That’s not really true–or at least not necessarily true. By quantity, most of the processors on a car are for simple, common functionality like for electric windows or seats. Most cars have dozens of these. Current EVs tend to be more on the luxury end of the spectrum, so they do probably have more processors as a fleet average, but that’s not really to do with them being EVs.
Tesla has weathered the supply chain challenges better than pretty much any other automaker. Part of that is better vertical integration and agility in switching suppliers. But I suspect that simplicity is another component here. The Model 3 for instance has no traditional dashboard; just a screen and a few buttons. That likely uses fewer processors than one with several independent LED/LCD panels, extra buttons, etc.
I think that timeline is crazy as well, but even if we did get there, it implies that we will still have ICE cars on the road for a long, long time. The average age of the car fleet is now 12.1 years. If 50% of people buy gas cars in 2030, half of those cars will still be on the road in 2042.
And the 50% EV number is only remotely feasible if we leave out the very popular light truck category. No way will sales of EV trucks be anywhere close to 50% by 2030. Most manufacturers won’t even have an EV truck ready for sale by 2025, and the people who buy trucks are the most skeptical about going electric.
Also, long before we hit 50% of sales we are going to be constrained by lithium production - especially if we also plan to build grid battery storage.
Hence the importance of transitioning new car sales to EV as quickly as possible.
A “Dinero for Dino Burners” program would help. As would major cities banning ICE vehicles.
There’s plenty of lithium out there; it just has to be mined. For such a big advocate of the free market as you are, you don’t seem to grasp the idea that as more lithium is used, more mines become profitable, and more development money for alternative extraction technology becomes available.
Look up how long it takes to go from planning a mine to first delivery. I don’t doubt the market will work hard to provide the lithium if it’s profitable. I DO doubt our ability to open new mines in the west without litigation, pressure from environmentalists, and NIMBY-ism.
The Thacker Pass lithium mine would be the largest lithium mine in the U.S. Exploration work started in 2007, and an application to start construction was submitted to the Bureau of Land Management in 2019. It got an expedited approval in 2020 due to Covid and because lithium has been called out as a strategic mineral, resulting in accelerated approval.
The status of the mine now is that it is tied up in legal challenges from native bands and environmental groups, along with NIMBY challenges because it will use a lot of water. There will be rulings on these cases in 2022, but also the company now has to do archaological digs in select ares first to ensure there are no native bodies from a battle that took place near there.
Don’t expect the mine to start being actually worked on until 2023 at the earliest. After that, it’s a minimum of two years of ‘24/7’ work before the mine is ready to start producing. So that mine can’t possibly open until 2025 at the earliest - six years after initial application, and that with a special accelerated process that cut ‘years’ off of the environmental assessments and such. The average time for other mines tends to be more than a decade.
And how much lithium will that add to the market? About 25% of today’s demand. But by 2030 demand for lithium is expected to be 10 times higher than it is now. So… The biggest mine in America will provide 2.5% of the lithium we will need. If it gets built, which is not a done deal. We’d need 50 more of them just to keep up with demand.
I put my money where my mouth is. When I saw how popular the Ford Lightning was, I put some of my savings in a Lithium fund. That fund bounced between $18 and $35 for a decade before 2020, then took off like a bullet. It’s now at $85 - up over $3 just today.
What was said though was “400 mile batteries cost $100k or more”. It’s obvious that Tesla could offer a 400 mile battery for the Model 3 for a few thousand more if they wanted to. They don’t, presumably for price discrimination purposes–they leave the very highest specs for their premium vehicle, which has higher margins. But if they faced a little competition here, they could offer it no problem. And of course, the battery doesn’t cost anywhere close to the price of the vehicle in the first place.
Yeah, if a 200 mile battery costs $10,000, you could just use two of them…
The reason we aren’t seeing +400 mile batteries is likely just cost and weight balanced off against range requirements. Auto makers have been searching for the range ‘sweet spot’ that eliminates range as an objection for the majority of customers. That seems today to be around 300 miles.
Further gains are more likely to be done around charging speed. The new Hyundai Ioniq 5, for example, has about a 300 mile range, but can go from 10% charge to 80% in about 20 minutes at an 800V charger.
If I pull into a charging station with, say 40% charge, I’m going to be back up to 80% in about ten minutes, which isn’t far off the time it takes to fill and pay for a tank of gas. It’s certainly not long enough to be a major impediment on a long trip. A 1000 mile trip might require four or five stops of 15-20 minutes each, as opposed to maybe three stops of 10 minutes each to fill a tank.
So it might add 45 minute or an hour or something to a 15 hour drive. Not a big deal, especially since in a lot of places you can combine your charging with eating or shopping.
All that said, you can buy a Tesla Model S plaid with 396 miles of range, and the LR Model S has over 400 miles. The Lucid Air has a version with over 500 miles of range. Rivian has an extended range battery option that will give the truck over 400 miles of range for an additional $10K. And there is a rumor that the Ford Lightning’s range is done under truck rules which include 1000 lbs of load in the bed, and reviewers of empty trucks are seeing range numbers over 400.
Regarding the questions about heating, and being stuck in snowstorms: This youtuber ran an interesting comparison test between two different Teslas (with different types of heaters) for 12 hours in ~15F weather.
Summary: Both cars stayed at 70F inside (w seat heaters too) for 12 hours. Both started at 90% charge, both finished around 50% (58 for model Y, 47 for model X). Apparently staying warm while stranded isn’t a worry for EVs, at least not for most situations. Presumably, owners could last considerably longer in a blizzard with a lower inside temperature setting.
Obviously this wasn’t a controlled scientific test, but it’s pretty interesting (to us ICE owners anyway).
Yeah, the last few cars I’ve had have all been under $2500 (like my cool little Honda Insight… first hybrid, duuuude!). I should email Elon and ask him to let me know when he’s got a used Tesla that’ll meet my price point.
I’ll go electric eventually. Love the idea. But I’ll have to pay off the house and save up some, first.
eta: Maybe the (Malia) Obama Administration will have EV Scholarships for us holdouts!
Ascend Elements claims it can turn spent lithium-ion batteries into ones that are better than new — longer-lasting, faster-charging and less-polluting. The recycled energy cells could also provide the U.S. with an added measure of energy independence.
Over the years, the company has grown from bench science to industrial scale. The newly renamed company, Ascend Elements, now based in Westborough, takes thousands of pounds of lithium-ion batteries from cellphones, power tools, laptops and EVs and shreds them. The batteries don’t need to be sorted, which simplifies the recycling process.
Once the shredded material goes through a series of sieves, it emerges as a fine powder known as “black mass.” “That’s essentially where all the value is,” says Roger Lin, Ascend’s vice president of global marketing and government relations. The process, called “Hydro-to-Cathode,” takes about a week to extract the impurities from the powder, leaving behind vats filled with valuable EV metals, according to the company. It also recovers almost 100% of the metals and produces no toxic waste.
He adds that their process results in 93% lower carbon emissions at about half the cost of newly mined metals.
“You’re not shipping material from China … so you’re easing the supply chain [and] reducing greenhouse gases,” Gratz says.
The upcycled batteries also last longer, he says, and can be charged many more times than the original ones.
“We can have at least a 30% [longer] life cycle,” Wang says. “Before you had a 10-year life [cycle]; now you can have 13 or 15 years of life.”
I’m not technically savvy enough to know how much of this is spin vs. reality, but I hope it’s as good as it sounds. They say their results have been independently verified and published in a peer-reviewed journal (link the in article).