As the U.S. moves toward its ambitious goal to electrify America’s vehicles, one study is adding some perspective on the real world costs it could have. Joint research by the University of California found that a full U.S. transition to EVs could require three times as much lithium than what’s produced right now for the entire global market.
The study claims this increased demand could lead to water shortages, the displacement of Indigenous communities, and the destruction of ecosystems beyond U.S. borders.
That’s because lithium, often dubbed as white gold, is the main component behind most modern electric batteries, and its demand is predicted to rise 40 times by 2040.
While this soft metal is abundant, 95% of its supply comes from just four countries: Australia, Chile, China and Argentina. It takes roughly 500,000 gallons of water to extract just one ton.
With three-fourths of Americans currently relying on cars to get from point A to point B, the U.S. would need a significant amount of lithium to meet its EV goals.
This study comes at a time when the Biden administration is investing historic funding for electric vehicles through bipartisan legislation where the efforts seem to be paying off. EV sales were up 65% last year, and over half of the nation’s car sales are predicted to be electric by 2030.
MAHMOUD BENNETT: AS THE US MOVES TOWARD ITS AMBITIOUS GOALS TO ELECTRIFY AMERICA’S VEHICLES – ONE STUDY IS ADDING SOME PERSPECTIVE ON THE REAL WORLD COSTS IT COULD HAVE.
JOINT RESEARCH BY THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA FOUND THAT A FULL U.S. TRANSITION TO EV’S COULD REQUIRE THREE TIMES AS MUCH LITHIUM THAN WHAT’S PRODUCED RIGHT NOW FOR THE ENTIRE GLOBAL MARKET.
THE STUDY CLAIMS THIS INCREASED DEMAND COULD LEAD TO WATER SHORTAGES, THE DISPLACEMENT OF INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES, AND THE DESTRUCTION OF ECOSYSTEMS BEYOND U.S. BORDERS.
THAT’S BECAUSE LITHIUM – OFTEN DUBBED WHITE GOLD – IS THE MAIN COMPONENT BEHIND MOST MODERN ELECTRIC BATTERIES – AND ITS DEMAND IS PREDICTED TO RISE 40 TIMES BY 2040
WHILE THIS SOFT METAL IS ABUNDANT – 95% OF ITS SUPPLY COMES FROM JUST FOUR COUNTRIES: AUSTRALIA, CHILAY, CHINA & ARGENTINA – AND IT TAKES ROUGHLY 500 THOUSAND GALLONS OF WATER TO EXTRACT JUST ONE TON
WITH THREE QUARTERS OF AMERICANS CURRENTLY RELYING ON CARS TO GET FROM POINT A TO POINT B, THE US WOULD NEED A SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF LITHIUM TO MEET ITS EV GOALS.
THIS STUDY COMES AT A TIME WHEN THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION IS INVESTING HISTORIC FUNDING FOR EVS THROUGH BIPARTISAN LEGISLATION WHERE THE EFFORTS SEEM TO BE PAYING OFF. EV SALES UP 65% LAST YEAR, AND OVER HALF OF THE NATION’S CAR SALES ARE PREDICTED TO BE ELECTRIC BY 2030
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