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Electric Cars.... Savior or destroyer of the environment?

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Could digging up the ocean floor help save the planet?

‎Today, ‎November ‎13, ‎2019, ‏‎4 hours ago
The seabed is rich in metals, but what damage could mining it cause

Electric car future may depend on deep sea mining

By David Shukman Science editor, Malaga, Spain
Apollo Image caption Apollo II is a prototype deep sea mining machine being tested off the coast of Malaga

The future of electric cars may depend on mining critically important metals on the ocean floor.

That's the view of the engineer leading a major European investigation into new sources of key elements.

Demand is soaring for the metal cobalt - an essential ingredient in batteries and abundant in rocks on the seabed.

Laurens de Jonge, who's running the EU project, says the transition to electric cars means "we need those resources".

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The BBC's David Shukman explains how deep sea mining works

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Media captionThe BBC's David Shukman explains how deep sea mining works

He was speaking during a unique set of underwater experiments designed to assess the impact of extracting rocks from the ocean floor.

In calm waters 15km off the coast of Malaga in southern Spain, a prototype mining machine was lowered to the seabed and 'driven' by remote control.

Cameras attached to the Apollo II machine recorded its progress and, crucially, monitored how the aluminium tracks stirred up clouds of sand and silt as they advanced.

Did deep sea mining start with CIA plot?


An array of instruments was positioned nearby to measure how far these clouds were carried on the currents - the risk of seabed mining smothering marine life over a wide area is one of the biggest concerns.

What is 'deep sea mining'?

It's hard to visualise, but imagine opencast mining taking place at the bottom of the ocean, where huge remote-controlled machines would excavate rocks from the seabed and pump them up to the surface.


The concept has been talked about for decades, but until now it's been thought too difficult to operate in the high-pressure, pitch-black conditions as much as 5km deep.

Now the technology is advancing to the point where dozens of government and private ventures are weighing up the potential for mines on the ocean floor.

Apollo Apollo

Why would anyone bother?

The short answer: demand. The rocks of the seabed are far richer in valuable metals than those on land and there's a growing clamour to get at them.

Billions of potato-sized rocks known as "nodules" litter the abyssal plains of the Pacific and other oceans and many are brimming with cobalt, suddenly highly sought after as the boom in the production of batteries gathers pace.

At the moment, most of the world's cobalt is mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo where for years there've been allegations of child labour, environmental damage and widespread corruption.

Electric carImage copyright Getty Images Image caption Current technology for electric car batteries require cobalt, thought to be abundant on the sea floor

Expanding production there is not straightforward which is leading mining companies to weigh the potential advantages of cobalt on the seabed.

Laurens de Jonge, who's in charge of the EU project, known as Blue Nodules, said: "It's not difficult to access - you don't have to go deep into tropical forests or deep into mines.

"It's readily available on the seafloor, it's almost like potato harvesting only 5km deep in the ocean."

And he says society faces a choice: there may be in future be alternative ways of making batteries for electric cars - and some manufacturer are exploring them - but current technology requires cobalt.

RocksImage copyright Geomar Image caption Laurens de Jonge likens the process to "potato harvesting" 5km down in the ocean

"If you want to make a fast change, you need cobalt quick and you need a lot of it - if you want to make a lot of batteries you need the resources to do that."

His view is backed by a group of leading scientists at London's Natural History Museum and other institutions.

They recently calculated that meeting the UK's targets for electric cars by 2050 would require nearly twice the world's current output of cobalt.

So what are the risks?

No one can be entirely sure, which makes the research off Spain highly relevant.

It's widely accepted that whatever is in the path of the mining machines will be destroyed - there's no argument about that.

But what's uncertain is how far the damage will reach, in particular the size of the plumes of silt and sand churned up and the distance they will travel, potentially endangering marine life far beyond the mining site.

The chief scientist on board, Henko de Stigter of the Dutch marine research institute NIOZ, points out that life in the deep Pacific - where mining is likely to start first - has adapted to the usually "crystal clear conditions".

Apollo at dawn

So for any organisms feeding by filter, waters that are suddenly filled with stirred-up sediment would be threatening.

"Many species are unknown or not described, and let alone do we know how they will respond to this activity - we can only estimate."

And Dr de Stigter warned of the danger of doing to the ocans what humanity has done to the land.

