Mitch Joel WARNING... LONG RANT! It takes a lot for me to both get angry and publish about it. Canada’s…
Global EV Outlook, April 2023
annual publication that identifies and discusses recent developments in electric mobility across the globe. It is developed with the support of the members of the Electric Vehicles Initiative (EVI).
Combining historical analysis with projections to 2030, the report examines key areas of interest such as electric vehicle and charging infrastructure deployment, energy use, CO2 emissions, battery demand and related policy developments. The report includes policy recommendations that incorporate lessons learned from leading markets to inform policy makers and stakeholders with regard to policy frameworks and market systems for electric vehicle adoption.
The future of automotive lithium-ion battery recycling: Charting a sustainable course
Lithium-ion batteries are starting to be used in significant quantities for automotive propulsion. Because these batteries are expected to last the life of the vehicle, they will not be ending their useful lives in large numbers for about 10 years. They may subsequently be used for utility energy storage, but eventually their useful lives will end. The question is, what steps can be taken to ensure that these spent Li-ion batteries are recycled. In an ideal system, these batteries would be sent for responsible recycling and not be exported to developing countries with less stringent environmental, health, and safety regulations. Methods are needed for the safe and economical transport and processing of the spent batteries, as well as environmentally sound recycling. In addition, the recycled product needs to be of high enough quality to find a market for its original purpose, or it must find an alternative market. Fortunately, a battery recycling system is in place that already works well, and many lessons can be learned from it. (Science Direct, December 2014)
EV broken? Finding a technician to fix it may take a while
(Reuters) – A global shortage of technicians and independent repair shops qualified to fix electric vehicles (EV) threatens to increase repair and warranty costs for drivers, potentially undermining upcoming deadlines to cut vehicle carbon emissions.
From Milan to Melbourne to Malibu, technician training organizations, warranty providers and repairers say that independent repair shops will be vital for making EVs affordable because they are far cheaper than franchise dealers.
In the United States, the world’s No. 2 auto market after China, EV sales growth has trailed Europe’s, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts around 80,000 electrician jobs will be needed annually through 2031, which includes technicians to fix EVs or install EV chargers.
And Australia could be 9,000 EV technicians short by 2030, the Victorian Automotive Chamber of Commerce predicts.
The hidden toll of electric cars, Part 1
As the demand for electric vehicles soars and more minerals are needed for production, manganese mine workers in South Africa are experiencing mysterious health problems.
While you may not have heard about manganese, it’s a key ingredient in making electric cars move. Minerals such as cobalt, lithium and manganese are used to manufacture electric and gas-powered vehicles. But electric cars typically require six times the mineral input of conventional vehicles.
The demand for manganese – and electric vehicles more broadly – is rising fast, while states such as California and New York move to ban the sale of gas-powered cars over the next decade. President Biden is also pushing for electric vehicles to make up at least half of new car sales by 2030. Despite the real benefits of going electric, the sourcing of raw materials in electric vehicles carries serious human, environmental and geopolitical costs that are often overlooked by consumers, manufacturers and policymakers.
In scramble for EV metals, health threat to workers often goes unaddressed
More Canadians rejecting electric vehicles: J.D. Power
“Consumers in Canada are still not sold on the idea of automotive electrification”
(Yahoo!Finance) More Canadian car buyers are rejecting electric vehicles, with nearly two-thirds saying they’re unlikely to consider one for their next purchase. Meanwhile, a growing number of Americans say their next ride may be battery-powered.
Those are among the findings of J.D. Power Canada’s second Electric Vehicle Consideration study, released on Thursday. The market research firm collected nearly 5,000 responses from consumers in April and May.
According to J.D. Power, 66 per cent of automobile shoppers in Canada say they’re either “very unlikely” or “somewhat unlikely” to consider an electric vehicle for their next purchase. That’s up from 53 per cent last year.
Volkswagen battery plant to cost Ottawa over $16B: budget watchdog
Deputy prime minister disputes PBO report on $2.8 billion tax adjustment costs
The PBO said in a report Wednesday that construction of a new Volkswagen battery plant in St. Thomas, Ont., will bring only a small economic benefit and cost the federal government over $16 billion.
Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre has criticized the cost of the deal, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Innovation, Science and Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne have defended it as an economic boon that will bring approximately 3,000 jobs and be worth over $200 billion to the economy. Champagne has called the agreement a “game changer” for the Canadian economy.
