Manufacturing EVs can have some unintended effects on the environment, and we have to proceed carefully when it comes to making electric cars. Learn about how EV production might harm some aspects of the environment and wipe out the Tiehm's buckwheat plant in Nevada.
. The factories used to produce EVs generate even more carbon emissions than building a gas car.
Much of the electricity that powers electric cars still comes from plants that burn coal for energy. EVs are better options for the environment, but they’re not completely carbon neutral.
To make EVs as green as they can be, we’ll need to find ways to charge them using electricity generated from renewable sources like solar panels. Perhaps the largest environmental concern is the fact that electric car batteries rely heavily on lithium.
has reported that the world will need to mine 42 times as much lithium as it did in 2020 to meet climate goals. Currently, with the mines and projects under construction, only half the demand for lithium will be met in 2030.
For now, the United States only has one active lithium mine. Managing director of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, which researches the EV supply chain, Simon Moores, said that "The USA is on lithium red alert." Moores said that lithium is even more important geopolitically than oil.
Lithium mining may contribute to plant extinction
Lithium mining can harm the biodiversity of our planet. CNN reported that the Tiehm's buckwheat may go extinct if a lithium mine is built on top of it. Patrick Donnelly, director of the Center for Biological Diversity, said that "Biodiversity is what gives us clean air to breath and clean water to drink and it's what puts food on our plates."
Tiehm's buckwheat is a small plant with yellow flowers, and it grows on about 10 acres in southwest Nevada. Experts said that this plant wouldn't be able to grow anywhere else in the world. Environmentalists warn that we don’t know the full effects of the Tiehm’s buckwheat being wiped out.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is deciding whether or not to list the plant as an endangered species to try to protect it.
CEO, Elon Musk, said "There's so much damn lithium on Earth it's crazy." Since the resource is abundant, environmentalists are hoping that companies start to harvest lithium from other sources that don’t threaten biodiversity.