Tesla Motors' Dirty Little Secret Is a Major Problem


Tesla Motors Model S. Photo: Tesla Motors.

Energy independence, a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, lower fuel costs: All of these promises are factors behind the rise in electric vehicles' popularity. Unfortunately, they're more fiction than fact. Here's why, and how it could affect companies like Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA  ) .

Do you want cancer with that battery?
Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy undertook a study to look at the environmental impact of lithium-ion batteries for EVs. The study showed that batteries that use cathodes with nickel and cobalt, as well as solvent-based electrode processing, have the highest potential for environmental impacts, including resource depletion, global warming, ecological toxicity, and human health. The largest contributing processes include those associated with the production, processing, and use of cobalt and nickel metal compounds, which may cause adverse respiratory, pulmonary, and neurological effects in those exposed. 

Tesla Model S base. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

In other words, li-ion batteries that contain nickel and cobalt have a significant effect on health and the environment. More specifically, this includes Panasonic's automotive grade li-ion batteries, which contain lithium, nickel, cobalt , and aluminum, and a proprietary cathode geometry developed jointly by Panasonic and Tesla -- and are currently used in the Model S.


Exchanging one energy dependency for another

The above sounds bad, right? It gets worse. One of the big pushes behind "green" vehicles is the goal of reducing the country's energy dependence. Consequently, when considering battery-powered vehicles that rely on lithium, it's important to ask where the lithium comes from.

Salar Brine. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The answer? Not America. That's not to say America doesn't have lithium, it does, but most of the lithium that America uses is imported from other countries. Precisely, according to the 2013 U.S. Geological Survey, from 2008-2011 America's import sources were: Argentina, 52%; Chile, 44%; and China, 3%. This necessarily leads to the next question, "Why does America prefer to rely on imported lithium?"

Simply put, lithium, in its pure form, doesn't occur naturally on Earth. So in order to obtain it, it must be mined through hard rock or salar brines. More importantly, salar brines -- the most economical and popular way of obtaining lithium -- destroy the environment. Friends of the Earth, Europe states:

The extraction of lithium has significant environmental and social impacts, especially due to water pollution and depletion. In addition, toxic chemicals are needed to process lithium. The release of such chemicals through leaching, spills or air emissions can harm communities, ecosystems and food production. Moreover, lithium extraction inevitably harms the soil and also causes air contamination.

And, the European Commission on Science for Environmental Policy states that "[lithium's] continued use needs to be monitored, especially as lithium mining's toxicity and location in places of natural beauty can cause significant environmental, health, and social impacts." 

A bleak outlook
Clearly, the above isn't great news for those who are concerned about the environment beyond their backyards. And it's not the only bad news for EVs. The EPA found that when looking at life-cycle impact assessments, categories such as global warming potential, acidification potential (transformation of air pollutants into acids), eutrophication potential (water pollution often leading to excessive water weed/algae growth), ozone depletion potential, photochemical oxidation potential (air pollution), human toxicity potential, occupation cancer hazard, and occupational non-cancer hazard, the only time an EV battery scored better than a plug-in hybrid-electric vehicle's battery is in the category that measures potential for global warming.  

Unfortunately, the EPA added this statement about global warming potential: "GWP benefit only appears when the electricity grid relies less on coal production and more on natural gas and renewables. ... Accordingly, in regions where the grid is more heavily coal-centric, the study results suggest that PHEV-40 vehicles may be preferable if global warming impacts are highly valued." 

Tesla Supercharger. Photo: Jurvetson via Wikimedia Commons.

Obviously, that's bad news for EVs, which brings us back to Tesla. Tesla's made a name for itself as the future of "green" cars, and as of the time of this writing, its stock price is trading as if that's true. However, according to Climate Central, in 46 states Tesla's Model S is the least climate-friendly EV, and it's worse than all but two hybrids when it comes to CO2 emissions over 100,000 miles of driving. When you couple that with the above information from the EPA, it's clear that Tesla isn't nearly as "green" as it wants you to believe.

What to watch
EVs sound promising on the surface, but when you get down to the nitty-gritty, they're not nearly as environmentally friendly as they seem, nor do they help America become energy independent. Further, thanks to its battery, the Model S is even less environmentally friendly than most other EVs. As such, it doesn't meet the requirements for "green car of the future," which means Tesla's high stock price may be unsustainable in the long term.

Yes, the Model S is a nice car -- it should be for what you pay for it -- but the future of green technology? Not without a major overhaul of its battery. Further, if you're looking for an environmentally friendly car, greenercars.org, part of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, lists Toyota Motor's (NYSE: TM  ) Prius C as the Greenest Vehicle of 2013. It's closely followed by Honda Motor's (NYSE: HMC  ) Fit, and Volkswagen's (NASDAQOTH: VLKAY  ) Jetta Hybrid. Consequently, if you're looking for your next truly green auto stock, you may want to steer clear of Tesla Motors. Or, if you're just looking for an environmentally friendly ride, I'd take a closer look at the above three vehicles. 

Don't let car companies take you for a ride
You don't know it yet, but you probably spent $1000's more than you should have on your vehicle. In fact, the auto industry can be such a dangerous place for consumers that our top auto experts are determined to even the playing field. That's why they created a a brand new free report on The Car Buying Secrets You Must Know. The advice inside could save you thousands of dollars on your next car, so be sure to read this report while it lasts. Your conscience, and your wallet, will thank you. Click here now for instant access.


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  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 1:38 PM, SteveTG3 wrote:

    There are your conclusions in this article, and their are the conclusions of countries around the world.

    I know of 0 countries that have incentives to purchase ICE or Hybrids (including plugin) over EVs. There's a long list of countries that incentivize EVs over ICE and Hybrids (including plugin).

    Add to that I have seen a handful of articles from you on Tesla, all of which find one way or another to paint a negative picture all in the time the companies growth has been spectacular. Anyone can see all the articles have been negative with a quick search. Your past articles have quickly been shown to be misguided in the comments section... this one is no different. Anyone can see this as well with a quick search.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 1:58 PM, Ustauber wrote:

    Wow... talk about negative bias against EVs as if the author was a consultant for Japanese auto manufacturers of Hydrogen vehicles. As if there is not carbon impact to manufacturing any other vehicle type... so much for balanced journalism.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 2:04 PM, Ustauber wrote:

    Katie,

    I see your point of been GREEN specially when

    Motley Fool Katie Spence owns shares of Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Textron.

    Lol

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 2:26 PM, smithy007 wrote:

    You've got to love Tesla fanatics, tell them the EPA and DOE came to a conclusion that's not great for Tesla and they flip out. Listen up Ustauber and SteveTG3, Tesla's not green. Don't like it? Take it up with Musk. Maybe you're ok with Tesla destroying the environment while parading around like it's really great for the planet, but those of us not drinking Tesla's kool-aid want a REAL solution to our energy problems.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 2:29 PM, runt005 wrote:

    If this is Tesla's dirty little secret, it's also practically every other Electric vehicle, cordless tool, cell phone, laptop, tablet, etc. problem as well. This will be everybody's problem and singling out Tesla is a little harsh.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 2:33 PM, SteveTG3 wrote:

    Smithy, so is it your contention that the U.S. government, and dozen of countries around the world (in addition to states and provinces in these countries) have been duped by Elon Musk?

    Has Norway, vastly wealthy from oil, been duped into its large incentives for EVs?

    If they have not been duped, why are they giving EV incentives... if anything they should be giving incentives against EVs if they are not green in comparison to ICE.

    Common sense.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 2:34 PM, SteveTG3 wrote:

    that should read dozenS not dozen.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 2:38 PM, smithy007 wrote:

    SteveTG3 please tell me you didn't make such a stupid statement. You think the gov always makes bright decisions? Ha! Go look up Solyndra.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 2:39 PM, weaponz wrote:

    smithy007, the EPA and DOE did not come up with any such "conclusion". The author is just way over their heads in reading comprehension of such material.

    That said, people have to remember that the term "green" is relative.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 2:39 PM, weaponz wrote:

    Wow, talk about completely ignorant article. You are seriously embarrassing yourself.

    First of all I will point out a few things:

    1) The amount of Cobalt in NCA is very little, this isn't LCO.

    2) There is no Nickle Metal compounds, this isn't NiMH.

    3) Lithium mining is actually one of the most ecologically clean mining. (of course this is relative to mining other)

    4) Panasonic's Suminoe factory that builds the battery cells has no water pollution/depletion. The Suminoe factory is rated grade A on environment and all water is 100% recycled.

    5) US has the largest reserve of lithium in Wyoming, we can also extract lithium from sea water with minimal ecological impact.

    But here is the point that you COMPLETELY missed about the point of sustainability. You only need to mine it once, from than on you just recycle!

    What a lot of the anti-green crowd seems to not understand is that no one has issues with them digging up oil, what they have issues with is them burning the oil. Thus resources are lost forever while damaging the environment, that is unsustainable.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 2:46 PM, SteveTG3 wrote:

    smithy, of course the U.S. government can make a mistake. That's why I mentioned the dozens of other countries with pure EV incentives.

    It is extremely rare to see universal opinion among governments.

    I know of not a single government that incentivizes ICE cars over EVs. There are dozens incentivizing EVs, including, as I mentioned, Norway, who has doubled the standard of living compared to their fellow Scandinavian countries from their oil wealth. Do you think they'd make those incentives without anything short of compelling evidence?

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 2:55 PM, smithy007 wrote:

    Weaponz, just no. Tesla uses, nickel, cobalt, aluminum, and lithium in its battery. Period. Lithium mining isn't ecologically clean! It's horribly destructive. But let me guess, you're once again claiming to know better than the authorities on this subject. Let me guess the European Commission is wrong, so is FOE. It doesn't matter how green a factory is when the process of GETTING the material destroys the environment. Yes, Wyoming has lithium. Guess what, America also has vast oil reserves. We STILL import it.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 3:00 PM, smithy007 wrote:

    SteveTG3 no where in this article does the author mention ICE vehicles. And in her previous articles she says Tesla is better for the environment than ICE. So your argument is misguided. And the gov makes incentives for a vast array of "green" technology. Saying EVs are great because the gov incentives them is stupid.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 3:13 PM, heyjoe4 wrote:

    I'm confused. Last night I watched the video where you debate the one stock to own in 2014. Tesla, Chipotle, Whole Foods, and Middleby were included.

    While Whole Foods was your selection, why was there no mention of the issues in this article during the discussion on Tesla?