"With every new human activity it's often difficult to foresee all the consequences of that in the long term.

"What is new here is that we are entering an environment that is almost completely untouched."

Could deep sea mining be made less damaging?

Ralf Langeler thinks so. He's the engineer in charge of the Apollo II mining machine and he believes the design will minimise any impacts.

Like Laurens de Jonge, he works for the Dutch marine engineering giant Royal IHC and he says his technology can help reduce the environmental effects.

The machine is meant to cut a very shallow slice into the top 6-10cm of the seabed, lifting the nodules. Its tracks are made with lightweight aluminium to avoid sinking too far into the surface.

David and Ralph Image caption David Shukman (R) talks to Ralf Langeler, the engineer in charge of the Apollo II mining machine

Silt and sand stirred up by the extraction process should then be channelled into special vents at the rear of the machine and released in a narrow stream, to try to avoid the plume spreading too far.

"We'll always change the environment, that's for sure," Ralf says, "but that's the same with onshore mining and our purpose is to minimise the impact."

I ask him if deep sea mining is now a realistic prospect.

"One day it's going to happen, especially with the rising demand for spwcial metals - and they're there on the sea floor."

Who decides if it goes ahead?

Mining in territorial waters can be approved by an individual government.

That happened a decade ago when Papua New Guinea gave the go-ahead to a Canadian company, Nautilus Minerals, to mine gold and copper from hydrothermal vents in the Bismarck Sea.

Since then the project has been repeatedly delayed as the company ran short of funds and the prime minister of PNG called for a ten-year moratorium on deep sea mining.

A Nautilus Minerals representative has told me that the company is being restructured and that they remain hopeful of starting to mine.

Meanwhile, nearly 30 other ventures are eyeing areas of ocean floor beyond national waters, and these are regulated by a UN body, the International Seabed Authority (ISA).

It has issued licences for exploration and is due next year to publish the rules that would govern future mining.

The EU's Blue Nodules project involves a host of different institutions and countries.

The vessel used for the underwater research off Spain, the Sarmiento de Gamboa, is operated by CSIC, the Spanish National Research Council.

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And then there’s also a world wide shortage of nickel

“ When most people think about the composition of batteries used in modern electric vehicles such as those produced by Tesla, or the batteries that keep our smartphones powered up, the word Lithium comes to mind. In fact, these batteries are so prevalent in modern life, that the word “lithium-ion” has become a household term. What most do not know, is that lithium-ion batteries are comprised of several metals, or at least the oxides of several metals including cobalt, nickel, and lithium. 



Each of these metals is in fairly short supply across world markets, mainly because they are extremely hard to extract from the earth as the ore from which they originate contains a relatively low amount of the metals thus requiring hundreds of tons of ore be mined to produce a single ton of metal. Once minded from the earth, the procedures involved in the refining processes are not only highly toxic but are quite damaging to the environment. If those two issues did not complicate things enough, the ore deposits are often found in countries that are wrought with conflict, corruption, and humanitarian issues. 


“Sarah Maryssael, Tesla’s global supply manager for battery metals, told a closed-door Washington conference of miners, regulators, and lawmakers that the automaker sees a shortage of key EV minerals coming in the near future, according to the sources.”


For years now shortages in the lithium supply have caused massive price fluctuations causing consumers to be wary of electric vehicles because they feared a batter replacement might cost them more than their vehicle did originally. Fortunately, that market seems to have stabilized greatly since companies like Tesla and Samsung have increased market demand. At the moment, there seems to be a small surplus of Lithium, causing the market to level out as a result. If producers continue to maintain this surplus is another question altogether. That brings us to the other two metals, nickel, and cobalt. 



Cobalt is mainly mined in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a region of significant political instability, but for the most part, the production seems to be steady, with the materials fairly high price remaining mostly stable. Nickel, however, is the secret no one wants to talk about. Despite it being a fairly common, widely used metal, its worldwide production is had been relatively flat for the past several years despite a steady increase in demand. Just in the first half of 2019 alone, nickel prices rose by more than a third, with prices expected to increase even more. 


Maryssael added, “According to the sources, that Tesla will continue to focus more on nickel, part of a plan by Chief Executive Elon Musk to use less cobalt in battery cathodes. Cobalt is primarily mined in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and some extraction techniques – especially those using child labor – have made its use deeply unpopular across the battery industry, especially with Musk.”


