The EV market was simple and good – now it looks complicated and dirty

The EV market
Image by ADragan | Bigstockphoto

The EV market is suffering a series of setbacks. And this is before you even mention the word ‘autonomous’ which is becoming a banned word.

On the face of it, the EV market should be a good thing. Yet, even a small glimpse under the hood/bonnet (apologies) shows you that all is not well.

Batteries remain a real barrier to making the EV market work. Drivers will be nervous for years still, wondering whether they will make the whole journey or whether they will need to recharge. Set aside the nervousness of drivers and you find that the issue of charging is becoming a real headache for electricity providers, governments and, well, everyone.

The only way that the charging issue will be solved, says the industry, is to implement smart charging. Which is a modern way of saying ‘use off-peak electricity.’

The EV market will live or die on batteries. In fact, batteries have been the unsexy talking point for decades now and if anyone says that the problem is about to be solved, they are wrong.

The whole battery issue has always seemed to be ‘someone else’s problem.’ Billions have been invested in the car itself. Every company whose job it is to make cars, almost all the big tech companies who want to put wheels on a smartphone and everyone else is ignoring the unspoken problem and focusing on mood paint instead.

Smart charging is all very well, but people want to charge or refuel their cars when they want to, not when someone else says they can. The batteries themselves will be full of things that are hurting the planet, and disposing of them will be another unspoken problem. The probability is that almost none of a battery that can drive a car will be able to be recycled. So batteries will sit, alongside wind turbine blades and who knows what, for centuries until they begin to degrade or someone digs them up and wonders what on earth we were thinking.

The EV market will not be as green as we are told, either. Electric cars need to be charged, with, oh yes, electricity. And electricity comes from, well, a variety of sources and some of those sources are pretty polluting. But, wait, people will say, electricity will come from wind.

Wind is fine, if a real turn-off for tourists and one of an increasing number of industries that only make economic sense if the grants and tax breaks offered by governments stay in place. Take away subsidies and you go bust quite quickly – just take a drive inland from San Francisco a decade ago (a few years after the Government took away the subsidies). It was a wind turbine graveyard.

As we always do with a new technology, we are trying to make it universal, immediately. Many, many people do not want an electric car (that you have download a soundtrack for, to make it safe). Lamborghini is publicly wondering how they will continue to produce loud growly beasts after those ghastly fossil fuels have been switched off.

The EV market might look clean and cool on the outside, but it has a lot of issues to resolve before it works properly. And cleanly.

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