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 3:47 PM, weaponz wrote:

    Smithy007, You missed what I said. Lithium mining is ecologically clean compared to mining of other resources. There is no mining of anything that is ecologically clean, duh. But compared to other resources it is one of the cleanest(relative).

    But the main point is not that. When you mine this lithium, cobalt, aluminum and nickle. These resources will be reused for thousands of years. The ecological damage only happens once. And from then on you recycle.

    When you drill for oil, and then burn it. You are doomed to keep repeating the ecological damage for every mile you drive until you eventually run out. (Though by run out I mean run out of economical oil, we will run out of economical oil way before we run out of oil). And if we run out of economical oil, the impact would be beyond just gas.

    Moral of the story? Mine once, do your damage, recycle. Not, mine and burn.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 4:02 PM, CGoldsalt wrote:

    If you think this is destroying the planet is it any worse than the non renueable seeds that are being pushed by Monsanto.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 4:05 PM, markp1950 wrote:

    You forgot to mention that we have found a HUGE lithium supply near Rock Springs Wyoming. Or maybe it was on purpose. When Elon Musk builds his battery gigafactory, it will be one of the cleanest factories around. They will also recycle the old batteries cleanly. Yes, they may have a problem with a 25 SQ mile area where the new mines will be, But oil will destroy millions of sq miles. Ecars will eventually be running on wasted sunlight......

    Compare the volume of batteries and solar panels, and it is no match. Not counting the volume of wasted oil, drilling, processing and transporting oil/gas.

    A solar energy spill is called a beautiful day.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 4:10 PM, smithy007 wrote:

    Weaponz you're relying on a lot of hypotheticals to make your argument. Recycling, while necessary and good, isn't something that Americans are particularly good at. The gov has admitted as much and has said in needs to make policy changes to encourage more recycling, which includes EV batteries. Lithium mining DESTROYS the environment. It's easy for you to sit around and say go ahead and do it, but what about the people that are impacted? What about the indigenous farmers who are seeing their grazing land and watering holes disappear? If the world moved to large-scale EV adoption, that would up the need for lithium mining exponentially. Which would devastate the places where lithium is located. Bolivia has one of the largest lithium deposits in the world. You might want to read through gov reports detailing why Bolivia hasn't adopted wide-sale lithium mining... Yet. Resource conflict, destruction of natural habitats, etc. There will never come a time where the world will be satiated with its mined lithium. Then there's the fact that EVs have to be continually charged, which depletes natural resources. Mine and burn. You can argue that the grid can move to greener energy, but again that's a hypothetical. Lithium batteries are a stop-gap and nothing more, and a poor stop-gap at that.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 4:33 PM, mbee1 wrote:

    This article is a bunch of bull manure. The environmental problems from humans eating meat or veggies is about the same as from mining the battery ingredients. If you do not believe that just look at what farming , all farming is doing to the environment. Any human activity , just standing around included, has a negative impact on the environment if from nothing else all that poop we excrete.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 4:33 PM, Ericg123 wrote:

    Who wrote this article, the CEO of Exxon or Chevron? It's a bunch of nonsense. Lithium ion batteries, first, are sealed and they remain sealed, when they completed their usefull lives, they are recycled in a safe manner. Most of the chemicals within the battery are reused. The relative amount of environmental damage from Lithium production vs. Iron, coal, Bauxite, Copper and many others is minute. Hybrid vehicles use those same Lithium Iion batteries and in a side by side comparison, the sheer volume of greenhouse gases produced by oil and gas is massive in comparison with anything related to EV. In addition, EV can be completely powered off grid with various green technologies like wind and solar. Besides everything else, the use of EV's completely denies OPEC income, which is a positive thing.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 4:42 PM, bradyshack wrote:

    Thanks for the info, Katie. I never considered where the lithium came from. Now, there is an EV manufacturer out there whose technology surpasses Tesla's. The car is called the Concept_One, and it is produced by Croatia's Rimac Automobili.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 4:49 PM, DrG wrote:

    Hydrogen? Sun and wind. Oil based fuels need to be replaced due to air pollution and the fact that oil is finite. US recently stopped subsidies for electric generation through wind power. Conservation is an idea that Americans have a hard time wrapping their brains around.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 4:50 PM, dmann wrote:

    One: You don't need batteries in a electric vehicle. Capacitors will work fine.

    Two: Plugins on electric vehicles are a joke.

    There is technology available for a self running generator. Look at the late Mark Tomion's work. The US Patent office approved his electrical device which runs itself and has a surplus of energy. The patent is 6,404,089.

    The only reason we have not moved foward with this technology is for national security reasons?

    Do your own research and draw your own conclusions. I'm sure Martin Eberhard knew of this. He is a visionary.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 4:58 PM, Plantman1980 wrote:

    In Australia, they have a nickname for the "Greens"...they refer to them as "watermelons"...green on the outside, red on the inside. A socialist movement masquerading as an environmental one. The EPA is an enabler of that.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 4:59 PM, weaponz wrote:

    smithy007, last I remember this whole article is written in hypotheticals with no actual data, but ok.

    So you know, in the US, it is illegal to dispose of batteries. Most batteries in the US are actually recycled. Especially in automotive.

    And while lithium mining does it's damage, it does far less damage than ICE does. On top of that lithium has uses beyond just batteries. I am not saying any damage is "ok". But I am realistic and the damage that it would do is minimum, mostly since you only need a tiny amount of lithium for a battery. (Lithium only makes up 1/1000th of the battery by weight).

    Or are you saying we should continue doing MORE environmental damage until we come up with a perfect solution?

    Lithium batteries might be a stop gap but we will be using them for decades to come one way or the other. We started with lithium ion, will move on to lithium air most likely and only in a few decades would we move on to ultracapacitors. But even then we will continue to use lithium one way or the other because again lithium has uses outside of batteries, so none of the lithium would ever be wasted. The overall long haul, it is well worth it. And if we can make the process better, and cleaner than great.

    And no, moving the grid to being more green is not hypothetical. The states that are putting effort into it have come a long way and it can be done. With price drop of batteries, it might be possible to have each house run 100% on solar and wind and not even need a grid.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 5:01 PM, normgarry wrote:

    I'm more likely to worry about carcinogens in gas and oil/coal than carcinogens in batteries.

    By the way: all of us are terminally ill.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 5:05 PM, sanoran wrote:

    Very informative article. Tesla is a pipe dream for Americans. USA has lost its technological edge, and Musk, being a great salesman, is feeding naive americans what they crave, ... a feeling of greatness.

    Not only is Lithium a seriously non-renewable resource, but Lithium batteries themselves have limited life-cycles. Add to that the fact that a large amount of electricity in the USA is produced by Diesel run 'auxiliary' units. This is a dirty secret of the utilities. These 'auxiliary' units kick in at peak hour and are not reported in the energy source mix. California has not built a single new power station in decades, ... and yet, is able to meet increasing power needs. How? Diesel, and lots of it.

    For those naive Americans who are thinking Tesla is either renewable or high-tech, -they are wrong on both counts. They are all drinking the koolaid, -and Elon Musk has an infinite supply.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 5:07 PM, Newman wrote:

    ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

    JUST WHEN I THOUGHT I HAD HEARD IT ALL?

    WHAT ARE YOU SMOKING? GET A GRIP. YOU ARE YEARS BEHIND IN YOUR TECH IDEAS AND PREDICTIONS.

    THEY ARE EVEN MIXING ALUMINUM WITH LITHIUM WORKS GOOD AND IS MUCH LIGHTER. THE TECHNOLOGY IS TAKING OFF LIKE A SPACESHIP. SOLAR PANELS WORK. I HAVE ONE ON MY LEAF. FORD JUST MADE A PROTOTYPE CAR WITH SOLAR PANELS ACROSS THE TOP OF THE CAR.

    OIL WILL BE OUT IN A DECADE OR SO.

    BYE BYE TO FOSSIL FUEL . IT'S JUST AROUND THE CORNER. ELON MUSK AND TESLA ARE WAY AHEAD OF THE PACK!

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 5:25 PM, smithy007 wrote:

    Well weaponz, that's more of a reflection of your reading comprehension than fact. Last I checked the EPA and DOE were valid sources for data. And yes I read the report the author refers to and she's correct in her assessment. You can disagree all you want, and say most batteries are recycled (which by the way is a lie, statistically speaking, according to the DOE - you might want to complain to them if you don't like that truth). But the fact remains lithium mining destroys the environment and nothing you say will change that. Tesla is the worst offender when it comes to its batteries, and that's a FACT. are you so blinded by Musk that truth eludes you? As for states moving to renewables, most states are NOT reliant on an efficient grid. Will they get there in the future? Maybe. But then you also get into the problem of rolling blackouts if people start upping their energy consumption. Just ask CA. Everything you're arguing is a hypothetical, and not based on reality.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 5:37 PM, thegreentreefrog wrote:

    The future of Automobiles is CNG Compressed natural Gas. Buses and Truck fleets are running on it now. The big TRAINS out west have converted to CNG, Its Cheap clean and safe.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 5:39 PM, thegreentreefrog wrote:

    The Tesla s @ 4,741 Lbs THE ELECTRIC PIG!

    Why would anyone pay $75,000 for a car that could not win a race from NY to Pittsburgh against a 1971 Chevy VEGA!

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 6:05 PM, weaponz wrote:

    Smithy007, I have read the reports as well and by your statement somehow doubt you read the reports. So I am going to test you, how much % of automotive batteries are recycled according to the EPA reports?

    Lithium mining damages the environment but again less than most other resources we mine. The fast that the lithium will be reused for hundreds of years to come more than merit it.

    And seriously, stop using your lack of knowledge as somehow a negative against Tesla. Tesla batteries are part of a closed loop recycle program. If you plan to make a real accusation, provide proof, not state your opinions and saying they are facts. To me all it sounds like is your being blinded by hate. Now if you provide evidence I will be willing to discuss the merits.

    Most states that buy EVs tend to have cleaner grids, and again with the drop in price of solar/wind and batteries, we might not even need a grid in the long run(outside of industrial of course).

    Consumption of offpeak electricity is not going to cause blackouts, blackouts are generally caused not even due to lack of electricity but due to certain parts of the grid are not maintained for such capacity. This always tends to be the poor communities and it all comes down to politics. But again since most energy use from EVs would be at night, all that is irrelevant as there is more than enough capacity at night for millions EVs with no changes.