The $200 Billion Electric School Bus Bust
(ZeroHedge) Hmm. Let’s do the math. The $1 billion in rebates pledged is to help purchase 2,500 electric school buses in some 391 school districts around the nation. But there are in fact about 500,000 school buses transporting children to and from school, to and from ball games and other events, nearly every school day.
By simple calculation, this suggests it will take a $200 billion investment just to replace existing school buses – which must be done, [Vice President] Kamala [Harris] tells us, by the 2030 deadline or else CHILDREN WILL DIE.
Do factories, batteries, and other raw materials exist to build (or retrofit) 500,000 school buses – and every other vehicle in America today – by 2030? By 2050? Does that much money exist? Does that much electricity exist?
To be sure, the demand (from mostly leftist school boards) is out there. Nearly 2,000 school districts applied for the free money last year, pushing the demand SO HIGH “that the EPA had to double the amount of funding” from the initial pledge of $500 million.” Should Kamala keep her job in 2024, the EPA’s Clean School Bus Program is committed to handing out another $4 billion over the next five years.
… All this, of course, has been under the assumption that electric school buses are just as reliable as diesel-powered buses – and that they can keep children warm in winter and cool on hot days as well as buses with diesel engines.
The Ann Arbor (MI) Public Schools Board of Education learned recently from its environmental sustainability director, that the electric school buses they bought have “a lot of downtime and performance issues” and “aren’t fully on the road.” Moreover, the infrastructure upgrades needed to use these buses, which were estimated at just $50,000, “ended up being more like $200,000.
31 May-1 June
Trudeau jammed in EV trade war
International automaker Stellantis recently ordered workers to down tools at a CA$5-billion EV battery plant it is building in Windsor, Ontario, across the river from Detroit – an unwelcome surprise for PM Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Doug Ford.
Stellantis negotiations moving in positive direction, federal sources say
It’s been almost 3 weeks since negotiations between Ottawa and the automaker spilled out in public
Liberal Windsor-Tecumseh MP Irek Kusmierczyk says that he spoke with Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne Wednesday afternoon and the federal government remains “fully engaged” in talks.
CEO of Jeep-parent Stellantis: More EV battery plants needed in US
Stellantis’ global plans also include at least two plants already announced in North America in Kokomo, Indiana, and Windsor, Ontario, although Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares reportedly told journalists in France that up to two additional large facilities are needed in the United States alone, according to Reuters.
Job creation tied to Windsor, Ont., Stellantis EV battery plant compared to ‘musical chairs’: prof
Earlier this month, Stellantis halted work on its construction of the Windsor battery plant saying it was looking for “contingency plans,” and that Ottawa hadn’t kept its negotiation promises. The facility was due to open next year after construction began in 2022.
New legislation in the U.S. allows for unprecedented incentive offers for companies, making it extremely challenging for Canada to compete.
Windsor mayor calls delay in Stellantis deal ‘unacceptable,’ urges action
Invest WindsorEssex vice-president says Stellantis looking for Michigan location
Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens says he is “deeply concerned” after two weeks of negotiations between the federal and provincial governments and Stellantis have failed to produce a new deal for the NextStar EV battery plant in Windsor.
“Each passing day increases the likelihood that Windsor, its workers, residents, and businesses will not receive the commitments made to them,” Dilkens said in a statement Friday afternoon.
Eric Reguly: The ugly downsides of Canada’s costly obsession with electric vehicles
Canada’s government is enchanted – obsessed even – with the idea of building batteries for electric vehicles on home soil. Already, Volkswagen is soaking up about $14-billion in public subsidies to build a battery factory in Southwestern Ontario, and Stellantis, owner of Jeep and Fiat, and LG Energy Solution are demanding equal treatment for their joint venture.
The mission to make Canada (well, Ontario) part of the global EV supply chain was inevitable and, from a purely industrial point of view, makes some sense, even though the per-employee job creation bill may emerge as the most expensive in Canadian history.
But on so many other levels, the decision to lunge into the EV supply chain lies somewhere between irresponsible and crazed; it locks us into an ever-expanding car culture for generations when we should be downgrading the car as a transportation tool, as some European cities are doing.
