Why’s Motor Trend Drinking the Green All Electric Vehicle Kool-Aid?

I have a subscription to Motor Trend magazine. Since the inauguration of Joe Biden I have seen a distinct effort by their writers to go green, like soylent green.

The writers of Motor Trend are trending toward becoming woke personified when it comes to all electric vehicles (EVs). Their 2022 car, truck and SUV of the year are all EVs.

QUESTION: Why has Motor Trend abandoned the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE)?

U.S. consumers use Internal Combustion Engines in:

  • Cars, sport utility vehicles, light trucks, and motorcycles.
  • Recreational vehicles and boats.
  • Small aircraft.
  • Equipment and tools used in construction, farming, forestry, and landscaping.
  • Electricity generators for portable and emergency power supply.

U.S. Companies use Internal Combustion Engines in:

  • Commercial and corporate aircraft.
  • Commercial ships and cruise liners.
  • To run factories, printing presses and other manufacturing equipment to make cars, planes, trucks, trains, batteries, televisions, portable phones, computers and on and on.
  • Farmers use tractors to till the soil, fertilizer made from fossil fuels to grow crops, and trucks and farmers and ranchers use trains to move their goods to local wholesale stores and retail markets for sale.
  • Getting goods, food and medicines, and services, from lawn care to AC maintenance, to consumers requires cheap and reliable transportation.
  • To travel to conferences about climate change.

Now think about all of the people who are employed making parts, accessories, designing and engineering cars, ships, boats, aircraft, finding, producing and distributing fossil fuels all for the above Internal Combustion Engines!

The Cost of All Electric Vehicles

Motor Trend in its January 2022 edition named the yet to be mass produced Lucid all EV sedan as Car of the Year. But why?

In a February 5th, 2020 After Market News article titled “LANG RESEARCH: 36M MORE ICE CARS TO HIT U.S. ROADS BY 2030” the editorial staff reported:

Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) cars and light trucks on U.S. roads will climb by 36 million between now and 2030, despite predictions of their rapid replacement by electric vehicles. That’s according a new report from Lang Marketing Resources, a leading automotive market intelligence firm with more than 30 years of experience in the vehicle products industry.

“Cancel the obituary of the Internal Combustion Vehicle,” said Jim Lang, president and lead author of the report, “they will grow in number in the U.S. throughout the decade.”

The dominant ICE share of vehicles in operation (VIO) going forward, recording an approximate 95% share during 2030, will generate robust aftermarket parts and repair volume in the U.S. for many years.

“Peak ICE, the year when Internal Combustion Engine vehicles reach their maximum number, could arrive as late as 2035,” predicted Lang.

This is at a time when Motor Trend’s Angus MacKenzie in an article about an ICE car, the GMA T.50, ended by saying,

I have a feeling the GMA T.50 [ICE car] may be the last glorious rage against the dying of the internal combustion engine.

Is MacKenzie drinking the Green All EV Kool-Aid? Is he listening to Al Gore, Green New Deal proponent Alexandra-Ocasio Cortez,  Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg and Joe Biden more than he’s listening to American consumers?

Drinking the Green Kool-Aid

Motor Trend, by drinking the Green All Electric Vehicle Kool-Aid, will do great damage to individuals, families, communities, states and America.

Batteries are not emissions free and certainly contribute to so called “Climate Change” yet activists who push the persistent, persuasive and unrealistic myths of Climate Change are also advocates for “alternative power sources” including solar, wind and battery powered devices like all electric cars.

Electric Batteries Are Not Zero Emissions Power Sources

By Bruce Haedrich

There are two orders of batteries, rechargeable, and single use. The most common single-use batteries are A, AA, AAA, C, D. 9V, and lantern types. Those dry-cell species use zinc, manganese, lithium, silver oxide, or zinc and carbon to store electricity chemically. Please note they all contain toxic, heavy metals.  Rechargeable batteries only differ in their internal materials, usually lithium-ion, nickel-metal oxide, and nickel-cadmium.

But that is not half of it. For those of you excited about electric cars and a green revolution, I want you to take a closer look at batteries and windmills and solar panels. These three technologies share what we call environmentally destructive embedded costs.”

He paused, “I weigh one thousand pounds, and as you see, I am about the size of a travel trunk.” NM’s lights showed he was serious. “I contain twenty-five pounds of lithium, sixty pounds of nickel, 44 pounds of manganese, 30 pounds cobalt, 200 pounds of copper, and 400 pounds of aluminum, steel, and plastic. Inside me are 6,831 individual lithium-ion cells.