    CA recently went live with two 500mw+ solar installations that will run at full capacity in 2015. So the conversion is going at pace for them to reach over 30% renewable energy by 2020.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 6:07 PM, alrotundo wrote:

    MY SOLUTION was a CFMoto 150 Glory Scooter! 65 mph, 80 mpg and a helluva lot more fun! My cost: $1350. My insurance: $59 for the whole year! - includes THEFT!

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 6:21 PM, weaponz wrote:

    @thegreentreefrog - A 60kwh Model S weights 4,321lb(source: NHTSA) and 85kwh weights 4,647lb(source: Edmunds).

    Comparing it to other full sized sedans such as 2014 Mercedes S class: 4729 lbs(source: Edmunds), it weights as much as other cars in it's class.

    And nobody is going to race from NY to pittsburg, too much traffic and cops but a Tesla Model S would beat a chevy vega from NY to pittsburg. Because again it would be a race against traffic more than a race against each other.

    And please, NG is used in trucks because it makes sense in trucks. NG makes 0 sense in cars. It offers 0 benefits and the conversion cost would be trillions. On top of that it would require more maintenance costs. NG is better used to power electricity and EVs up until we convert to renewables.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 6:39 PM, SteveTG3 wrote:

    @smithy,

    you wrote,

    "in her (the author's) previous articles she says Tesla is better for the environment than ICE."

    So, that means the overwhelming majority of vehicles sold would be better off being EVs.

    Yet the author titled the article "Tesla Motors Dirty Little Secret Is a Major Problem."

    If the author is suggesting that of the vehicles better for the environment than ICE, she thinks a case can be made for hybrids and/or plug-ins as an even bigger improvement than EVs, that's fine, she can make that case.

    I don't see the case holding up for hybrids. I think today it is possible it would hold up for plug-in hybrids. But even if that is so, that's going to change within 5 to 10 years as battery prices come down. There's just a short life on two drivetrains in one car being more economical than one.

    This being the case... why not an article with a title like "Plug-In Hybrids May Have a Window In Transition to EVs." I think the window is to short, but it is a reasonable point to raise. Titling the article as it is just reinforces the impression of bias on the author's part.

    If you hadn't seen Katie had written an article suggesting the BMW i3 was big trouble for Tesla. In her section on Tesla she cited the Top Gear review of Tesla. Remember, Top Gear's defense in the lawsuit Tesla brought against them was that they are an entertainment show, not journalists. I think someone needs to create a new track record.

    http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2013/07/23/bmws-new-el...

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 6:41 PM, SteveTG3 wrote:

    correction:

    last paragraph should read:

    In her section on Tesla she cited the Top Gear review of THE I3 (not Tesla).

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 6:52 PM, maguro01 wrote:

    Tesla's insight was that it could build a better car enabled by being electric. The battery state of the art presently makes this possible at the high end since that will support the physically large batteries required to get practical range. Are there any other electric cars sold presently that aren't compliance vehicles? At the mid and low end the present battery state of the art just doesn't provide practical range.

    They have apparently been innovative in various respects that other high end manufacturers are being forced into like all-aluminum construction which is recyclable. The machinery is inherently more designable and simpler than an IC engine. The testing, development, and certification expenses for an IC engine are phenomenal and increasing. Tesla is the most advanced in putting as much of the car's functionality as possible into processors/software again enabled by being electric. Cars now are a collection of processor driven systems tied together with more processors that present it all to the driver as a car we are familiar with. Code is cheaper than machinery.

    There are increasingly cities that limit or exclude the use of IC engines in their centers. Pictures of Beijing suggest that it may be the next. That's why the Volt has a mode where the car runs on the IC engine and can be switched to electric for part of the journey. The Tesla should work well in such an environment. Of course, what generates the electricity determines how green that is overall.

    Mining anything makes a mess, lithium is not high on the list and recycling can be mandated. It is important that the citizens of developing countries be compensated and not be run out and run over by such activities. Perhaps that the environmental regulations that apply in developed countries be adhered to would be a step. It would add to expense, but, say, US or EU citizens should not save some money at the direct expense of the everyday citizens of a developing country. Things cost what they cost.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 6:54 PM, smithy007 wrote:

    Weaponz please attempt to keep up. I get that you're paid to comment for Tesla, but now you're just being rude. I was referring to all batteries, not just EVs, as were you. The DOE estimates that recycling of all batteries is 20-40%. That hardly qualifies as "most batteries." You've provided no facts, or proof, only slight of hand to try and make your assumptions. Fact: lithium mining destroys the environment. Fact: most states don't rely on renewables. Fact: Tesla is the WORST EV for the environment. Fact: Americans don't recycle most batteries. Fact: The DOE said that widespread EV adoption would lead to increased demand, and would result in additional infrastructure investments to facilitate affective integration. Without such there could be complex issues and uncertainties with load capacity. Fact: you're ASSUMING people will recharge during off-peak hours. That's an assumption you can't make. Fact: the European Commission as well as numerous organizations have cautioned about lithium environmental impact. Fact: America SHOULD do better if it wants a long-term solution to global climate change.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 7:03 PM, garyrich2000 wrote:

    Lol, if I didn't know any better, I'd say you are trying to short the stock or bullish on a competitor.

    You Said,

    "The EPA found that when looking at life-cycle impact assessments, categories such as global warming potential, acidification potential (transformation of air pollutants into acids), eutrophication potential (water pollution often leading to excessive water weed/algae growth), ozone depletion potential, photochemical oxidation potential (air pollution), human toxicity potential, occupation cancer hazard, and occupational non-cancer hazard, the only time an EV battery scored better than a plug-in hybrid-electric vehicle's battery is in the category that measures potential for global warming. "

    You didn't compare quantities or emission levels to go with it, hmmmmm…...

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 7:05 PM, smithy007 wrote:

    Well Steve TG3 you might want to go complain to the EPA because they also said that PHEVs with a 40 mile electric range are overall better for the environment than EVs, when you look at life cycle analysis.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 7:13 PM, ToddRLockwood wrote:

    FUD alert!

    Katie, you are mistaken in thinking that the environment is a major factor for those considering a purchase of a Tesla Model S. I own one, and I know others who do. First and foremost, the Model S is a gorgeous automobile that goes like hell, rides like a magic carpet, and costs very little to maintain. That's why most people buy this car. It's green cred is a nice extra, but not enough on its own to get people to pull their wallets out.

    That said, your sources for carbon emissions related to battery manufacturing are suspect. What these studies often fail to account for is the carbon emissions related to creating a lifetime of gasoline for a gas or hybrid vehicle, including drilling, transportation and refining. Lithium battery production may not be a pollution-free enterprise, but it can be improved. Gasoline, on the other hand, will always end up creating CO2.

    A pure electric car, charged from renewable sources, will always be the best solution for the planet.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 7:16 PM, SteveTG3 wrote:

    smithy, any one reading my comment can see your comment makes absolutely no sense as a response.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 7:37 PM, smithy007 wrote:

    Actually SteveTG3 my response makes absolute sense, where as you have failed at reading comprehension. you're arguing the author should present an argument for PHEVs being a transition to a EVs. I'm saying the EPA says PHEVs are already better than EVs. Why would we transition to an inferior product, and why would the author try to make such a stupid argument? My argument is that EVs aren't the future. We must do better than lithium to have an actual impact on environmental damage.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 7:38 PM, badge3832 wrote:

    According to Wikipedia, approximately 90% of Lead-Acid automotive batteries are recycled. The 20%-40% rate mentioned above undoubtedly includes tiny watch batteries, AA, AAA, etc. Tesla battery recycling rate is likely to be over 90% because there will be significant value in larger values.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 7:41 PM, smithy007 wrote:

    And weaponz as far as your "closed-loop" Tesla argument, please reread pg 58 of the EPA's report. It says, "Once the batteries reach their end-of-life, it may be possible to refurbish them so they may be used for other applications. For example, cells from a lithium battery for vehicles could conceivably be refurbished and used for computers or other types of electronics (Partnership, 2010). Another option currently being researched and tested is to rejuvenate the battery cells with new electrolyte. As battery cells age, the electrolyte materials break down, and contaminants are deposited on the electrodes. Under a recent patent by General Motors, the company has developed a technology to treat the cells to remove the contaminants and replace the electrolyte solution. Ideally, under this method the cells could be reused in the vehicle itself (Harris, 2010). To date, however, refurbishment and rejuvenation options are not well defined, and additional research into testing and safety standards are being conducted. Once Li-ion batteries are disposed of on a large scale, the percentage of batteries that undergo refurbishment can be expected to rise (Partnership, 2010)."

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 7:43 PM, smithy007 wrote:

    Yes badge3832 good job. I'm talking about American's ability to recycle all batteries. Without a recycling of ALL batteries, we'll continue to need to mine for lithium.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 7:53 PM, SteveTG3 wrote:

    Smithy you are of course fully free to post on here as long as you want. Whether you are up for an exchange of ideas, or your preference is fallacious arguments with the intent of deceiving is entirely your choice to make... and any Motley Fool reader's assessment to make for themselves.

    I'm just another person like yourself, so I'm not here to judge you. Sure, were I your dad, or if I ran the Motley Fool, I'd seek to guide you. But I'm neither. So post away.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 7:55 PM, JIMMYCANDICE wrote:

    Sooo when you are charging your electric Tesla, which can only go 280 miles mind you, what are the cost when it comes to carbon emissions to create the electricity to charge you car. MOST PEOPLE FORGET AFTER THEY PLUG IN.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 7:57 PM, smithy007 wrote:

    Congratulations SteveTG3 you've just digressed to ad hominem.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 7:58 PM, JIMMYCANDICE wrote:

    smithy007 = Obama EPA plant. Obama has some serious capitol invented in Tesla. Why else would he and his cronies have run Fisker into the ground.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 8:02 PM, smithy007 wrote:

    Ah, JIMMYCANDICE I'm arguing AGAINST Tesla.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 8:05 PM, SteveTG3 wrote:

    As I said, post away!

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 8:07 PM, smithy007 wrote:

    Says the Pot... Haha

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 8:17 PM, weaponz wrote:

    You've provided no facts, or proof, only slight of hand to try and make your assumptions. Fact: lithium mining destroys the environment. Fact: most states don't rely on renewables. Fact: Tesla is the WORST EV for the environment. Fact: Americans don't recycle most batteries. Fact: The DOE said that widespread EV adoption would lead to increased demand, and would result in additional infrastructure investments to facilitate affective integration. Without such there could be complex issues and uncertainties with load capacity. Fact: you're ASSUMING people will recharge during off-peak hours. That's an assumption you can't make. Fact: the European Commission as well as numerous organizations have cautioned about lithium environmental impact. Fact: America SHOULD do better if it wants a long-term solution to global climate change.