One of the causes for this has been a lack of mine expansion due to environmental concerns, among other political issues. The Sumitomo Metal Mining Company of Japan recently told journalists that they are facing a deficit in production of almost 51,000 tons for the 2019 calendar year. That’s really bad news, as industry analyst expects the worldwide demand for “class-one nickel”, the highest purity grade, to increase by a factor of almost 16-times the demand we are seeing today in 2019. By 2030 industries across the world will consume more than 1.8-million tons, of class-one nickel. This is a much bigger issue than just a lack of batteries for electric vehicles. Nickel is used in a lot of different manufacturing processes. Stainless steel production uses a lot of the available nickel that is produced. Nickel is used as a bonding agent in chrome-plated metals, and it's used heavily in the aerospace industry for exotic metal alloy production. 


This has led companies like the First Quantum Minerals Ltd in Australia to make plans to reopen mines that have been closed for years. Other mineral companies around the world are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars in exploration looking for new deposits that are mineable, a task which is not as easy as it once was due to new environmental restrictions worldwide. Some analyst are predicting that unless nickel production increases significantly within the next 10-years, demand will greatly outpace production sometime by 2035. If that wasn’t enough Cobalt production could be outpaced by 2030 if a political conflict does not cause production to halt.  




Edited by Jaydee

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Re Nickel, that is good news for Canadian Mines , perhaps time to buy some stock.

Nickel and its compounds are essential for the manufacture of countless products that we rely on daily. Reflecting this vast use, Canada's nickel and nickel-related products are exported to more than 100 countries.

 Key facts

  • Canada's exports of nickel and nickel-based products in 2017 were valued at $3.8 billion
  • In 2017, Canada ranked fifth in the world for mine production of nickel and fourth for production of refined nickel

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1 hour ago, Marshall said:

Re Nickel, that is good news for Canadian Mines , perhaps time to buy some stock.

If you are looking for an investment that MIGHT pay off in 5 years or so....(not an investment recommendation by any stretch of the imagination)


“ The Dumont Nickel-Cobalt Project is one of the world’s largest undeveloped, permitted and shovel ready nickel sulphide deposits.

Dumont is a large deposit located near the town of Amos, in the municipalities of Launay and Trécesson, in the established Abitibi mining camp in the mining-friendly Canadian province of Québec. When in production, it is expected to rank among the top-five largest nickel sulphide operations in the world by annual production – only the mining operations at Norilsk (Russia), Jinchuan (China) and Sudbury (Ontario, Canada), will be larger.”

Edited by Jaydee

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The German car industry’s costly bet on electric cars could backfire as cities fight cars of any description

Fri Dec 6, 2019 - The Globe and Mail
Eric Reguly - European bureau chief

Germany’s automakers are spending hundreds of billions of euros for the transition to electric propulsion. It is the country’s biggest industrial gamble since the Second World War – and it may not work.

The auto industry is going against the wishes of consumers, who do not want electric cars, according to polls, and cannot afford them. It’s fighting unions, who suspect the phase-out of regular cars is a ruse to fire them or pay them less. And it will soon be at odds with cities, which of course prefer electric cars to emission-spewing ones but would rather have no cars at all, because their streets are clogged to the point of paralysis.

Volkswagen alone expects to spend €60-billion ($88-billion) on electric, hybrid and digital technology in the next five years, the equivalent of almost 70 per cent of its stock-market value. The company intends to have eight MEB – modular electric drive – plants humming away on three continents by 2022. It calls its strategy an “electric offensive,” as if it’s going to war against its own fleet of traditional cars.

Good luck, Volkswagen, Daimler (owner of Mercedes-Benz) and BMW. The electric bet is a lot riskier than it appears.

Let’s start with demand. In Germany, Europe’s top car market, a mere 16 per cent of drivers are thinking about buying an electric car, according to a September poll commissioned by electric utility E.ON. But even in the countries that most like the idea – Italy and Romania – only a bit more than a third of drivers would consider going electric.

No wonder so few electric cars are rolling out of showrooms. In Germany, just 420,000 of the country’s private fleet of 47 million cars were electric or hybrids at the end of 2018, according to Bloomberg. Their market-penetration rate is similar elsewhere. Ontario has about 12 million vehicles, but only 41,000 of them are electric. The provincial government’s environment plan assumes that number will rise to 1.3 million by 2030 – a fantasy figure, all the more so since Premier Doug Ford ended the hefty purchase incentives for zero-emission cars last year.