It should concern you that all those toxic components come from mining. For instance, to manufacture each auto battery like me, you must process 25,000 pounds of brine for the lithium, 30,000 pounds of ore for the cobalt, 5,000 pounds of ore for the nickel, and 25,000 pounds of ore for copper. All told, you dig up 500,000 pounds of the earth’s crust for just – one – battery.”

He let that one sink in, then added, “I mentioned disease and child labor a moment ago. Here’s why. Sixty-eight percent of the world’s cobalt, a significant part of a battery, comes from the Congo. Their mines have no pollution controls, and they employ children who die from handling this toxic material. Should we factor in these diseased kids as part of the cost of driving an electric car?”

[ … ]

“Finally,” he said, “I’d like to leave you with these thoughts. California is building the largest battery in the world near San Francisco, and they intend to power it from solar panels and windmills. They claim this is the ultimate in being ‘green,’ but it is not! This construction project is creating an environmental disaster. Let me tell you why.

The main problem with solar arrays is the chemicals needed to process silicate into the silicon used in the panels. To make pure enough silicon requires processing it with hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, nitric acid, hydrogen fluoride, trichloroethane, and acetone. In addition, they also need gallium, arsenide, copper-indium-gallium-diselenide, and cadmium-telluride, which also are highly toxic. Silicon dust is a hazard to the workers, and the panels cannot be recycled.

Windmills are the ultimate in embedded costs and environmental destruction. Each weighs 1688 tons (the equivalent of 23 houses) and contains 1300 tons of concrete, 295 tons of steel, 48 tons of iron, 24 tons of fiberglass, and the hard to extract rare earths neodymium, praseodymium, and dysprosium. Each blade weighs 81,000 pounds and will last 15 to 20 years, at which time it must be replaced. We cannot recycle used blades. Sadly, both solar arrays and windmills kill birds, bats, sea life, and migratory insects.

Going green has a cost that no one is talking about. Motor Trend is working hard to push EVs but to what end?

In the same January 2022 edition of Motor Trend was an article on the Rivian R1T off-road EV. The article notes that in order to power their test vehicle Rivian “donated chargers to many of the hotels and campgrounds along the [test] route.”

That’s one of many issues with EVs, getting their battery charged.

The Bottom Line

ICE vehicles will continue to trump all EV vehicles. Here are some reasons for this prediction:

  1. EV vehicles, even with government subsidies, are too expensive for the working class.
  2. EVs take too long to charge up.
  3. EVs have major problems especially when the battery in them goes bad, e.g. a Tesla owner’s battery needed to be replaced at a cost of $23,000. Compare this to $60 for an ICE vehicle.
  4. EV charging stations are still to few and to far between to be practical.
  5. EV manufacturers, even those like Mercedes, Audi, Porsha, Ford, Chevrolet, GM, aren’t seeing a large enough customer base to make selling EVs profitable. Certainly not enough EV customers to abandon manufacturing ICE vehicles.
  6. You still need electricity to power your EV much of which comes from power plants that are driven by coal, oil and natural gas. In China, the country with largest number of EVs, gets the majority of its electricity from 1,082 coal fired power plants. BTW, America is third in the world with 252 active coal fired power plants.
  7. No electricity then no power to charge your EV. Just look at the blackouts in California to see the future of going green.

Paige Lambermont in an article titled “California Will Continue to Reap the Blackouts It Sows” reported:

It doesn’t take an engineer to see the worrying trend towards electrical deficit brewing over the horizon as blackouts already hamper the state.

One major cause of the rise in usage of wind and solar power in California is the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) which requires that by 2030 all “electric load-serving entities” procure 60 percent of their electricity from renewables, and that by 2045 that share becomes 100 percent. Because of this requirement, utilities use far more of these intermittent resources, resources that although “greener” are less reliable, than they otherwise would. To compensate, California cycles their baseload resources up and down as the sun ceases to shine or the wind ceases to blow, making blackouts more likely.

[ … ]

California imported nearly one-third of its electricity from other states in 2018. This is all fine and good when neighboring states have power to spare, but when they don’t their own capacity needs are fulfilled first.

Lambermont concluded with this warning,

If actions are not immediately taken to both keep current reliable baseload capacity, and remove legal limitations on the construction of new ones, both nuclear and natural gas, then California’s current power predicament may become a regular occurrence.

Without a major tidal shift in California energy policy, this problem is not currently destined to right itself.

Want to see what going green does? Just look at California. BTW, Motor Trend’s headquarters is in El Segundo, California and is owned by Discovery, Inc. (merger with WarnerMedia) to form Warner Bros.

Get it? Got it? Good!

©Dr. Rich Swier. All rights reserved.

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