suspended production after China’s measures to curb recent increases in COVID-19 cases disrupted operations at key suppliers.
“Since March, due to the causes of the epidemic, the company’s supplier partners in several places, including Jilin, Shanghai and Jiangsu, have suspended production one after the other and have not yet recovered,” the company said on its mobile app.
“Because of the impact of this Nio has had to stop car production. ”
But also Tesla and VW, which are also Shanghai-centered:
Tesla has been suspending production at its Shanghai plant since March 28, Reuters reported after the city started a two-stage shutdown, which was later extended to the entire city.Volkswagens joint venture plant with FAW Group in Changchun, Jilin’s provincial capital, has been closed since mid-March, while the factory in Shanghai with SAIC Motor Corp. has been closed since April 1st
Conversely, the metaphor begins with the moon
You know why no one ever talks about all the other boring Apollo missions where things did not do go wrong:
Neutral: How are you?
I have now locked my keys in my car twice in two weeks. How long will I keep my streak going? Maybe I can set some kind of record.