This blog posting represents the views of the author, David Fosberry. Those opinions may change over time. They do not constitute an expert legal or financial opinion.

If you have comments on this blog posting, please email me .

The Opinion Blog is organised by threads, so each post is identified by a thread number ("Major" index) and a post number ("Minor" index). If you want to view the index of blogs, click here to download it as an Excel spreadsheet.

Click here to see the whole Opinion Blog.

To view, save, share or refer to a particular blog post, use the link in that post (below/right, where it says "Show only this post").

Fewer Cars, Not Just Cleaner Cars

Posted on 6th August 2017

Show only this post
Show all posts in this thread.

This report from the BBC makes a good case that cleaner cars are not the answer to our problems with environmental problems. We need to reduce the number of cars.

The report describes a study by Professor Kelly, of the UK's Royal College of Physician, which points out that even electric cars produce significant quantities of particulate matter (PM) pollution, from their brakes and tyres, with major health impacts. The UK government's recently announced plan to outlaw the sale of all new non-electric cars by 2040 will help reduce PM pollution from diesel vehicles, but do nothing about these other sources of PMs.

The environmental benefits of electric vehicles are anyway questionable, at best. Electricity is not a pollution-free source of electricity, but only pollution-elsewhere. Admittedly the centralised and bulk production of electricity in power stations is more efficient and lower-pollution than burning fossil fuels in the mini-power-stations of car engines, but there are huge inefficiencies in the storage and later recovery of that electricity from batteries, and more inefficiencies in hauling the heavy battery packs (a 70 kWh Tesla Model S battery pack weighs over 1,000 lbs [~453 kg]) around in the vehicles.

Add to that the pollution from producing and later disposing of the batteries themselves, based, as they are, on highly toxic metals. That same 70 kWh Tesla Model S battery pack contains significant quantities of Cobalt, plus Aluminium and Nickel. Batteries from other manufacturers contain lots of Manganese. There is a nice breakdown of the contents of high-tech batteries here.

I guess that Professor Kelly is right: we really are going to have to learn to live without our precious cars.