    Smithy007, listen, just because your being paid to comment by detractors you should not assume others are being piad to comment.

    I was refering to automotive batteries, not just EVs. The number is 96.2%. And please don't play games with me, you got the 20-40% number from battery university and it was for consumer household batteries only. Most battery cells are actually recycled because a lot of them are used in industrial use.

    You have real problems, you think every opinion you make is a fact. These topics might be too complex for you as you need to first figure out what a "FACT" is.

    "lithium mining destroys the environment."

    ACTUAL FACT: Lithium mining damages the environment, not "destroys". But all mining does damage to the environment, lithium mining is one of the cleaner of mining compared to most other resources.

    "most states don't rely on renewables."

    Most states do not rely on renewables now, but will in the future. The states that are pushing EVs are relying on renewables.

    "Tesla is the WORST EV for the environment."

    ACTUAL FACT: How much an EV is on the environment depends on many factors. A Tesla being a full sized sedan with a large battery obviously requires more to build than a tiny compliance EV. But considering the larger battery it also has a longer lifespan and larger application. So the impact on the environment depends on the lifespan and use of the owner. You need to look at cradle-to-grave not just production. And I can also guarantee the chinese based EVs are much worse environmentally than a Tesla by far.

    "Americans don't recycle most batteries."

    ACTUAL FACT: Americans don't recycle consumer batteries, but they recycle car batteries.

    "The DOE said that widespread EV adoption would lead to increased demand, and would result in additional infrastructure investments to facilitate affective integration. Without such there could be complex issues and uncertainties with load capacity."

    ACTUAL FACT: DOE said that our electric demand is going to go up anyways and we are going to need additional infrastructure one way or the other. We can put millions of EVs on the road with no/minimum changes to the grid.

    "you're ASSUMING people will recharge during off-peak hours. That's an assumption you can't make."

    If they value they wallets they will. Where I live electricity is 30x cheaper offpeak.

    "the European Commission as well as numerous organizations have cautioned about lithium environmental impact."

    ACTUAL FACT: Yes, they also did studies and found EVs are still cleaner than ICE, hybrids and etc even with the current grid.

    "America SHOULD do better if it wants a long-term solution to global climate change."

    Of course america should do better and this is a start. Maybe they can make the situation better by passing some regulations on mining lithium and etc (But again it is already a fairly clean process in comparison so it might be better served putting tougher regulations on fossil fuels instead).

    Even with the current grid, an EV using a lithium ion battery does 2x less damage than an ICE vehicle. That is significant enough to make the switch. And as the grid keeps getting cleaner, the cars on the road instantly become cleaner if they are an EV.

    Trying to detract people to wait for the "perfect solution" is the ultimate catch-22 trick played by poluters to try to kill off cleaner/better technology.

    Look, fact of the matter is, lithium is the cleanest option we got this or next decade. And it is the only realistic option we got too that has the best end result.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 8:18 PM, ToddRLockwood wrote:

    @smithy007: The EPA report calling PHEVs cleaner than EVs is likely based on the current state of the U.S. electric grid, which still includes a lot of CO2 producing power plants. Elon Musk predicts that 18 years from now, solar will be the single largest contributor to the grid. It's hard to believe, but he has a history of being right about these things.

    Here in Vermont we have one of the cleanest grids in the country, almost as clean as the State of Washington. An electric car is a much cleaner choice here, in spite of the claims made in this article about the effects lithium battery manufacturing. As I mentioned previously, gas and hybrid cars also have a hidden "manufacturing" carbon footprint: the CO2 generated by creating a lifetime supply of gasoline.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 8:21 PM, JePonce wrote:

    Telsa and out government are killing the taxpayer on this little green plastic car for the rich. The base model costs $63,000, and if you want a steering wheel you will have to drop a good $100,000. It is a car for the rich......

    That said, the market is so poor, that our beloved Politburo had to create one. The buyer gets a $7,500 dollar discount, and our government makes up for it by re-distributing $7,500 taxpayer dollars to Telsa to cover the discount.

    The only way government creates a market is to force the taxpayer to pay for it.

    What ever happened to economists and capitalism when a private sector company manufactured a product for which there was no market the company went bankrupt and stopped wasting finite recourses?

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 8:23 PM, bluegill88 wrote:

    Do you want lung cancer with that smog?

    My family has 3 lung cancer deaths in the last 10 years.

    I'll take my chances with the battery!!!!!!!!!

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 8:39 PM, smithy007 wrote:

    Weaponz don't play dumb. If you want to mine and be done that'd require recycling of all batteries, both commercial and auto, duh. And the EPA estimates than only 90% of lithium gets recycled! but that doesn't go to a new battery! There is no "closed loop" like you're trying to argue. You obviously don't know anything about lithium mining, as yes, it actually destroys the environment where it's done. The EPA looked at life cycle and concluded that PHEVS-40 batteries are better. So for now, they make more sense, while we work on better solutions.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 8:46 PM, weaponz wrote:

    @smithy007 - simply not true, according to the EPA report, a PHEV only won in a "coal centric grid". In a "US average" and "Natural gas centric" scenario, EVs won. Again points to that you did not read the EPA report.

    @JePonce - The buyer does not get a 7.5k discount, he gets a 7.5k non-refundable tax credit on his income tax (That means the buyer pays less taxes). Tesla does not get a penny either,

    Cost to tax payers: 0

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 8:58 PM, weaponz wrote:

    smithy007 - It doesn't have to all go to a new lithium battery. But it is being recycled. That means whatever was going to use up lithium is not going to need new lithium. I think I mentioned it is not limited to batteries.

    Also the closed-loop recycle program is a program set up by Tesla. It only applies to Tesla batteries. Tesla has a documentation of it in their blog and their partners were Umicore and Kinsbursky Brothers.

    And no, it does not "destroy" the environment. I am going to have to buy you a dictionary for your next birthday.

    And you clearly did not read the EPA report. The EPA outlined 3 scenarios for EV vs PHEV-40

    1- coal centric grid = PHEV-40 is slightly better(around 10%)

    2- US average grid = EV is around 20-30% better

    3- Natural gas grid = EV is around 30-50% better

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 8:59 PM, quasimodo007 wrote:

    Tesla stole most of the ideas from Visker.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 9:11 PM, TMFKSpence wrote:

    Weaponz no. That is false. Of a number of categories EVs only did better with GWP (but not with a coal centric grid). You obviously didn't read the report. You're either a complete idiot, or a Tesla shill. That's the only way you'd make such statements. 90% recycling, which doesn't go to a new battery, means we'd continually need lithium for, you guessed it, a EV BATTERY. Lithium destroys the soil, water reserves, and makes the area toxic. How is that NOT destroying the environment?

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 9:12 PM, BloviationNation wrote:

    Everyone's quick to attack the battery industry's supposed effects upon the environment but somehow overlook what an oil driven economy is "on record" for actually having done and for what it continues to do to the environment. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, nearly 200 million gallons of do-it-yourselfer used motor oil ends up in the trash, in water, poured down storm drains and dumped on the ground each year. Combined with other municipal and industrial waste oil the total comes up to over 360 million gallons dumped into the environment. Each year over 3 million metric tons of oil are dumped into the worlds oceans. More than 1.1 million metric tons of oil are deliberately discharged from tankers simply washing out their tanks. One gallon of used motor oil can contaminate 1 million gallons of fresh water. Used motor oil is now the number one source of oil pollution in our nation’s waterways. Its beginning to show up in more and more wells and other ground water sources of our drinking water. Used motor oil is profoundly poisonous containing numerous toxic substances known to cause cancer. Knowing this one has to ask, how many years will it take the battery industry to match the environmental damage done by the eXXon Valdez in Alaska or BP in the Gulf.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 9:15 PM, TMFKSpence wrote:

    Sorry, I shouldn't have said idiot. That was crass, regardless of your previous statements to my article. Smithy007 is correct. The EPA looked at 10 categories, and by and large, EVs performed better when considering life cycle.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 9:19 PM, javamail60 wrote:

    Now, help me with all these confused opinions about EVs.

    I have owned Tesla Model S for over one year now. I live in Southern California. I have solar panels installed at home for over two years (cost about $25,000). For the past two years, I paid $0 to SoCal Edison. I haven't visited any gas station for almost a year, and I haven't visited any car shop for over a year (I remembered BMW wanted $7,000 from me to turn off the "Check Engine" light). Tesla is a miracle to me!

    Am I still guilty for not being "green"? Oh, yeah, it's extremely toxic to the environment to produce solar panels. We should not be collecting solar energy is what I concluded from a lot of comments I read. I also conclude that:

    - I should not be buying a Tesla, because it's American made product. American should not be working on a industrial product. A good American should be a physician, attorney, real estate or insurance agent, investment advisor, retail or food clerk... Only German can associate with the word "Engineer", American Engineer is a joke.

    - I should be stop using my iPhone not only because it's American designed product, but it uses extremely toxic component called lithium battery.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 9:28 PM, djtetsu wrote:

    "I was refering to automotive batteries, not just EVs. The number is 96.2%. "

    END OF DISCUSSION as I saw it. Smithy, please..

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 9:29 PM, djtetsu wrote:

    You're not just gonna throw away an EV and not recycle the batteries. DUH!