Range anxiety has a lot to do with buyers’ hesitation, as do the lengthy recharging times and the dearth of charging points on highways and in cities. While the range of some electric models is now competitive with that of gas- or diesel-powered cars, their prices are still outrageous. An electric Volkswagen Golf starts at €32,900 in Italy (where I live), before government incentives; the entry-level Golf with a gas engine costs €22,250. To be sure, the price of electric cars will come down, broadening their appeal somewhat, even if regular cars will always be cheaper.

Here’s the problem – and it’s a biggie: Electric cars make the most sense in cities, not in rural areas, because their regenerative braking systems make their urban ranges better than their highway ranges. But cities everywhere are trying to repel cars, not attract them.

Today, about 55 per cent of the world’s population lives in cities. By 2050, the proportion will rise to two-thirds, the United Nations says. Since most of these cities, from London to Beijing, suffer from terrible air pollution, it’s in their best interests to develop environmentally clean transportation. But that does not necessarily mean opening the city gates to electric or autonomous cars, which will be mostly electric.

There’s no room for more cars of any description. To ban or restrict diesel cars, which some cities are doing, makes sense for air quality, but it makes no sense if they’re simply replaced by electric cars that keep traffic at a standstill.

The point is that electric cars have the pollution advantage in precisely the areas – cities – where there should be no cars at all. If the sales projections of German automakers assume saturation market share for electric cars among urban buyers over the next decades, they may be horribly wrong. Cities will buy electric and hybrid buses and electric trams. The biggest municipalities will expand their subway systems. If cities want to be livable, there is no alternative.

In 2020, Luxembourg will become the first country to make all public transportation – trains, trams and buses – free. The country has the most cars per capita in the European Union, and its traffic congestion is horrendous. It doesn’t want commuters to use any cars, even electric ones. Some of the big cities in Europe are bound to follow its example.

Have the German car companies overestimated the potential popularity of electric cars? The tiny market share of such vehicles suggests they have, and the inevitable launch of anti-car campaigns could keep their sales from soaring. Still, they plan to spend fortunes developing zero-emission cars. Here’s a guess: The German government, which already hands out lavish purchase incentives for electric cars, will have to come to their rescue in a few years as these products sit in showrooms.



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Electric vehicles are supposed to be green, but the truth is a bit murkier

Mining lithium for batteries, plus how they're charged, can affect an EV’s impact on environment

David Common & Jill English · CBC News · Posted: Dec 29, 2019 4:00 AM ET | Last Updated: a minute ago
An electric vehicle may not have a tailpipe, but it still has a carbon footprint. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

At gatherings of electric vehicle enthusiasts, the curious surround Rob Spreitzer and his car. Both are celebrities in these circles — he's known as "High Mileage Rob," having driven more than 115,000 kilometres in his Tesla Model 3 in a little more than a year of ownership.

No other Model 3 in Canada is believed to have reached that milestone in such a short time, and it's possible no other battery-only electric vehicle has either.


And not once has he stopped for gas. Never changed the oil. 

"I probably saved about $10,000 last year," Spreitzer says.

He's also trying to save the planet by eliminating greenhouse gas emissions. His car, like other zero-emission EVs, doesn't have a tailpipe and a popular online carbon calculator shows it has a zero-carbon output.

But that doesn't mean there isn't a carbon footprint.


How environmentally friendly are electric cars, really?

  • 19 days ago
    • 7:25
      • Turn captions on
An electric car doesn't produce emissions, but its parts still have a carbon footprint. We look at all the components of EVs, from how they're charged to what's in the battery to see how environmentally friendly they are. 7:25

Where does your power come from?

Some EV batteries today pack 10 times as much power as an average household uses in a day. And often, those electric vehicles are being charged at home.

Most of the electricity generated by North American grids has some greenhouse gas emissions connected to it. So even if a car isn't belching carbon, it doesn't mean it's perfectly clean.

For instance, coal is about the dirtiest way to generate electricity to recharge a car battery. Powering an EV with electricity generated from coal is marginally better than burning gasoline in an internal-combustion engine, according to numbers compiled by Jennifer Dunn at Northwestern University's Center for Engineering Sustainability and Resilience.