EVs, and hybrid cars to a lesser extent, enjoy a global image that is entirely unjustified. The pitch – buy an EV and save the planet – is just nonsense.
Electric vehicle wars
(GZERO media) Ahead of the G-7 summit in Japan, PM Justin Trudeau stopped in South Korea to chat with President Yoon Suk Yeol about security and economic ties. At the top of Trudeau’s list of priorities? Convincing South Koreans that Ottawa remains committed to Canada’s first electric-vehicle battery plant in the state of Ontario that, according to the companies building it, is currently on the chopping block.
But what does an EV mega factory in Windsor, Ontario, have to do with … South Korea?
Quick recap: The companies involved, Canadian auto giant Stellantis and Korean battery maker LG Energy Solution, have invested $5 billion in a mega plant that is scheduled to open next year. The project’s goals are ambitious: produce 1 million EV batteries annually and hire up to 3,000 people by 2027.
But Stellantis abruptly stopped construction this week, saying that Trudeau’s government was “not delivering on what was agreed to.” Ottawa had pledged around $1 billion, but that was before the Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act, which incentivizes companies to build up the EV industry in the US exclusively, wooing them with lucrative subsidies.
In response to a recent deal Ottawa made to provide up to CAD$13 billion worth of subsidies to lure Volkswagen to build a plant in Canada, Stellantis and LG have gone back to the well, reportedly demanding more support from Trudeau and threatening to pull the plug unless it gets the same treatment as the German automaker.
Gov. Whitmer Joins U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Canadian Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra, and Mayor Mike Duggan to Announce First U.S.-Canada Electric Vehicle Corridor
Michigan’s mobility and electrification leadership grows with federal, international collaboration
(Michigan Economic Development Corporation) The new electric vehicle corridor will stretch from Kalamazoo, Michigan, to Quebec City, Quebec, tapping into the 75,000+ miles of Alternative Fuel Corridors in the United States. The Corridor will feature DC fast chargers approximately every 50 miles, or 80 kilometers.
“There’s nothing more Pure Michigan than accidentally driving into Canada, and now that journey will be electric on either side of the border,” said Governor Whitmer. “I am proud that we are working together to build up electric vehicle charging infrastructure. With the resources headed our way from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the bold investments Michigan automakers are making right here in Michigan, we will build and lead the future of mobility.”
Mark P. Mills: Electric Vehicle Illusions
No one can really say whether widespread adoption of EVs will cut carbon emissions.
(City Journal) The rush to subsidize and mandate EVs is animated by a fatal conceit: the assumption that they will radically reduce CO2 emissions. That assumption is embedded orthodoxy not just among green pundits and administrators of the regulatory state but also among EV critics, who take issue with a forced transition mainly on grounds of lost freedoms, costs, and market distortions.
But the truth is, because of the nature of uncertainties in global industrial ecosystems, no one really knows how much widespread adoption of EVs could reduce emissions, or whether they might even increase them. … While grid realities will indeed matter more than most realize, the relevant and surprising emissions wildcard comes from the gargantuan, energy-hungry processes needed to make EV batteries. This is one of those technical issues that tends to attract slogans, simplifications, and illusions of accuracy; a better understanding requires some patience.
The inherent uncertainties about calculating real-world EV emissions arise from myriad “known unknowns” about mining and refining activities. Those all happen elsewhere, upstream, before assembly at a battery or EV factory—that is, before the first mile driven on a grid-supplied kilowatt-hour. Of course, a conventional car also has upstream emissions, though these derive mainly from steel and iron, which account for 85 percent of its weight. For conventional cars, those upstream emissions are a minor factor; burning gasoline dominates the CO2 footprint. But the need for far more materials, and different types, dominates an EV’s total footprint. Production of those metals, such as copper, nickel, and aluminum, uses on average three to ten times more energy per pound than does steel production. All the other EV minerals are similarly energy-intense.
The green revolution will stall without Latin America’s lithium
But politicians such as Gabriel Boric, Chile’s president, want to nationalise it
(The Economist) Over half of the world’s lithium, a metal used in batteries for electric vehicles, can be found in Latin America. The region also has two-fifths of its copper and a quarter of its nickel. Recently delegations from the United States and the European Union have flocked there partly to secure resources that will be needed in the energy transition and to diversify their supply away from China. In March John Kerry, President Joe Biden’s climate tsar, visited the continent. German officials have scheduled at least three high-level meetings in South America this year. Ursula von der Leyen, the EU’s chief, looks set to visit in the coming months.