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 9:31 PM, smithy007 wrote:

    I don't think there's any need to repeat what the authors aid as she summed it up well. Djetsu, you can't just recycle the lithium for a new battery. Duh.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 9:34 PM, ddcmall wrote:

    I guess then that it is a good thing General Electric found a way to make hydrogen from water cheaper than gasoline by reducing the cost of hydrogen generators.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 9:38 PM, flyguyret wrote:

    Just in time I read the story about the Tucker automobile. Here is another attempt to stop new technology with supposed facts and innuendo. What are the environmental effects of continuing to use lead acid batteries. Perhaps the use of nickel cadmium batteries are greener. It would not make any difference, the Tesla people have made a conscious decision not to sell their stock is any way that would enrich the Motly Crew.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 9:44 PM, TMFKSpence wrote:

    That should have been PHEVs* performed better

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 9:44 PM, thedanyes wrote:

    @weaponz I registered and followed your account to show my appreciation of what you're doing here. Your patience, your dedication to knowledge, and your willingness to stand against misleading statements is inspiring.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 9:44 PM, Tallman001 wrote:

    I have found that most people here that are beating up Tesla are secretly upset that they didn't buy at $35-50/share so they work to drive down the price... how many of you have sat in traffic sucking in tail pipe exhaust and you are now going to tell me that because you are sitting on a Lithium battery it is bad for your health.... PLEASEEEE!!! You know I worked on a FDA supported protocol about how peanut butter causes cancer.... problem is you needed to eat 20-25 oz per day for a year.... wait I just heard that if you hold a flashlight for longer than 10 minutes a day you could get cancerous tumers in your hand..... Wake up! =)

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 9:46 PM, patmyass wrote:

    And they're just now admitting this. The facts have been out there for years. But the environazis want this so badly they've been able to keep it suppressed until now. So drive an electric if it will make you feel better but you're better off getting a fuel efficient gas or diesel vehicle.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 9:59 PM, speculawyer wrote:

    This article is TERRIBLE. Yes, there are issues with certain metals. But that doesn't instantly mean the Tesla is the worse than ICE cars! They don't have much of these metals in them and they'll be recycled when the cars are junked. That is much different than cars that continuously spew pollutants into the atmosphere. This writer appears quite clueless and is obviously not an engineer or scientist. Just a person with an agenda.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 10:09 PM, weaponz wrote:

    TMFKSpence, Lithium does not destroy soil, deplete water reserves(well may be a little but no different than salt and we import water in most regulated countries) or make the area toxic. Complete BS.

    Look, mining of coal is far more damaging than lithium. I suggest you read up more on lithium mining.

    Overall lithium is not as harmful as people are made to believe by scare tactics. We were at a point very close to making lithium as one of the things we add to our own water supplies in drinking water.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 10:27 PM, DCARMSJR wrote:

    To the Staff and Supervisors of the Motley Fool: This person you hired, Katie Spence, should be fact checked before being allowed to post articles that are basically regurgitated from the American Petroleum Institute and/or the Heritage Foundation. Her article about Tesla lacks any insight (or basic research) about large rechargeable battery manufacturing; energy resource comparison; or the Tesla automobile itself. I'm embarrassed that a fellow University of Colorado grad could have published such a slanted and poorly researched article, and when presented with facts and comments that countermand what she said, she can only respond with, well, a foolish remark that the comment could only be posted by an "idiot." In history, the court fool was also known as an idiot, who had the strength to tell the entrenched interests that the emperor had no clothes. Katie failed to do the basic research required for reporting on your site. She should be fired.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 10:41 PM, TMFKSpence wrote:

    Hi Weaponz, actually salar brines are known for contaminating the soil, causing serious water shortages, more importantly toxic chemicals are used to process lithium and reports from Chile’s Salar de Atacama describe a landscape scarred by mountains of discarded salt and huge canals filled with blue chemically contaminated water. And that's not even taking into account the impact to the locals.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 10:42 PM, SteveTG3 wrote:

    @Katie,

    I've seen a variety of issues where I am well versed enough to know fact from FUD presented where information is cherry picked and twisted against Tesla.

    I've seen this repeatedly the past 18 months I've been following the company. I could share with you hit pieces that now look comical as events have passed and the FUD has been revealed as the gibberish it always was.

    I do not have a knowledge base to immediately identify this with the life cycle question and EVs. That is, I honestly cannot say from my own knowledge base if you and John Peterson cherry picking studies and taking points of other studies out of context to present FUD? (well actually in John's case I've seen people expose gaping errors in studies he has cited... so I know his environmental blogs are FUD).

    Are you giving a balanced reading of the science, or a crafty marketing campaign as the tobacco companies did in their manipulation of studies they'd funded and presentation of other data out of context?

    What do I have to go on in regard to deciding the nature of your claims?

    Aside from having seen John Peterson do this with this environmental issue and other issues, here is what I go on:

    Dozens of countries have EV incentives. Any single government can surely make a mistake, but dozens of countries, and states and provinces within them, have decided it is in the world's collective interest to promote EVs over ICE. Unlike myself, these governments have undoubtably spent tremendous amounts of time go over the scientific papers to determine that there is enough consensus to offer their citizens incentives to buy EVs over ICE. I KNOW OF NO COUNTRY ON THE PLANET THAT GIVES ITS CITIZENS INCENTIVES TO PURCHASE ICE CARS.

    Among these countries is Norway. Norway famously has the highest concentration of Tesla customers. This is due to it having tremendously strong EV incentives.

    Norway has a per capita income of $100,000 compared to $50,000 in neighboring Scandinavian countries.

    If any country on the planet had reason to conclude from all the studies that EVs were not better than ICE and we should sail ahead with our oil consuming ICE vehicles, it was Norway. Yet they have those incentives.

    If it were just the U.S. that had these incentives, I would accept the retort, "well, they've got it wrong." But given that dozens of countries have voted to encourage EVs and none have voted to favor ICE, including Norway, I find it far more probable that this unanimous consensus among these dozens of countries is to be trusted than a contributor on Seeking Alpha or The Motley Fool.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 10:46 PM, SteveTG3 wrote:

    (just to be clear... Norway's $100,000 per capita income, double its neighbors, is directly attributable to its oil resources).

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 10:52 PM, SteveTG3 wrote:

    @thedanyes thanks for registering... it was a message very well worth signing up and stating!

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 11:12 PM, TMFKSpence wrote:

    Hi SteveTG3, Here’s the link to the EPA’s report. It is informative, and unbiased: http://www.epa.gov/dfe/pubs/projects/lbnp/final-li-ion-batte...

    This is from the European Commission:

    http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsale...

    This is from Applied Energy: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306261911...

    This is particularly informative regarding Bolivia’s lithium, and the controversy over mining: http://www.worldresourcesforum.org/files/WRF2013/Scientific%...

    This should help with my claims.

    Governments around the world are incentivizing EVs, but also hydrogen, and a number of other technologies. It’s a wise-spread approach for finding an alternative energy solution. This is from the DOE: http://www.hydrogen.energy.gov/ or, http://www1.eere.energy.gov/hydrogenandfuelcells/index.html

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 11:19 PM, weaponz wrote:

    TMFKSpence, salar brines do not contaminate the soil. Now if the salt is dissolved into water and then goes into the soil, you get reverse osmosis, it can kill plants but the area is not exactly high on plants to begin with. The water shortages is because they pump in water and do not put the same amount of water back and then end up evaporating the water.

    Now again, all forms of mining is harmful to the environment. But out of all the resources, lithium is one of the least ecologically impacting as far as mining goes. On top of that most of the damage that is done can be managed with a few simple regulations.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 11:19 PM, TMFKSpence wrote:

    This is a little more informative with regards to Bolivia: http://www.ifg.org/pdf/DClithiumfullreportenglish.pdf

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 11:19 PM, membender wrote:

    Worthless hit job of an article. Amazing that this stuff is allowed to be published. Anything to stir the pot and gain attention for the stupid fool dot com. Trading energy dependencies, what a joke.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 11:20 PM, warhorse03826 wrote:

    the dirty little secret is that's a whole bunch of money for what is essentially a coal-powered car.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 11:26 PM, weaponz wrote:

    @thedanyes thanks, I try. Hopefully eventually the voice of reason will prevail.

    @TMFKSpence - you sure you wanted to link the EPA report? Now it will become painfully clear to everyone that Tesla's LiNiCoAlO2 was NOT part of the EPA report and all you wrote was FUD : /

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 11:29 PM, TMFKSpence wrote:

    Weaponz, no. That is false. Salar brines do contaminate the soil due to the use of toxic chemicals. The water shortage is due to evaporation, yes, but that doesn’t change the fact that it leads to a water shortage.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 11:50 PM, TMFKSpence wrote:

    The point of the EPA study is to point out the toxicity and environmental impacts of the chemicals used in EV batteries. That includes nickel and cobalt, which are present in Tesla’s batteries.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 11:52 PM, ordinary3 wrote:

    The US always prefers to use other peoples resources so we can conserve what we have. Most of this stuff is probably available from the tailings of old time mines now under lock and key of the mining giants.

    And forget about the environmental concerns.

    Truth is no one has a good battery yet. If they hold any kind of power they have really high maintenance during production, use, charging, disposal or all, which means we are still waiting for the real deal.

    The pesky dry cell was developed a long time ago and yet it is still being used. It's child safe, economical, fairly indestructible and it's replacement hasn't been made yet. The same is true for big batteries. You will know it when you see it.

    Benjamin Franklin was seriously studying the issue of storing large amounts of electrical current before he got swept up by politics and we still don't have a good answer yet.

    The operation of the entire car is what will decide the matter for now.

    Bottom line is whatever works the best for now is what is going to be used.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 12:01 AM, smithy007 wrote:

    Hey weaponz I'm still awaiting your response. Have you abandoned our discussion just because you provoked the author into responding?

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 12:01 AM, SteveTG3 wrote:

    Katie, first, having read your previous articles, while they were suggesting problems for Tesla, my original comment on this article was too harsh, as I wouldn't say your articles are obviously FUD.

    back to the current discussion:

    clearly ICE are the overwhelming majority of vehicles produced each year, yes?

    If you agree that EVs are better for the environment than ICE, but you see potential as well for plug-in hybrids, hydrogen, etc, why does Tesla have a problem?

    That is, if we're all better off moving from ICE to alternative vehicles, why not simply say so? I see that you could raise the question of whether plug-in hybrids are a more efficient alternative at this point. That might be an interesting question to look at, but in its context as s a secondary issue.

    Secondary issue? Consider this little metaphor...

    If your house was burning and 5 people came to put out the fire, one named Tesla, would you tell Tesla to go away because, though he was reducing the fire, you had some studies that suggested one of the fire fighter's was using a more efficient technique than Tesla? (of course, the burning house being the damage done to the environment by the status quo of using ICE, and the 5 firefighters being various alternative vehicles who relieve strain on the environment as they replace ICE).

    All these governments have decided EVs are a fire fighter to welcome... that is why I don't see your suggesting Tesla is an environmental liability carrying weight against the research of not one, but many many governments. I appreciate the links, but, frankly 1) I'd have to read a pile of studies to know whether the ones you linked represent the full picture or are cherry-picked, and 2) I think the probability of my reading through a vast amount of literature and coming to a conclusion contrary to scores of scientific teams in these countries is very low.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 12:20 AM, Larryn1030 wrote:

    Wait... So this author claims that gas guzzling cars are worse? The ones with lead acid batteries, catalytic converters with palladium and inefficient car engines that produce a lot of smog to our world? This must be paid by the oil industry.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 12:25 AM, TMFKSpence wrote:

    SteveTG3, thank you for that comment, and I appreciate your approach.