Most North American grids are composed of a mix of generating sources, from coal to hydro to nuclear, though Canada has pledged to eliminate coal-burning plants by 2030. When that mix is taken into account, charging a car generally creates less than half the carbon emissions compared to gasoline, according to Dunn.

It's only when electricity comes from clean, renewable sources like wind and solar that you see the most pronounced drop in EV emissions generated to power the car.

Where does your battery come from?

Before an electric vehicle even charges for the first time, however, one key part of its power system already has a significant carbon footprint.

"One really important aspect of an EV to think about is its battery," explains Dunn.

"For example, the material that helps power the battery is produced from a number of different metals, things like nickel and cobalt and lithium."

Mining and processing the minerals, plus the battery manufacturing process, involve substantial emissions of carbon.

Lithium mining, needed to build the lithium ion batteries at the heart of today's EVs, has also been connected to other kinds of environmental harm. There have been mass fish kills related to lithium mining in Tibet, for example. The freshwater supply is being consumed by mines in South America's lithium-rich region. Even in North America, where mining regulations are strict, harsh chemicals are used to extract the valuable metal.

An aerial view of the brine pools and processing areas of the Rockwood lithium plant on the Atacama salt flat in northern Chile, the largest lithium deposit currently in production. (Ivan Alvarado/Reuters)

And all the operations are energy intensive, sometimes running on diesel generators and relying on carbon-emitting heavy machinery.

Adding to the cumulative effects on the environment, lithium demand is expected to at least triple by 2025, pushing more exploration and extraction globally.

Second life for lithium-ion batteries 

And all that extracted raw material — once the batteries are worn out — will land somewhere.

It's something Andrew MacDonald at Maritime Autoparts in Debert, N.S., is thinking about. His facility recycles car parts and he says it's only a few more years before his industry will start seeing EVs and their lithium-ion batteries in the scrapyard.

"As pure electric vehicles come onto the market, there's less wearable parts, so it's going to change what we sell," he says.

Andrew MacDonald of Maritime Autoparts is expecting to start seeing lithium-ion batteries at his recycling facility within the next few years as electric vehicles age. Problem is, it’s not clear what he should do with them. (Jill English/CBC)

MacDonald adds that his company is already receiving nickel metal hydride batteries from early-model hybrids, and is figuring out what to do with them.

"We do our own research, but it would be nice to have better partnerships with the OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] to understand exactly what we're dealing with, what are the best methods and procedures and policies in handling them," MacDonald says.

"There's lots of stuff going on in the research labs around the world, trying to figure out what to do with these things. But certainly there's a big potential for what you can do with them," he says.

One of those research facilities is the U.K.'s Faraday Institution, and it's looking at ways to both reduce waste and extend the usefulness of all that lithium that's being mined.

"There are going to be a lot of batteries that reach end of life. Out of those batteries, you're going to find very valuable applications in second life," says Gavin Harper, a Faraday Institution research fellow and the lead author of last month's paper on battery recycling, published in the journal Nature.

Beyond powering cars, researchers are developing new applications for high-density lithium-ion batteries, as well as for cells when they're recycled from older cars. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

He says if reuse is considered in the initial design, applications for batteries can be wide-ranging when their state of health — or charging capacity — is no longer adequate for an electric vehicle. 

"The best option companies are looking at is to remanufacture cells into new battery packs for electric vehicles," he says.

That means taking apart the individual lithium-ion cells that make up an EV battery, removing the unhealthy ones, and reassembling them for continued EV-use.

Beyond powering cars, there are other second-life applications being explored for lithium-ion cells, primarily rooted in energy grid and mobile energy storage, which can include acting as a power reserve for electric vehicle charging stations. 

"In the new energy economy, things go hand in hand," says Harper. 

The challenge now is moving these kinds of applications beyond research labs and cottage industries.

Harper says batteries aren't necessarily designed for disassembly right now, and to make it economically feasible when EVs start to see mass adoption, there's still work to be done.

"We need to make sure we invest time and energy to find the right way of doing things, and solutions that are to scale of what's coming down the line," he says.  

Getting More out of Batteries

Across the ocean, a Canadian research lab is working on another aspect of lithium-ion research, and quite successfully. 

