For years now, electric vehicles have been gaining traction for being a better alternative than gas cars. However, in recent months many articles have come to light with contradictory information on electric vehicles and what they can and cannot provide to consumers. Electric cars have been backed by many corporations, politicians and investors for years now, and it seems to only be getting more buzz as time goes on. The major reason consumers switch to electric vehicles, such as Tesla, is because of tailpipe emissions and the threat they pose to the environment. Although it is true that tailpipe emissions can cause great harm to the environment, electric cars come with staggering flaws themselves.
A writer named Paris Marx has a book called “What Silicon Valley Gets Wrong About the Future of Transportation” and in it, he expands on the electric car industry. Marx believes that there are two types of emission: tailpipe (which is the gas that comes out of the back pipe when driving gas vehicles) and lifetime (manufacturing of the vehicle). Although electric vehicles do not produce much tailpipe emissions, they do require recharging. When charging electric cars, the consumer is using electricity from power plants which in turn pollutes as the vast majority of power sources are non-renewable. Certain consumers argue that over time solar or wind power may demolish this concern making electric cars sustainable.
This, however, is not the only problem with electric vehicles. The way in which electric cars are manufactured is staggering. The two main minerals that electric vehicles use for battery power are cobalt and lithium. Cobalt specifically is mined most commonly in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which is one of the only countries in the world that exports the mineral. As a result of mining these minerals in the Congo, things such as water pollution and habitat destruction occur. The worst part yet about mining these two minerals is that in order to mine cobalt, companies such as Apple, Microsoft and Tesla have all aided in child labor to get them.
Companies such as Tesla are extracting these minerals in unethical and immoral ways in order to sell the consumer a pretty picture. Even if electric vehicles did not have environmental issues (which they very much do), the consumer would have to look past the child labor that these companies welcome. The problem with putting all the blame on the consumer and their individual footprint is that it gives billion-dollar companies, such as the ones previously listed, the money and status to continue doing these things. Most consumers aren’t even aware of the consequences when buying an electrical vehicle because these companies have spent millions trying to cover it up. Instead of pouring money into the electric vehicle industry when it is causing the same amount of harm as conventional gas vehicles, the United States and other countries should focus on making cities more walkable. Having walkable cities not only erases the pollution problem altogether, but is also guaranteed to improve the quality of life by vastly reducing emissions altogether and getting rid of the need for many cars altogether. Public transportation is also a great alternative. Instead of giving billion-dollar companies more money, fame and power, let’s create an affordable and ethical solution to an ever-growing problem.