    Here’s how I look at Tesla: it’s better than an ICE vehicle, there’s no question about that, but is it the best solution in the long-term? I'd argue it’s reliance on li-ion batteries is problematic. Li-ion isn’t renewable, and so if we’re looking for a renewable energy source to power our cars, Tesla can’t be the end. Plus, there’s the environmental impact of mining li-ion.

    Currently, Tesla has one product. Yes, it’s supposed to have more models coming out, but they’re all reliant on li-ion batteries. Consequently, it’s highly vulnerable to better/greener technology. And believe me, technology is rapidly advancing (I should probably point out that my husband has a degree in physics, so science is a common topic in our household). Because of that, it’s a risky investment in the long-term. Right now it looks like a great solution, but a few years from now? Maybe not as much. As investors, it’s important to know a companies weaknesses so you can watch out for it -- which is the point of this article. :)

    To expand on your scenario: consider that two firefighters came to your house to put out a fire; one uses a water bucket and the other uses a hose. The bucket may help put out the fire -- but it’s not nearly as affective as a hose. Which should you rely on? In this case, the bucket is Tesla, and PHEVs are the hose. That’s not to say the bucket (Tesla) isn’t better than nothing, but the hose is clearly the better choice for putting out a burning fire.

    Of course the best solution to a raging fire is a water drop from a plane or helicopter, but sometimes we have to wait on that. But once it gets here, well, then the bucket becomes outdated. :)

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 12:37 AM, TMFKSpence wrote:

    Before anyone jumps on my firefighting comment, I should probably point out that my above scenario isn’t an exact replica of the energy debate (PHEVs and EVs are much closer in terms of helping emissions than a bucket and a hose in fighting a fire). But I’m not a firefighter, so buckets and hoses was the best I could come up with.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 12:46 AM, weaponz wrote:

    @TMFKSpence - They are present, but presence varies by quantity. Your playing a hit and miss game here. NCA has far less cobalt than any other cobalt based lithium chemistry for example.

    @smithy007 - Response to what?

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 1:03 AM, weaponz wrote:

    @TMFKSpence - If you are trying to compare EVs and PHEVs as a solution, than you are going to run into issues using the EPA study. At issue is they just shrunk the EV battery for assessing the PHEV and things like drivetrain were ignored. A PHEV has a more resource intensive drivetrain which is not factored as outlined:

    "2.3.3 Limitations and Uncertainties

    As described in Section 1.2.2, the service provided by the Li-ion batteries in the use stage is through the

    vehicles into which they are placed. Although the use stage analysis of this study assessed impacts from

    vehicles that use Li-ion batteries (PHEVs and EVs), the full life-cycle impacts of these vehicles were not

    assessed. Accordingly, differences between varying components used for PHEVs versus EVs were not

    considered (e.g., glider and drive train). Ideally, a full LCA of Li-ion batteries for electric vehicles would

    include an assessment of the vehicles as well, not just the batteries. However, resource limitations

    prevented the partnership from conducting a full LCA of the vehicles. Because of this, care must be taken

    not to interpret the study results as representing those for the full life-cycle of a PHEV or EV vehicle."

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 1:06 AM, dallashouston wrote:

    Katie, you certainly have gotten a lot of responses!

    I can understand your bias against Tesla. I bought TSLA @ $38 and it's pretty clear you didn't.

    You might want to look into the dirty history of mining, manufacturing and industry. The rumor is they have been polluting for decades, maybe centuries.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 1:07 AM, djtetsu wrote:

    Interesting read here

    http://www.waste-management-world.com/articles/print/volume-...

    They should be writing on the pessimistic side but it says:

    "Though lithium is 100% recyclable, currently, recycled lithium reports to the slag and is currently used for non-automotive purposes, such as construction, or sold in the open-markets. However, with the increasing number of EVs entering the market in the future and with a significant supply crunch, recycling is expected to be an important factor for consideration in effective material supply for battery production."

    Ok, so it's not economical because Lithium is cheap, but it says

    "For the future, recycling of Li-ion batteries is expected to be one of the main sources of lithium supply. "

    Basically recycling these batteries is at its Infancy.

    I'm not a mathematician but no matter how toxic mining for Lithium is to the environment, it can NOT POSSIBLY compare with a nation full of gas powered vehicles.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 1:37 AM, TMFKSpence wrote:

    Weaponz, that is true. But it doesn't negate that the EPA, in its estimates, found than PHEVs faired better than EVs, or that cobalt and nickle are not environmentally/health friendly. No where in my article did I argue that the EPA looked at Tesla's batteries, specifically. It looked at the chemical components of EV batteries, and in its words, found that PHEV-40 batteries had a lower overall impact on the environment than EVs. Tesla's batteries contain li-ion, nickel, and cobalt. These have environmental impacts that must be considered when arguing for sustainable energy solutions, and the future of "green" technology.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 1:41 AM, TMFKSpence wrote:

    Weapons, if you want an life cycle assessment of C02 emissions, which includes manufacturing, I suggest reading the 2013 Climate Central report that I mentioned in the article.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 2:03 AM, OneHundredxFifty wrote:

    Interesting article as far as some of the toxicity issues are concerned. However the Tesla is just fine as far as CO2 goes. The Climate Central report is flawed and massively overstates the Tesla carbon footprint. Details can be found here:

    http://handlemanpost.wordpress.com/2013/09/22/tesla-gets-unf...

    The standard warranty for the Tesla battery is 125,000 miles and for a relatively small up charge they will warranty the battery pack for unlimited miles and 8 years. To make a fair comparison between Tesla and other EVs you need to do the carbon budget for at least two battery packs for the others. For example, Leaf only backs their battery for 60,000 miles suggesting that the owner will have replaced the Leaf battery 2 or 3 times before (if) the Tesla owner needs to replace theirs. Taking that into account the carbon budget works out fine for the model S. If you also take into account that the Aluminum will be recycled at end of life and that recycled Al is far less energy intensive things start to look even better for the Model S.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 2:14 AM, GeorgePolitico02 wrote:

    The world very much needs a good electric storage device. Such a device could:

    1. Help even out loads in electrical grids

    2. Allow conventional electricity sources to power wheeled vehicles, boats, and aircraft.

    3. Allow power from intermittent sources such as wind and solar to be stored.

    4. Allow electric energy from distant and unconventional sources to be harvested. How much electric energy could we get from a hurricane? From a geothermal source in Iceland or at the bottom of the ocean? From falling water or falling rocks in the Andes or the Himalayas?

    If the market for electric cars speeds the development of such an electric storage device, we will all be very fortunate.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 2:57 AM, smartfone wrote:

    Hater will hate...

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 3:23 AM, Petronilus wrote:

    Katie needs to travel to countries like the big cities of China and get a sense of how severely polluted our world has become thanks to burning fossil fuels.

    Even daring to mention any cancer risk from EV is completely ridiculous considering how much cancer causing fumes are emitted right out into our noses as hydro carbons from any car driving on gas.

    This article needs to get into the history book of how oil interests were fighting the EV car transition.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 3:36 AM, Dimking wrote:

    My guess is that Katie should quit using her laptop and mobile phone and go mining environment-friendly coal in Texas.

    This BS is what is threat to the environment in the long term.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 3:47 AM, fuldamobil wrote:

    This is an amusing piece of propaganda. While not totally off-base, the biggest way a car pollutes will always be from what it spews from the tailpipe. The Tesla eliminates this part. So, while mining lithium is not good for the environment, the electric car itself will always have a net environmental benefit.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 5:00 AM, weaponz wrote:

    TMFKSpence, your getting no where fast. That is like saying me outrunning my car is not negated by the fact that the car was standing still not driven by anyone. The EPA report used an EV battery as a model and scaled it down to PHEV size, so they didn't even investigate a PHEV battery but used an EV battery and shrunk it accordingly. The outscome would be obvious towards a PHEV but the reality isn't so, hence why the EPA specifically state that this data should not be used as such.

    On top of that, nickel and cobalt is used but again in very small amounts. On top of which Nickel is recycled (and I am not talking only about batteries). The amount of cobalt even less. In comparison, plugin hybrids tend to use NMC which has more than double the cobalt and have nickle as well.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 5:03 AM, zsandon wrote:

    I have seldom seen such a collection of fear-mongering nonsense. Cancer causing. Dependency on fearful chemicals. Bleak outlook. You name it, it's here. Every single fake alarm button has been pushed by this "analyst". We have found an evil pollutant, and it's Tesla! It's pointless to argue the points raised, they're each as absurd as the whole. Someone evidently needs to tie some non-green tin cans to Tesla's bumper. How does drivel such as this find its way to presumably respectable venue? I have a suggestion for the author and for the balance of the committed "green" community: you know, world population has doubled in my lifetime to date. Think of the additional environmental load in CO2 emitted, toxic effluent produced, energy used to produce food, enable transportation, housing, education, communications, entertainment, you name it. I propose that all sincere environmentalists everywhere undergo immediate tubal ligations or vasectomies. This will be a small step for them, but a giant beneficial leap for mankind. It's the least they should feel obligated to do.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 5:23 AM, Dzimas wrote:

    I think you guys are really stretching here. I assume the CO2 emissions are from the presumed fossil fuels used to charge the battery, since the car itself wouldn't release CO2 on the road. If you are plugging into a grid, the use of fossil fuels is relative, and eliminated all together if you have a solar or wind-powered charging station.

    The largest amount of lithium exists in seawater and there are efforts to use seawater recovery processes that would greatly reduce the need for mining,

    http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07366299.2011.573...