Nova Scotia's Dalhousie University is finding ways to extend battery range and lifespan, led by Jeff Dahn, who is something of an icon to battery players worldwide. Tesla's Elon Musk has heralded his work, and Dahn himself led a group of researchers who proved the feasibility of a million-mile battery.

Dalhousie University’s Jeff Dahn is considered a pioneer of lithium-ion battery research. His team continues to find ways to improve the technology. (Jill English/CBC)

He's trying to not only pack more power into batteries to boost the range of electric vehicles, he's also working to increase the number of recharges possible without efficiency loss.

"We're trying to help make lithium ion batteries last longer, in terms of years or decades … and lower their cost," Dahn says.

He's also thinking beyond cars — into home heating and electrical needs.

"If you want to use renewable energy for your source of power, the sun and the wind aren't there all the time. So it means you have to be able to store electrical energy. You have to be able to store it at scale affordably. And whatever you're using to store it better last a long, long time so you don't have to replace it all the time."

That was a hot topic of conversation at Canada's largest electric vehicle gathering recently in Cambridge, Ont. There were discussions about how long a modern EV's batteries will last, and the best practices to extend their lifespan (some tips: don't use rapid chargers too often, don't recharge unless you really need it).

High Mileage Rob is perhaps one of the people most consumed by these questions. He spends more time with his Tesla than his wife, he says. And he is intent on keeping both in his life for years to come.

WATCH | From The National, why it can be hard for buyers to find an electric vehicle:


Why it’s hard to sell electric cars

  • 20 days ago
    • 9:24
      • Turn captions on
The long-standing myths about electric vehicles one reason they aren’t everywhere and subject to months-long waits. David Common looks at why and some incentives that could boost supply of electric vehicles. 9:24
  • Like 1

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The new year will bring new charges for some owners of electric vehicles, as an increasing number of states seek to plug in to fresh revenue sources to offset forgone gas taxes.

In Hawaii, the charge will be $50. In Kansas, $100. In Alabama and Ohio, $200.


New or higher registration fees go into effect Wednesday for electric vehicle owners in at least eight states. For the first time, a majority of U.S. states will impose special fees on gas-free cars, SUVs and trucks -- a significant milestone as the trend toward green technology intersects with the mounting need to pay for upgrades and repairs to the nation’s infrastructure.

Though electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles comprised less than 2% of new vehicle sales in 2018, their market share is projected to rise substantially in the coming decade. State officials hope the new fees will make up for at least part of the lost gas tax revenue that is essential to their road and bridge programs.

“I think states are still trying to determine what is a fair or equitable fee on these electric vehicle owners,” said Kristy Hartman, energy program director at the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Imposing fees on electric vehicles is one of several societal trends reflected in laws taking effect in 2020.

Until now, the federal government and some states have offered incentives to people to buy electric vehicles. But federal tax credits are phasing out for some of the most popular models made by Tesla and General Motors, and some states also are switching course.

Illinois, for example, had offered a two-year license plate for electric vehicles for $35, a sizable discount over its basic $98 annual registration fee. Under a law that raised both registration fees and fuel taxes, electric vehicle owners will have to pay the new basic annual rate of $148, plus an additional $100 intended to offset the lost fuel taxes.

“It’s kind of a blanket penalty for anyone who chooses to go electric,” said Neda Deylami, a Tesla owner who founded Chicago for EVs, a group that advocates for electric vehicles.

Three-quarters of the revenue from Alabama’s new $200 fee on electric vehicles and $100 fee for plug-in hybrids will go to fund state and local roads and bridges. The other quarter will fund grants for electric charging infrastructure, and will expire once electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles surpass 4% of all vehicles in the state.

The fee is designed to bring “more than just a fairness relative to maintenance and construction of infrastructure,” said Alabama state Rep. Bill Poole, a Republican, who sponsored the legislation. “I think it went further in terms of planning for the future.”

Because average commuting distances vary by vehicle owner, it’s difficult to set a universally fair fee for electric vehicles, said Loren McDonald, a California-based industry analyst who runs the website EV Adoption.

“States are actually being very reasonable about this,” McDonald said, noting that some are charging less than what vehicle owners might otherwise pay for fuel taxes.

Other states with new or higher electric vehicle fees taking effect in 2020 include Iowa, Oregon and Utah. California, which accounts for nearly half of all electric vehicle sales in the U.S., is to collect a $100 fee on new “zero-emission” vehicles starting July 1.