But even as the outside world spies resources in Latin America, governments there are taking back control.
EVs are much heavier than gas vehicles, and that’s posing safety problems
(Axios) State of play: Electric vehicles can be anywhere from hundreds to thousands of pounds heavier than similarly sized gas vehicles because EV batteries are so much heavier than engines.
Threat level: Safety watchdogs are raising concerns after the recent deadly collapse of a parking garage in New York City called attention to the challenge of creaking infrastructure.
Trudeau suggests China uses slave labour in lithium production
(Globe & Mail) Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday suggested that China uses slave labour in the production of lithium as [in remarks at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York] as he discussed Canada’s efforts to ramp up production of the critical metal used in electric vehicle and other batteries.
Demand for electric cars is booming, with sales expected to leap 35% this year after a record-breaking 2022
(IEA) Global sales of electric cars are set to surge to yet another record this year, expanding their share of the overall car market to close to one-fifth and leading a major transformation of the auto industry that has implications for the energy sector, especially oil.
The new edition of the IEA’s annual Global Electric Vehicle Outlook shows that more than 10 million electric cars were sold worldwide in 2022 and that sales are expected to grow by another 35% this year to reach 14 million. This explosive growth means electric cars’ share of the overall car market has risen from around 4% in 2020 to 14% in 2022 and is set to increase further to 18% this year, based on the latest IEA projections.
Ottawa’s $13-billion (and counting) ribbon-cutting won’t reverse Canada’s economic decline
(Globe & Mail editorial board) It will surely go down as the most expensive ribbon in Canadian ribbon-cutting history. Ottawa has finally fessed up to how big a bribe – sorry, industry-building anchor investment – it will pay to Volkswagen to build an electric-vehicle battery plant in Southwestern Ontario.
The eye-popping price tag: up to $13-billion (contingent on production and future U.S. subsidies), plus another $700-million in capital grants and whatever extra inducements the Ontario government adds to the pot.
And that will not be the end. Already, the corporate partnership backing an earlier battery plant is asking for a bigger handout, with its $1-billion subsidy now looking anemic.
Federal government giving Volkswagen up to $13B in subsidies to secure St. Thomas EV battery plant
St. Thomas plant expected to be the size of 391 football fields
The federal government has agreed to give Volkswagen up to $13 billion in subsidies over the next decade as part of a deal to ensure the automaker builds its electric-vehicle battery plant in southern Ontario.
The contract follows promises by Ottawa to remain competitive with the U.S. and convince electric vehicle battery producers to set up their plants in Canada. But the price tag is raising eyebrows.
“This is game-changer for our nation,” said Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne while fielding questions from reporters Thursday.
The federal government will provide annual production subsidies to the German automaker and kick in funds for the massive factory in St. Thomas, which is estimated to be the size of 391 football fields, making it the largest factory in Canada.
The Role of Critical Minerals in Clean Energy Transitions – Executive Summary
…a typical electric car requires six times the mineral inputs of a conventional car, while an offshore wind farm requires thirteen times more minerals than a gas-fired plant of similar size.
Consequently, the demand for the minerals needed for the energy transition is expected to rise significantly in the coming decades – as much as 900% for certain minerals, according to a recent report by the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and the Sustainable Minerals Institute. While that growth will be uneven and unpredictable, the message is clear: our collective ability to fight climate change depends on reliable and sustainable supplies of minerals.
When we all drive electric, government loses big time
(Ottawa Citizen) What we don’t hear about is the huge effect on federal and provincial revenues if the government’s rhetoric becomes reality and people turn to electric cars in large numbers. A big reduction in gas tax would seriously affect Canada’s ability to pay for roads but it would also undermine a top source of transit dollars.
Federal and provincial governments will collect $23.5 billion in gasoline and diesel taxes this year, according to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. In addition, they will take in nearly $1.8 billion in sales taxes.
Then there are the new carbon taxes. In an all-electric future, this whole pyramid of tax will collapse. Even a significant advance for electric cars will erode government tax revenues.
That will have the effect of also undermining governments’ transit plans. In Ottawa, for example, the LRT project is paid for primarily with federal gas tax money. Provincial gas tax dollars are also going into the project.
