- Credits: Electrek, DW

For UK to Go all Electric, it Would Take Double the World's Supply of Cobalt

Batteries are not the way to go

2y ago

The UK government has decided that by 2050 all the cars and vans on the road should be electric. It is for the betterment of our planet. Really?

A team of scientist headed by the Natural History Museum’s head of earth sciences, professor Richard Herrington, wrote to Committee of Climate Change warning them of the implication such move would have.

Today there are 32 million cars on the UK roads alone, and to replace them all with EVs, it would take 200% of the global supply of cobalt, 100% of neodymium, 75% of lithium and half of the world's copper!

Credits: Electrek

Credits: Electrek

OK, the timeline set for this change is a comfy three decades, so we can take it slow, but even then, if all of the 2.5 million new cars sold in the UK every year are electric, it “will require the UK to annually import the equivalent of the entire annual cobalt needs of European industry.”

Also, this change is global, and you will have many more countries competing for precious resources. I imagine some will even try to spread democracy in the process.

And what about electricity?

The energy required just for mining the resources needed for battery production would take 400% of UK annual electricity production. If you wanted to meet such demands and keep it green, you'd need to make 6000 more wind turbines, for which you need a year's worth of total global supply of copper and ten years worth of global neodymium!

Then there is the issue of charging all the cars, and that would require building seven brand new nuclear power stations which would cost $3.7 trillion of taxpayers money. More about that here:

Batteries are not the way to go

Professor Herrington applauds the move to cut on CO2 emissions, but there is a raw material cost of going green, and it is not worth solving one problem by causing another one to appear. “The global supply of raw materials must drastically change to accommodate not just the UK’s transformation to a low carbon economy, but the whole world’s.”

Electric cars may be the future, but storing this electricity in the batteries like we have today is clearly not! Too bad hydrogen won't be ready for its prime-time any time soon.

Are electric cars doomed? Comment bellow 👇


Written by: Styp P

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Comments (41)

  • I totaly agree

    we have to rethink how we produce and stock that electricity

    what we are doing today with EVs is the same we already did 100 years ago and it's still no realy good and can't compete with petrol

    and at the rate we are going now we will run out of cobalt and others before runing out of petrol.

    also most of the electricity comes from nuclear and coal and that's not green at all.

    when you talk ecofriendly people about nuclear powered cars or coal powered cars they'r not happy.

      2 years ago
    • Nuclear is still the cleanest among non renewables. But because catastrophies are filling up the headlines for months people are afraid of them.

      Much like traveling by plane. Statiscitaly safest but small mistake and it's a tragedy.

        2 years ago
  • Why aren’t the pundits who advocate these policies aware of these limitations before committing to them.

    Diesel development already complies with legal requirements and no Nox technology has been developed by Bosch. Another political knee jerk.

      2 years ago
    • Virtue signaling is a nasty thing people like to do

        2 years ago
  • As long as petrol cars stick around for all of my lifetime I don’t care

      2 years ago
  • We are sill not ready for complete electrification.i like hybrids better.

      2 years ago
  • One word.. infrastructure

    Why cant they stop pushing the cars on us until this is in place. 20 fast charge stations at the services.. great.. x million cars on the road.. 45 min per car to charge.. imagine the queue.

      2 years ago