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Old 06-27-2012, 10:18 AM  
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The Downside of Electric Cars

It seems that no matter the human endeavor there is a downside. Nuclear has its dangers of leakage and waste material storage. Windmills have their land use and other problems. Coal even when cleaned up still has considerable waste product to deal with. The electronic gadgets we can't seem to do without has created a colossal demand for lithium, and now the electric car enters the picture. This quote addresses part of the problem, the full article at somo.nl/news-en/somo-media-coverage/the-dirty-side-of-the-electric-car/ also addresses labor and other concerns. (I couldn't get the link to post as a URL)
Environmental problems with the eco-car start at the very beginning: with the extraction of the mineral lithium. Lithium batteries are best suited for electric cars but world production of the mineral is nowhere near the levels required to meet rising demand.

Currently, Chile is the main producer, but neighbouring Bolivia has the largest commercially extractable reserves. Unfortunately, extraction on a large scale will mean the immediate destruction of a unique ecosystem. SOMO researcher, Tim Steinweg:

"There are huge salt plains in Bolivia, which consist of a hard crust of salt and mineral-rich water below. The lithium is found in that mineral-rich water. To extract it, holes are drilled in the salt crust and the water must be pumped up. Published reports are warning that if the lithium is mined on a large scale, the ecological impacts will be very detrimental. "

The prospect of making piles of money only serves to build tensions between Chile and Bolivia, both of whom want to attract the emerging market for lithium. There is also fierce opposition from foreign mining companies over possible exploitation.
"A pen in the hand of this president is far more dangerous than a gun in the hands of 200 million law-abiding citizens."
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