The View from the Bottom: What IS the answer?

Bryan says:
"Manufacturing the battery bank for one hybrid or “all electric” car does far more damage to the environment than a full size pickup will do burning gasoline or diesel over its lifetime, but you never hear about that."

What do other people have to say about this?

Read for yourself:

1 comment:

  1. The TreeHugger article is interesting and I don't dispute the information in it with one exception. It concentrates on lithium-ion batteries and those are used mainly in full electric and "plug-in" hybrids and there just aren't that many on the roads. The Prius and other popular gas-electric hybrids use a nickel metal hydride battery pack, not lithium-ion. Nickel mining has been linked to all sorts of ailments in humans and to any number of environmental problems from fish kills to acid rain. Toyota has recently announced a lithium-ion plug in version of the Prius will become available some time in the future, but it has yet to go into production. The eHow article make mention of the tremendous amounts of engery consumed by mining and processing these materials, but neither article explores the logistics of it all. The mining equipment consumes an enormous amount of engergy, as does the refining process. This is true whether the metal is lithium or nickel. That energy is in the form of diesel, gasoline, and electricity. It also takes a lot of energy (trucks, forklifts, cranes, railcars, ships) to get from the mine to the refinery. Once the metal is refined, it gets moved to the factories that make the batteries. More trucks, ships, rail cars, cranes, forklifts, etc. That factory uses lots of energy as well, but now we have to package these batteries so that they can be shipped safely. That creates a demand for cardboard, plastic and wooden crates, and all sorts of energy is used to produce and ship these to the battery factory. Once crated, they then are shipped to various warehouses around the world until needed, when they get shipped again to where ever they are installed. Then if you think about it further, there is is even more energy consumed to haul away the waste products from each stage of this process. The amount diesel exhaust alone would give Al Gore nightmares. If you then add the engery and materials consumed to make the equipment necessary to produce and ship these batteries it just gets worse. And for what?...a car that gets 5-15 more miles per gallon than its gasoline powered counterpart? Not to mention that a diesel version of that same car would get about the same mileage as the hybrid.


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