The great green and sustainable reconversion of the automobile industry has only one objective: to sell more

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Green looks like… what it really isn’t. Or, at least, it is not as much as it should be or we hope it will be. And they are not conclusions drawn from a more or less biased report, they are the statements of companies such as CATL and SAIC. China has a problem: pollutes too much in the manufacture of its batteries for electric cars.

At the moment, European and American dependence on Asia is very high when it comes to batteries for electric cars. Only 1.19% of the world’s batteries are manufactured by European or Canadian companies. CATL (China), LG (South Korea) and Panasonic (Japan) accumulated in 2021 the manufacture of 32.16%, 20.30% and 12.20% of the world battery production for electric cars.

China has found in the electric car an ideal context to hit the table in a market that until now resisted it: the automotive. They are the ones that produce and buy the most electric vehicles. Companies such as CATL or NIO are benchmarks in their sectors. But, at the same time, from the largest battery producer they warn of the risks: the country is falling behind.

Green cars too polluting

The huge production of batteries for electric cars has a serious problem, at the moment. They are too polluting and consume a lot of energy. This is something that is also happening in the field of semiconductors, but in the case of the electric car it is causing some countries or regions to be reluctant to exploit it.

In Berlin, Tesla encountered great opposition to the installation of a gigafactory, which he finally managed to open after numerous legal obstacles. The water needs for its battery production, they came to question the viability of the project, although construction had already begun.

In Spain we have experienced a similar social opposition in Extremadura, where attempts to build a lithium extraction mine in the vicinity of Cáceres are recurrent but, nevertheless, does not have the approval from all the neighbors.

At the same time, Canada is interested in offering itself as an alternative to the East in the extraction of lithium and other key minerals for the manufacture of electric cars. There, the obstacles have been happening and it has not been until now when they begin to see these types of projects with good eyes.

Of similar problems warns the founder of CATL. Bloomberg highlights that Zeng Yuqun, president and founder of CATL, assured in the World New Energy Vehicle (Beijing electric car conference) that China was falling behind in the carbon footprint of its batteries during manufacturing.

Along the same lines, Chen Hong, president of SAIC, assured that some manufacturers are choosing to produce long-range cars at any price, which is triggering the pollution produced during their development. “These should not be counted as truly low-carbon products,” they collect in Bloomberg in Hong’s words.

A truly green product

Batteries for electric cars have been in the spotlight of detractors from the first moment, ensuring that the contamination from the exhaust pipes was transferred to the producing industries. The truth is an electric vehicle is less polluting throughout its useful life, even if it is to a greater extent during its production.

To reduce the problem, European firms are working on a passport for their batteries, with which they hope to collect the carbon emissions produced during their manufacture. This will be delivered to demonstrate that the energy used has been collected through renewable sources.

In Sweden are choosing the same path, but the process is very expensive. In addition to the social opposition, which is also repeated in the Nordic country and which ensures that only the mine of Norra Karr would contaminate a lake that supplies water to 300,000 people, the companies themselves confirm the difficulty of making the process completely green.

Electric vehicles are reducing the demand for oil.  And the electric car is not the main responsible

Although Talga Group assures in the previous Bloomberg article that its Swedish graphite mining and refinery is completely green, the country’s bureaucracy has been holding back the project since 2011 and there is no scheduled date for it to start operating.

Therefore, with a much higher carbon footprint in Asian products, European manufacturers have the opportunity to stand out with products that are guaranteed to be completely carbon neutral. They are goals they have been working on for a long time.

Since Volvo to Volkswagen Groupgoing through Stellantis or BMW, the European firms assure that they will be completely green in less than two decades, which implies not only that their cars do not expel polluting emissions, but also that their production is carried out using renewable energy sources.

Green looks like… what it really isn’t. Or, at least, it is not as much as it should be or…

Green looks like… what it really isn’t. Or, at least, it is not as much as it should be or…

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