Are there hidden environmental costs to electric vehicles? The problem is with the batteries

Are there hidden environmental costs to electric vehicles? The problem is with the batteries



We have been asked many times lately about electric plug in and hybrid vehicles saying that they would like to lessen their carbon footprint. Well, here are some interesting facts I learned while studying to write this article.


The hidden environmental impacts of hybrid and electric cars

Sure, vehicles that run on fossil fuels emit toxic gasses and many environmental activists seem to think that electric cars are the answer. Of course, these electric cars do run clean during operation but what few pay attention to is the manner in which their batteries are made. In particular, the point of concern is in the production of the batteries and the mining of the metals necessary to make these batteries.

So, what we now know is there is a tremendous amount of effort, as well as machinery in order to obtain the metals to produce these batteries (lithium and cobalt are the rarest). Not only is the mining extremely taxing on the environment but the factories producing these batteries are far worse and contributes greatly to carbon emissions.

The lithium-ion battery production requires intensive energy that unfortunately is mostly not yet clean energy. Plus, this also requires very rare earth metals that are extremely heavy.


What do batteries do?

All batteries store power when they are operating and when their lifespan is up, they go dead and will no longer take a charge. How much money is it to replace a vehicle battery? Great question! Inexpensive aftermarket batteries (which are not long-lasting) can be purchased for around $2,000 plus the several hours of labor to remove the old batteries and install the new one. The least expensive is around $3,000. For factory Hybrid batteries, for let’s just say a Toyota Prius, can range anywhere from $5,000-$7,000 depending on the year of the vehicle and that amount could buy quite a lot of fuel even at today’s prices!


Let’s take a look at Tesla battery replacement costs

The Tesla Battery? I came across an actual repair order from a failed Tesla battery pack. The total cost in this particular case was nearly $3,000 in labor and $13k for the new battery pack! Again, I can purchase a lot of fuel for that amount.

Now, it is established that electric and hybrid vehicles are environmentally friendly and clean while driving them but one must not overlook how much pollution is created in manufacturing the huge battery packs and replacing them when the time comes. And where do the failed batteries go? Food for thought!

Thank you all for reading.


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