Child miners aged four living a hell on Earth so YOU can drive an electric car: Awful human cost in squalid Congo cobalt mine that Michael Gove didn’t consider in his ‘clean’ energy crusade
(Daily Mail) Almost every big motor manufacturer striving to produce millions of electric vehicles buys its cobalt from the impoverished central African state [Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC}. It is the world’s biggest producer, with 60 per cent of the planet’s reserves.
The cobalt is mined by unregulated labour and transported to Asia where battery manufacturers use it to make their products lighter, longer-lasting and rechargeable.
The planned switch to clean energy vehicles has led to an extraordinary surge in demand. While a smartphone battery uses no more than 10 grams of refined cobalt, an electric car needs 15kg (33lb).
The Guardian view on electric cars: they’ll change the world
Car drivers dream of freedom and autonomy but the future may be robotic public transport
(Guardian Editorial) The logical outcome of cars which need no driver is that they will become cars which need no owner either. Instead, they will work as taxis do, summoned at will but only for the journeys we actually need. This the future towards which Uber, another Silicon Valley firm that has attained an immense valuation despite almost breathtaking losses, is working. The ultimate development of the private car will be to reinvent public transport. Traffic jams will be abolished only when the private car becomes a public utility. What then will happen to our fantasies of independence? We’ll all have to take to electrically powered bicycles.
Here’s what we know about Tesla’s Model 3
(WaPost) The Model 3 — touted as the first “mass-market” electric car — will start at $35,000, reach 0 to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds and have a top speed of 130 miles per hour.
A Model 3 with every premium option would cost about $60,000, according to the latest details released by the company. The car has a range of 220 miles to 310 miles and has been designed to “have the highest safety ratings in every category,” the company said.
The long-range battery that allows for up to 310 miles of travel on a single charge and a top speed of 140 mph will cost an extra $9,000. Tesla said the Model 3’s standard battery provides a 220-mile range.
The Model 3 is equipped with eight cameras, forward radar and twelve ultrasonic sensors that assist the vehicle in avoiding collisions and performing automatic emergency braking.
Montreal’s Formula E kicks off to thin crowds, but picks up as race begins
The city paid at least $24 million to host the race, including the cost of building and dismantling the track, fees and salaries.
The Opposition Projet Montréal party has criticized Mayor Denis Coderre for spending $7.5 million on new concrete barriers to line the racetrack. The Coderre administration has also come under fire for distributing thousands of free tickets to the event.
The Société de transport de Montréal offered free rides on the métro, buses and Bixi bikes all weekend, forgoing an estimated $1.1 million in fares.
The UK will ban the sale of gas-guzzling cars and vans from 2040
(Quartz) The UK just became the newest member of the “ban all petrol cars” club, along with Norway, France, the Netherlands, and India. The British government has announced that sales of all petrol and diesel cars will be banned from 2040. The pledge was in response to pressure to show it is serious about cutting levels of nitrogen dioxide, which is linked to more than 20,000 deaths annually.
However, there are few details about how the policy will be implemented. Anti-pollution campaigners wanted more immediate regulations, such as clean-air zones that would levy charges on the most polluting vehicles. The government’s own figures suggest that poor air quality costs £2.7 billion ($3.5 billion) in lost productivity each year.
Globe editorial: Why subsidies for electric cars are a bad idea for Canada
(The Globe and Mail) This week, the Montreal Economic Institute put out a study on the costs and benefits of taxpayer subsidies for electric cars. They considered the logic of the huge amounts of money being offered to purchasers in the country’s two largest provinces. In Quebec, if you buy an electric vehicle, the government will give you up to $8,000; in Ontario, buying an electric car or truck entitles you to a cheque from the taxpayer of between $6,000 and $14,000. The subsidies are rich because the cars aren’t cheap.
Will putting more electric cars on the road lower greenhouse-gas emissions? Yes – in some provinces. But it all depends on how a province generates electricity. In places like Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and Nunavut territory, where most electricity comes from burning fossil fuels, an electric car may actually generate more greenhouse gases than one running on traditional gasoline. The tailpipe of an electric vehicle may not have any emissions. But quite a lot of emissions may have been generated to produce the power that went to the socket that charged it.
