Re: Time to go electric, SMDP, 1/13/22

Perhaps Mr. Scott is not looking around as he drives the streets of Santa Monica. Teslas are parked on every block it seems, and they seem very reluctant to obey stop signs, but that is another matter.

We have an owner in our building with a Tesla Model 3. They inquired about getting a charger so we helped research it. We got estimates of around $30,000 to either do the upgrades to the building electricals necessary or to bring in a separate circuit with sufficient capacity for charging an electric car. Needless to say, the owner declined to pursue it.

While my wife and I were driving up the Pacific Coast Highway through Malibu, California last week, we got stuck in traffic next to a Tesla Model 3 which had license plates from Ohio. I laughed to myself and told my wife, “When that guy’s at home, that’s a “coal-fired Tesla.” 

Electric cars are not “zero emission” vehicles by any means. They may be “zero emissions right here,” but in reality they are “remote emission vehicles,” dependent on power plants supplying electricity through the grid. In California, we have a good contribution from solar, wind, hydroelectric, even some geothermal and one aging nuclear plant, but the biggest source of electricity in the US is still fossil fuel power plants, including lots of coal-fired ones.

And that Tesla Model 3 is hauling around 1054 pounds of batteries everywhere it goes, including about 12 pounds of lithium and 40 pounds of cobalt, elements obtained by less than environmentally-friendly mining. 

The Teslas sold last year – around 930,000 – used about 4 billion batteries. The battery units they used, if stacked up would form a pyramid about half the size of the Great Pyramid at Giza and weigh almost 1 billion pounds – half a million tons. Does anybody have a plan to dispose of these or recycle the toxic waste they represent in a decade or so? 

Jim Hayes, Santa Monica