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 5:59 AM, zsandon wrote:

    Reflecting further on Ms. Spence's ludicrous review, I wondered what might be an acceptable form of transportation to her. Horse-drawn carriage would be out, think of the toxic manure, transporting feed, and the environmental cost of building and greasing the carriages! Rickshaws would be out, same reasons: one significant episode of flatulence from some driver on a high carbohydrate diet would surely be worse than lithium poisoning - and it would negatively affect the biosphere. Walking would be poison to the environment: think of all the leather soles used up, with new ones constantly having to be produced from CO2-generating livestock. Plastics are out, of course, derived from petroleum. Won't even mention the problem of dealing with the excreta left by the roadsides!! The solution is obvious: Nobody goes anywhere, eats or drinks anything, does anything consuming any energy requiring replenishment. We must all become expert energy wisdom contributors to The Motley Fool - useless, thoughtless appendages to a risk-free world. Each daed member of the population will be a net asset to the environment of the planet - after decomposition.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 5:59 AM, Phrontrowalpine wrote:

    Hey! OPEC employees posing as journalists your time is limited. Did you forget that GAS is cancerous? The use, transportation, storage, mining, human war costs of OIL have been the single most polluting/costly fuel EVER! Not to mention, battery technology is evolving, oil is NOT. Did you already forget about the BP OIL WELL EXPLOSION in THE GULF?! Sorry, but your dumb little spins on energy pollution only work on the weak minded, and Tesla is outperforming EVEY OTHER LUXURY sedan in every way. Sales, stock, speed, acceleration, and the energy can come from ANYTHING that produces electricity.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 6:08 AM, ashleyjames389 wrote:

    Tesla is a very volatile stock, i wouldn't keep it any where near my portfolio

    http://bit.ly/TeslaMotorsTSLA

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 6:57 AM, CV101 wrote:

    The cost one bears for mankind's progress. Good arguments from both sides. Much like a pendulum swinging on extremes. The answer is somewhere in the middle. Although this article is upsetting to some, it does raise awareness. When the dust settles, the facts become clear. The author however, is a bit transparent. One can tell that emotions led, mental faculties trailed.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 7:38 AM, 2smartforlibs wrote:

    Green job are the religion of the left and they will listen to nothing that goes against that.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 8:08 AM, Joe2014 wrote:

    I just love how this article forgot to say that oil is much safer and much healthier for us and that it doesn't cause cancer Haha what a joke everything causes cancer even gasoline you put in you car. Wait they forgot about all the harm that oil has done to us already which is why we are building electric cars. They also forgot that oil drilling and Fracking has polluted our clean water source already so they don't have any room to talk about how the electric cars are polluting the earth. Sounds to me like someone from the oil industry has a hard on for going after electric cars.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 8:10 AM, ckenney922 wrote:

    The used Tesla market just got bigger - and cheaper!

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 8:32 AM, verbatim613 wrote:

    Gotta love liberals. As long as they "feel" good about what they are doing, the actual consequences can be ignored.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 8:47 AM, GeneralZod wrote:

    EVERY TIME THE RIGHT WANTS TO STOP SOMETHING, THEY USE THE MEDIA TO RELAY TO THE PUBLIC THAT IT CAUSES CANCER. Been doing it for decades. EV's are the future. Even if some these claims are true, they can and will be corrected.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 8:59 AM, larrymaden wrote:

    We already have the answer to our energy needs - infinitely renewable CH4 (methane), natural gas, from anaerobic digestion of the most useless carbonaceous wastes, can fuel every automobile on the road, today, whether gas or diesel, in the form of CNG (Compressed Natural Gas), LNG (Liquid Natural Gas); or as Ethanol, Butanol or LPG (Liquid Propane Gas) reformed from CH4, one tiny little atom of Carbon hooked to four Hydrogen atoms. There is no hydrocarbon in the universe that burns as clean, it is non-toxic and non-corrosive, unlike hydrogen, and we get more of it every day. We just need to capture and burn as much CH4 as we can, because the one CO2 molecule created in its combustion is 25 times less dangerous as a GHG. Remember, CARBON IS THE BASIS OF ALL LIFE, CO2 is not our enemy, CO2 IS THE SOURCE OF ALL OUR OXYGEN, it is a self-regulating process, as CO2 stimulates vegetation, there is no such thing as too much CO2, only too few plants.

    So, stop paving the planet, IDIOTS!

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 9:56 AM, wizskier wrote:

    This is an interesting article in itself, but why pick out one company as an example. There are lithium batteries all over the place.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 10:00 AM, sabebrush6 wrote:

    Simple solution ---- don't lick the batteries.

    This article brought to you by the gasoline auto manufacturers. Have a nice day.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 10:27 AM, electrictorque wrote:

    how much did you get paid do write such rubbish?

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 10:53 AM, jeffhre wrote:

    "EVs sound promising on the surface, but when you get down to the nitty-gritty, they're not nearly as environmentally friendly as they seem, nor do they help America become energy independent."

    1)EVs sound promising on the surface, but when you get down to the nitty-gritty, they're not nearly as environmentally friendly as they seem - That is true, walking and bicycling will always be more environmentally friendly. Just as driving on wind and solar powered electrons is far more environmentally friendly than driving on gasoline. And driving on coal generated electrons is incrementally more environmentally friendly than on oil and coal refined gasoline. Pick your poison or walk!

    2) nor do they help America become energy independent. This one actually makes me howl with laughter, at least until we begin to import electricity. BTW, the Sloan Center at MIT, has determined that the vast majority of the energy consumed by cars is from fueling them, and a very small percentage is from production. In case that was a question.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 11:05 AM, jeffhre wrote:

    "It looked at the chemical components of EV batteries, and in its words, found that PHEV-40 batteries had a lower overall impact on the environment than EVs."

    It is true that a small battery is less harmful than a large one. It it also true that choosing to supplement a small battery with an ICE is more harmful than simply using a big battery. This follows because using gasoline for propulsion, for the life of a car, is much more harmful than using electricity.

    Though there may be a break-even distance for smaller commutes that rarely use gasoline. In that case not using a large battery pack would cause less environmental harm. Though in that case, opting to use a small battery, and renting a car for longer trips would cause less harm than having an on-board ICE for the rare need of a long distance trip.

    Convenience and certainty would win out here though. And hence automakers are developing PHEV's and not short distance EV's.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 11:17 AM, clloyd53 wrote:

    This article was approved and funded by the oil monopolies of America.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 12:12 PM, paradox17 wrote:

    I once thought of the Motley Fool as a location for safe financial information. This piece clearly demonstrates that any opinion is for sale. No matter how many made up scientific words she throws, the intent is clear. Throw anything at Tesla, because nothing can seem to damage either the vehicle or the stock's performance. I bought a Model S May of 2013. I made an investment in the future of our planet. I happily paid $100k for this unbelievable car. Tesla is not interested in only capturing the rich person's market. Musk has clearly outlined a plan to enable all people to own a Tesla. He has progressively grown his market share and is capturing millions of miles of real time driving experience to make his company and products better. Model X will further the platform this year. The battery swap network is happening. The next model car will be targeted for all people. If you have the charging grid as outlined on Tesla's website (2015) with a $40k car available, it is THE END of gasoline automobiles. 5 years from now, more than half of all new sales will be EV. And yes, Tesla will lead the way, but it would be safe to assume that some actual automobile manufacturing giant will finally duplicate Tesla's platform to even drive the price down further.

    Everyone should be certain they understand the debate. Oil is big money. Renewable energy, in any form, is a threat to that. This blatantly biased article is a perfect example of what the establishment is willing to do to distract and mislead. I personally am ashamed for the Fool. At least the bias is so overpowering, most readers can see it....... most, but not all. Not the ones with oil under their fingernails....

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 12:25 PM, PJCHILDS wrote:

    The issue is quite simple. The problem isn't with electric cars, but with the batteries that power them. The reality is that even the best and safest batteries available, just happen to be a toxic mess.

    Unfortunately we live in a society which doesn't deal in reality very well. It's all about "feelings" and the perception of "caring" about something. People would rather appear to do something noble and worthwhile than actually take the pains to actually do it.

    As long as people are willing to ignore the actual damage they're causing, they can feel good about themselves and take pride in they "care" just that much more then the next person.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 12:28 PM, RHO1953 wrote:

    Wow, now the haters from Big Green crawl out of their holes. That's what happens when you cross Big Green. It is no different than Big Oil, or Big Government. It smashes everyone and everything that stands in its way.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 12:35 PM, TMFBos wrote:

    I think Katie raises some valid point here, that while ev's are greener than ICE vehicles, as they stand right now they don't offer an end solution for a truly "green" vehicle due to their energy storage medium (lithium).

    In my opinion any technology available to the public today is a stepping stone to something unknown that will store energy to power vehicles in the future. Depending on what that future energy storage method is, it will either help or hurt Tesla because their vehicles are engineered to take advantage of the design freedom EV's enable (low center of gravity, larger crumple zone, etc...)

    I think it's great that Katie was willing to go against the popular consensus and point out some hurdles facing EV's. And let me assure you, she has no affiliation with major oil companies ;). Whether or not these issues are significant ones in the long run will remain to be seen. But i think it's ill advised to turn a blind eye to 800lb gorilla in the room that is and always has been--battery technology. It's a real risk that interested parties should stay attuned to. I'd like to see more articles tackling both sides of the energy debate, it's a complicated one we should all analyze from various angles.

    Cheers,

    Blake

    PS: the Motley Fool is a merry band of Fool's, all having different view points, and we are proud of that fact. Daniel Sparks is bullish on Tesla, I'm bullish on hydrogen, Katie is bullish on hydrogen, Tamara Rutter is bullish on Tesla etc...

    Fool.com has no official stance on any one issue, so anything you read is solely what the writer believes.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 12:41 PM, TMFBos wrote:

    I think Katie raises some valid point here, that while ev's are greener than ICE vehicles, as they stand right now they don't offer an end solutions for a truly "green" vehicle due to their energy storage medium (lithium).

    In my opinion any technology available to the public today is a stepping stone to something unknown that will store energy to power vehicles in the future. Depending on what that future energy storage method is, it will either help or hurt Tesla because their vehicles are engineered to take advantage of the design freedom EV's enable (low center of gravity, larger crumple zone, etc...)

    I think it's great that Katie was willing to go against the popular consensus and point out some hurdles facing EV's. And let me assure you, she has no affiliation with major oil companies ;). Whether or not they're are significant ones in the long run will remain to be seen. But i think it's ill advised to turn a blind eye to 800lb gorilla in the room that is and always has been battery technology. It's a real risk interesting parties should stay attuned to. I'd like to see more articles tackling both sides of the energy debate, it's a complicated one we should all analyze from various angles.

    Cheers,

    Blake

    PS: the Motley Fool is a merry band of Fool's and we all have different view points, we believe having a diverse set a viewpoint sets us apart. So you'll find fool.com articles that are bullish on EV's and ones that are bearish too. It's great to look at both sides of the story, especially when you have vested interest in a particular company.

    Fool.com has no official stance on any one issue, so anything you read is solely what the writer believes.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 12:42 PM, CptWayne wrote:

    This article is the most slanted irrelevant one against Tesla that I can imagine. It is all based on comparative information rather than quantitative facts. This means all the differences quoted may, in fact, be numerically true but totally irrelevant in a quantifiable analysis. i.e. It would be more helpful to quote: grams of lithium, cost of disposal or cleanup, number of cars in calculations, etc.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 1:07 PM, telveer wrote:

    OMG. What a load of drivel This article does justice to the domain name of this website .. absolutely foolish!

