Opinion: Electrified new world (electric cars and a not-so-green green…)

The new special edition electric and hybrid cars from MOTOR SHOW shows a new world (read more here). It even seems magical at times, fueled by excited journalists, lots of propaganda and political stunts.

Automakers want consumers to love electric cars, and they respond to the problem of autonomy/recharging with batteries that charge in 15, 30 minutes – if there are very expensive chargers, and in sufficient numbers, for a fleet that European politicians, for example, dream of forcing reach 100% dominance of trams in the zero-kilometer fleet as early as 2035.

special electric and hybrid motor show

They talk about zero emission – but only in the exhaust. In the city, they are indeed advantageous for air quality and public health. But the extraction of lithium and rare earths for batteries has a big environmental impact.

Batteries, by the way, which use a huge amount of raw material and are expensive to make, in processes that emit a lot of CO2 and pollutants. Which make electric cars heavier, reducing their efficiency. Which have eight years or 100, 160 thousand kilometers of warranty, and then… How are they disposed of or recycled?

It is not even known how these cars will be after years of use, with batteries at the end of their lives. Consumers in Europe and the United States already report that replacing or repairing them costs more than the car is worth on the used market, turning it into “junk”.

And, still about batteries, Tesla, due to the high price of nickel, due to increased demand, will switch, in some markets and models, from lithium-ion batteries to lithium-iron phosphate, technology used in cheap models.

There is still the energy issue. In Spain, consumers complain on social media that electricity has risen 300% in recent years. In Italy, our partner Four wheels showed in a large report that the demand for electric energy by automobiles is already at the limit of capacity, and there will not be enough energy for everyone.

In Germany, Poland and other countries, most electricity comes from coal, largely negating the benefits of electric cars. Finally, the CEOs of Volkswagen and Stellantis said that, basically, politicians don’t understand the issue and the targets are unrealistic.

Anyway, this brave new world of electric cars isn’t exactly what they’re trying to sell today. “Revolutionary” batteries have been promised for a long time, but there is still nothing concrete.

The electric car is already a reality, and at the same time it is still a dream. One possibility of evolution is in hydrogen electric cars – in which brands such as Toyota and Mercedes-Benz have always believed more (they ended up “forced” by the market to invest in battery-powered models).

Are those the fuel cell, like Toyota Mirai (read the review here) and Hyundai Nexo, sold in few regions, expensive and demanding supply infrastructure.

Another more promising fuel cell, the SOFC, makes ethanol available at any gas station as a source of hydrogen to power the electric motor. It is developed by Nissan and ipenin Japan and Brazil. Could it be the turn of the page trams need?

Flavio Silveira | MOTOR SHOW Magazine Editor


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