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The contrast of when reality slams head on into pie in the sky. Preserved for posterity   


Edited by Jaydee
  • Haha 2

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look.  We know we are moving towards an electric future and lowering dependency on fossil fuels.  That's a given.


We still need to support the current economy through a transition phase.  We cannot do it cold turkey without killing the economy.  We are easily more than a decade away so we still need the oil.  Besides that we need the oil anyway since the stuff we use is made from it.


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Another Problem with robot guidance?

US auto safety agency to probe fatal Tesla crash in Los Angeles

  • NHTSAs special crash investigation program will investigate the crash in Los Angeles of a 2016 Tesla.
  • According to local news reports, the vehicle was speeding and ran a red light after exiting a freeway and crashed into another vehicle, killing its two occupants.
  • The NHTSA did not say if autopilot was suspected in the Los Angeles crash.

Premium EA: Tesla logo on car 150820

The Tesla Motors Inc. logo.
Michael Short | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The fatal Dec. 29 crash of a Tesla vehicle in Southern California will be investigated by the U.S. government’s auto safety regulator, the agency said on Tuesday.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said earlier this month it had opened an investigation into a 12th Tesla crash that may be tied to the vehicles advanced Autopilot driver assistance system after a Tesla Model 3 rear-ended a parked police car in Connecticut.


NHTSA did not say if autopilot was suspected in Sunday’s crash in Gardena in Los Angeles county.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Los Angeles television station KTLA reported the driver exited the 91 Freeway in Gardena, ran a red light and struck a 2006 Honda Civic, killing its two occupants.

The two people inside the Tesla were hospitalized but did not have life-threatening injuries, KTLA reported, citing Los Angeles police.

Autopilot had been engaged in at least three Tesla vehicles that were involved in fatal U.S. crashes since 2016. The National Transportation Safety Board has criticized Autopilot’s lack of safeguards and said in September in its probe of a 2018 Culver City, California Tesla crash that the systems design “permitted the driver to disengage from the driving task.”


Tesla and NHTSA both advise drivers that they must keep their hands on the steering wheel and pay attention at all times while using Autopilot. Tesla says Autopilot “enables your car to steer, accelerate and brake automatically within its lane,” but does not make the vehicle autonomous.

Some drivers say they are able to keep their hands off the wheel for extended periods when using the system. Last month, U.S. Senator Ed Markey said Tesla should disable Autopilot until it installs new safeguards to prevent drivers from evading system limits that could let them fall asleep.

NHTSA has previously confirmed special crash investigations in a number of Tesla crashes but until earlier this month had not disclosed the total number of crashes under review. NHTSA previously investigated another Tesla crash that it initially suspected of being tied to Autopilot but ruled it out.

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if it was a Ford focus no one would care.


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5 minutes ago, boestar said:

if it was a Ford focus no one would care.


They sure would if the "Driver" was not steering and relying on cruise control to keep him (I guess I should say "them") out of trouble. 

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On 11/13/2019 at 11:59 AM, Marshall said:

Re Nickel, that is good news for Canadian Mines , perhaps time to buy some stock.

Nickel and its compounds are essential for the manufacture of countless products that we rely on daily. Reflecting this vast use, Canada's nickel and nickel-related products are exported to more than 100 countries.

 Key facts

  • Canada's exports of nickel and nickel-based products in 2017 were valued at $3.8 billion
  • In 2017, Canada ranked fifth in the world for mine production of nickel and fourth for production of refined nickel

Also cobalt. There are some interesting things happening in the traditional cobalt zone near, wait for it... Cobalt, Ontario. First, a lot of mines in that area were mined out for silver, and there is some recoverable cobalt in the tailings. And more importantly, there have been some new cobalt/silver zones identified in the vicinity. There is talk of a mini-boom in the making.

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2 hours ago, dagger said:

Also cobalt. There are some interesting things happening in the traditional cobalt zone near, wait for it... Cobalt, Ontario. First, a lot of mines in that area were mined out for silver, and there is some recoverable cobalt in the tailings. And more importantly, there have been some new cobalt/silver zones identified in the vicinity. There is talk of a mini-boom in the making.