A few years ago, University of Toronto engineering professor Christopher Kennedy estimated that electric cars are only less polluting than the gasoline vehicles they replace when the local electrical grid produces a good chunk of its power from renewable sources – thereby lowering emissions to less than roughly 600 tonnes of CO2 per gigawatt hour.
Electric cars are currently expensive, and consequently not all that popular. Ontario and Quebec introduced those big subsidies in an attempt to get people to buy them. Those subsidies will surely put more electric cars on the road and in the driveways of (mostly wealthy) people. It will be a very visible policy – hey, look at all those electrics on the highway and at the mall!
However, that result will be achieved at great cost. According to the MEI, for Ontario to reach its goal of electrics constituting 5 per cent of new vehicles sold, the province will have to dish out up to $8.6-billion in subsidies over the next 13 years.
And the environmental benefits achieved? Again, according to the MEI estimate, that huge sum will lower the province’s greenhouse-gas emissions by just 2.4 per cent. If the MEI’s estimate is right, that’s far too many bucks for far too small an environmental bang.
Are Electric Vehicle Subsidies Efficient?
By Germain Belzile, Mark Milke
While Quebec and Ontario are trying to stimulate the sale of electric vehicles any way they can, an Economic Note published today by the MEI shows that subsidizing the purchase of such vehicles is the least efficient and most expensive way of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
(MEI) Ontario and Quebec have set ambitious targets aimed at reducing greenhouse gases (GHGs), respectively 37% and 37.5% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.(1) The transportation sector is crucial for achieving these ambitious targets, since it represents over a third of the emissions of each province.(2) These have therefore decided to implement, among other things, subsidies to electric vehicles. But is this injection of public funds the best use of our money?
The Footprint of an Electric Vehicle
Four factors influence the environmental impact of using an electric vehicle.(8) First, the greater the fuel consumption of the vehicle replaced, the bigger the positive impact. The principle is the same for annual mileage: The greater the distance travelled in a year in an electric car instead of a conventional car, the greater the reduction in GHG emissions. Third, we must take into account the emissions related to the electricity used to recharge the battery.
And finally, the environmental record of an electric vehicle must also be calculated over its entire lifecycle, including its manufacture. The latter produces on average 7.5 tonnes of GHGs, compared to 6.5 tonnes of GHGs for a traditional automobile.(9)
In all, the manufacture and operation of a gasoline-powered vehicle adds, over the course of a useful life of 10 years, 37.4 tonnes of GHGs to the atmosphere.(10) In Quebec, where electricity is produced almost entirely from hydropower, a fully electric vehicle will emit a total of 7.5 tonnes of GHGs (entirely associated with the manufacture of the car), versus 9.2 tonnes of GHGs for the same vehicle in Ontario, where electricity is not as “clean.”(11) The net emissions avoided by the use of a rechargeable electric car is therefore 28.2 tonnes of GHGs in Ontario, and 29.9 tonnes of GHGs in Quebec.
7 EV myths and misconceptions busted
(Energy Exchange) MYTH 6: OLD BATTERIES FROM ELECTRIC CARS ARE DANGEROUS TOXIC WASTE.
REALITY: It’s true. If electric car batteries are destined only for the scrapyard at the end of their life in a vehicle, they are toxic waste. The good news is that there’s no need to throw them away. For starters, the metals they contain can be recovered in recycling programs. The process is complex, but the effort is worth it. Recycling reduces the need to mine and process raw materials, which helps reduce overall industrial emissions. In some cases, it also reduces the need to import materials, which is a benefit for the balance of payments in international trade in countries where the batteries are made.
The most intriguing opportunities, however, lie in finding new uses for old batteries. When a battery degrades to a point where owners aren’t satisfied with their car’s maximum range, it can still have up to about 70 per cent of its capacity. Researchers are now developing energy-storage techniques to make use of this. General Motors, for example, uses retired Chevy Volt batteries to store power at its facility in Milford, Michigan. Other groups are looking at ways to stack batteries for utility-scale storage of power from intermittent sources, such as wind and solar. Other ideas include using them to store off-peak or renewable power for warehouses, industrial refrigeration units and even homes.
One study by researchers at the University of Waterloo found that deploying old electric car batteries for energy storage could reduce carbon emissions by 56 per cent compared to natural gas generation. That figure, they say, is roughly equivalent to emissions avoided by switching from gas cars to electric cars, potentially doubling the environmental benefit of electric vehicles.