Environmental concerns hit electric car growth

Dhaka,  Tue,  26 September 2017
Published : 09 Jul 2017, 14:30:17 | Updated : 09 Jul 2017, 14:50:20

Environmental concerns hit electric car growth

Tesla Motors and now Volvo may have big plans to end the addiction of drivers to fossil fuels via electric vehicles, however the environmental footprint of mining raw materials used in car batteries and their eventual disposal are emerging as a flash point, reports a global media on Sunday.

As the mining sector presents a green face and extracts raw materials from lithium to cobalt and nickel that constitute electric batteries, so the focus on their environmental standards and energy efficient production methods will intensify. At the tail-end of the electric vehicle boom is the matter of improving the recycling of lithium-ion batteries and making sure the environmental impact is also contained.

This week Volvo Cars said by 2019 all its new cars will be electric, while Tesla is set to launch its first mass-market Model 3 electric car this month. A 12-fold increase in battery capacity will be required by 2025, according to analysts at UBS.

Mining companies are already positioning themselves to meet the increased need for raw materials that go into lithium-ion batteries, but there is growing concerns over their environmental footprint especially as a host of new mining companies start production to meet rapid rises in demand.

Lithium is currently extracted from brines beneath the deserts of South America and evaporated using the energy of the sun. But an increasing proportion is coming from crushing rock in Australia and processing the mineral in China, which is more energy intensive. Goldman Sachs expects capacity addition by hard rock to be equal to brine by 2020 in order to meet demand from electric vehicles.

In addition, most of the new supply is coming from smaller mining companies rather than established players, according to Francis Condon, an energy and mining analyst at fund manager RobecoSAM.

- SZ
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