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U.S. government looking into complaint about Teslas accelerating without cause

Posted January 17, 2020 10:24 am
Updated January 17, 2020 10:25 am

DETROIT — The U.S. government’s auto safety agency is looking into allegations that all three of Tesla‘s electric vehicles can suddenly accelerate on their own.

An unidentified person petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration asking for an investigation into the problem. An agency document outlining the allegations shows 127 owner complaints to the government that include 110 crashes and 52 injuries.

The agency said it will look into allegations that cover about 500,000 Tesla vehicles including the Tesla Model 3, Model S and Model X vehicles from the 2013 through 2019 model years. The agency’s investigations office will evaluate the petition and decide if it should open a formal probe.

Messages were left Friday morning seeking comment from Tesla.

Global News has reached out to Transport Canada for comment.

NHTSA is already investigating three December crashes involving Tesla vehicles in which three people were killed. The agency’s special crash investigations unit sent teams to Gardena, California, and near Terre Haute, Indiana, to probe two fatal crashes. Another crash in Connecticut also is under investigation.


Some of the unintended acceleration complaints, which have yet to be verified by NHTSA, allege that the cars’ electronics malfunctioned.

For instance, one owner in San Clemente, California, told NHTSA that in November of 2018, a Model X SUV accelerated on its own to full power during a U-Turn on a city street. The driver had a foot on the brake, but the SUV accelerated in a fraction of a second, according to the complaint. The driver alleged that something in Tesla’s system “triggered the sudden spontaneously full acceleration, resulting in this collision.”

READ MORE: Tesla investigating video appearing to show Model S bursting into flames

The SUV hit a parked vehicle, the air bags inflated and the owner had a large abdominal bruise and several small chest bruises, according to the complaint. People who file complaints with NHTSA are not identified in the agency’s database.

The driver asked NHTSA to find out whether the Tesla complaints had common elements, including parking or making turns at low speeds.

In another crash, in May of 2013, the owner of a Model S sedan in Thousand Oaks, California, complained that while pulling into a parking spot, the car suddenly accelerated on its own.

The Model S went over a parking block and a curb and struck a cement light post. The air bags inflated, but no one was hurt, the complaint said.


Three weeks after the crash, the owner got a letter from Tesla saying that the accelerator was depressed to 48% just before the crash and 98% at the time of impact. The owner still believes the car accelerated by itself, the complaint stated.

Anyone can petition NHTSA to investigate an auto safety problem, and the agency said in a statement Friday that it encourages people to report concerns.

In the other Tesla crashes that NHTSA is investigating, authorities are trying to determine whether the cars were operating on Autopilot, a system designed to keep a car in its lane and a safe distance from other vehicles. Autopilot also can change lanes on its own.

Separately, the National Transportation Safety Board will hold a hearing Feb. 25 on a fatal crash in Mountain View, California, involving a Tesla that was operating on the company’s Autopilot driver assist system.

Tesla has said repeatedly that its Autopilot system is designed only to assist drivers, who must still pay attention and be ready to intervene at all times. The company contends that Teslas with Autopilot are safer than vehicles without it, but cautions that the system does not prevent all crashes.

NHTSA’s crash program has inspected 23 crashes involving vehicles that the agency believed were operating on some form of partially automated advanced driver assist system. Fourteen of these cases involved Tesla models. The team investigates more than 100 crashes per year.

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all vehicles today have a "black Box" which can easily verify claims of "my foot was on the brake"  It wouldnt be the first time someone hit the gas instead of the brake and crashed.


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1 hour ago, boestar said:

all vehicles today have a "black Box" which can easily verify claims of "my foot was on the brake"  It wouldnt be the first time someone hit the gas instead of the brake and crashed.


Isn't that why you don't here much afterwards about the car being at fault?

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49 minutes ago, deicer said:

why you don't here much afterwards about the car being at fault?

Putting multi-layered automation in the hands of untrained individuals hurtling down the interstate at 80mph is nothing more than an invitation for me to ask "what did you think was going to happen?" 

Looking back on my TRI/TRE days, even getting pilots to select the level of automation appropriate to the task at hand  could be a challenge.  

Edited by Wolfhunter

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I think the door has already been opened re multi-layered automation in cars. Many brands are now advertising their lane changing overrides, auto braking when getting to close etc. Pretty soon the average driver will come to rely on those features and not use their own senses.  Here is a link to a paper that was published last year: Policy Framework 2019.pdf

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