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 1:19 PM, MarcJeric32 wrote:

    And so all those rich Eco-Nazis are buying Tesla plug-in battery-operated cars, feeling proud of their helping the environment.

    You see, they say - you drive all day long, and in the evening you just plug it in to recharge the battery.

    And that electric power in your plug - it comes from where? From Solyndra perhaps? Oh no, Solyndra went bankrupt swallowing one-half billion Obama's printed dollars. Perhaps the wind is blowing tonight? Well - those wind turbines have been found to act as huge Cuisinarts for birds, including rare and protected bald eagles, albatrosses, etc. And so that electricity renewing your battery comes really from coal-fired or gas-fired power plants. From hydropower of from nuclear power plants perhaps? - Oh no! Our Eco-Nazis have put a stop to those monsters!

    One can live a long time based on total lies - the Soviet Union lived 73 years bathed in blood of many millions; but in the end it died after 3 generations of its victims finally woke up from that nightmare of "social justice" and "spread the wealth around" morbid garbage.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 1:51 PM, SnowmanColorado wrote:

    Really?!? NO. Katie Spence, the author of this article is grossly misinformed. Get educated before you write alarmist tripe like this!

    I would call on the editor of this site to scrutinize any further work from her. It looks as though she is trying to sway Teslas stock price so she may make a buck...

    Firstly, Tesla batteries are not throw away and will not end up in a landfill.

    Second, The batteries are fully recycled by the manufacturer resulting in little environmental impact.

    Katie should be much much more concerned with the improper disposal of consumer batteries. Potentially hundreds of thousands of times more hazard impact than that of Tesla's.

    The public should be educated in the proper disposal of batteries and the waste companies should make it easier for the public to do so.

    Katie Spence is a disgrace to journalism.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 2:06 PM, jeffhre wrote:

    Wow, people are still referring to that climate central report. Even climate central has said that the article is flawed and has limited applicability. That should be the starting point for evaluating the reports claims.

    "Here’s how I look at Tesla: it’s better than an ICE vehicle, there’s no question about that, but is it the best solution in the long-term? I'd argue it’s reliance on li-ion batteries is problematic. Li-ion isn’t renewable, and so if we’re looking for a renewable energy source to power our cars, Tesla can’t be the end. Plus, there’s the environmental impact of mining li-ion."

    Are 2013 ICE's cleaner and more efficient than ICE's from previous years? Li Ion is recyclable to some extant, far more so than when Tesla was first formed, and better solutions are being explored. Automotive batteries use lead and sulfuric acid and depend on the extraction refining and delivery of gasoline for propulsion. Tesla offers solution, at present, to the largest, heaviest least efficient sedans.

    There are no hydrogen powered vehicles for sale in this class of vehicle, and there will not be any affordable ones for quite some time. Though if they continue use reformed NG, it's not certain what the long term benefits will be had over renewably charged EV's. Let alone what is the purpose of dumping Tesla under the bus (for the present state of battery development?) when it is not certain when, or if ever, a fuel Cell EV will be available to replace the S class, 6/7 series and the A6 class vehicles the Tesla S competes against.

    At first glance, It appears that you are then advocating that large, heavy, luxury sedans should be V 8 powered BMW's or Mercedes since PHEVs have smaller batteries that make them a more environmentally benign choice to produce than a vehicle with a large EV sized battery. Even though 1) the EPA said not to interpret their results in this manner because there was no life cycle analysis conducted and 2) there is clearly no nexus between the large Model S sedan being critiqued and the small PHEV's that are produced and cited (without conclusive evidence) as being more environmentally friendly over the long term.

    Not sure, if your view actually is -

    "Tesla: it’s better than an ICE vehicle, there’s no question about that,"

    what point is being made by this article. Since we do not have a magic dust produced by unicorns (yet!) to replace ICE vehicles burning gasoline, let alone a benign replacement for battery powered vehicles.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 2:13 PM, jeffhre wrote:

    Blake, if you are going to cite popular consensus then it would be that ALL these "alternative" platforms are just that. Alternatives to the real deal, practical, time tested, ICE cars that can be had brand new for less than 15 K with no trailblazing required.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 2:28 PM, jeffhre wrote:

    "This being the case... why not an article with a title like "Plug-In Hybrids May Have a Window In Transition to EVs." I think the window is to short, but it is a reasonable point to raise. Titling the article as it is just reinforces the impression of bias on the author's part."

    Steve, if that is true then it is very possible it could close the window on the much favored fuel cell EV. Such dissonance can easily create resistance to novel solutions.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 2:43 PM, fejmeltonian wrote:

    The least expensive path to green cars is to convert to hydrogen. Current technology can convert cars to hydrogen fuel which produces water and carbon dioxide as byproducts very easily. Electric vehicles don't perform to most American's expectations and produce dangerous compounds during their manufacture. Some electric cars are much like golf carts and all are too expensive.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 2:48 PM, technorodent wrote:

    I don't have a dog in this fight, and I really don't care one way or the other, because I have no hope that human beings will do the right thing by the environment. Both sides have the science wrong.

    That said, I can certainly tell a hatchet job/polemic when I see one. That's what this article is: a hatchet job disguised as a cost-risk-benefit analysis.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 3:18 PM, jeffhre wrote:

    "The least expensive path to green cars is to convert to hydrogen."

    fejmeltonian, please do that. And write about your experiences here. Note that, according to Ulf Bossel, your fueling costs will be about three times higher than using the energy to power a battery than to make and store hydrogen.

    That may eat into the cheap conversion costs that you cite. More so when considering that EV drivers are saving thousands of dollars per year on vs. gasoline and hydrogen stations cost several million to build vs. $150,000 to build Tesla supercharger station that dispenses electrons free to Tesla owners.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 3:33 PM, kmlesniak wrote:

    I wonder if the author of this article is using the iPhone??? Could somebody inform him that it uses the same type of battery. I am afraid he may, and the concequances are .....

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 3:59 PM, weaponz wrote:

    fejmeltonian, Hydrogen is a myth told to people trying to replicate a gasoline car. In reality we don't need to replicate a gasoline car, we need to make the best car.

    First of all I will get out of the way that hydrogen cars are also electric cars. But the cost of going hydrogen is really expensive. It is estimated that each fueling station costs 2-5 million. Since refilling at home would not be possible, your going to need 100,000 hydrogen fueling stations. Call me when your willing to fork over 200-500 billion. And this is just building the stations, this does not include building the hydrogen infrastructure.

    So after a trillion dollars in wasted spending you end up with what? The same thing we have today, just slightly cleaner.

    EVs are far superior, from both logical to economical to ecological.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 4:36 PM, smithy007 wrote:

    Jeffhre do you care to back up your claim about Climate Central's report? Because I looked at its official response and it says nothing of the sort. http://www.climatecentral.org/blogs/you-asked-we-answered-re...

    Weaponz their are limitations to EVERY report done. The EPA's study also noted limitations on upstream materials impact, and the energy required for component and battery manufacturing (which would impact EVs), "In addition to energy, the study found that upstream materials have the potential for substantial occupational impacts. Cobalt, in particular, was flagged as a toxic upstream material that presents potential occupational non-cancer hazards, due to its demonstrated toxicity in mammalian toxicological studies. The lithium chloride brine also showed up as a driver of occupational impacts, due to the considerable input quantities. Research that clarifies the actual potential for exposure, in the case of cobalt, and elements that contribute to toxicity, in the case of complex lithium chloride brines from saline lakes, would be helpful in understanding these potential impacts." But they still concluded, "This study strives to provide battery manufacturers, suppliers, recyclers, the broader scientific community, policymakers, and the general public with a scientifically sound and accurate assessment of the likely life-cycle impacts of high energy density lithium-ion batteries used in vehicle applications and next-generation nanomaterials for use in anodes (i.e., SWCNTs)." Pg 107

    As far as hydrogen, I'd argue that platinum is a considerable detergent, but even Nobel Laureate and highly outspoken hydrogen critic, Steven Chu reversed his stance on hydrogen. He said, "The DOE "will continue to support the fuel cell program. I think in the last year or two, I have been saying this is an important technology and we want to continue to support the research. Fuel cells can be incredibly reliable. There are many fuel cells in buses that have been running in buses for ten year, rock solid. But our target is a $20,000 personal vehicle that can compete with a 45- or even 50-mile-per-gallon internal combustion car." - See more at: http://www.fuelcelltoday.com/news-events/news-archive/2013/f...

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 4:46 PM, weaponz wrote:

    smithy007, The point was the report was not made to compare overall PHEV vs EV. It was just there to get an assessment on some of the common lithium ion chemistries. Comparing the two was not the point of the report as per the EPA note that the report should not be used as such. (Which the author does for w\e reason).

    As far as fuel cells go, I think fuel cells have their uses and should be researched. But they are not the way to go for transportation such as cars and yes not even buses.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 5:01 PM, smithy007 wrote:

    Weaponz that is painfully not true. The EPA report says nothing of the sort, and in its Key Conclusions the EPA compares PHEVs and EVs. Per your quote, "However, resource limitations prevented the partnership from conducting a full LCA of the vehicles. Because of this, care must be taken not to interpret the study results as representing those for the full life-cycle of a PHEV or EV vehicle." That does NOT say not to compare the two vehicles (and in fact the EPA did so itself), but that there are limitations to the life cycle analysis. As I stated above, that includes upstream impacts and manufacturing impacts. If you don't like what the EPA concluded, I'd take it up with them.

    I think I'm going to go with a Nobel Laureate over you, when it comes to hydrogen. He says personal vehicles are a target and I'm guessing his knowledge regarding hydrogen impacts that statement.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 5:04 PM, Extremedriver wrote:

    Thank you for this article. However it should be noted that EV's, Hybrids, Fuel Cell's and similar types of vehicles are not the future of the automobile because they are not necessary.

    The ICE can do everything we need it to do "IF" it is designed correctly. The ICE can be pollution free, can get over 40 MPG in fuel economy, and it can produce as much horsepower/performance we want in the same design.

    The only reason the modern ICE doesn't do all those things in the same package is because the designed is incorrect. Thank you for your time and happy motoring.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 5:19 PM, 930ruf wrote:

    This article has proudly been sponsored by General Motors!

    Oh wait, this was brought to you by Chrysler/Jeep!

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 5:20 PM, weaponz wrote:

    smithy007, Ah, you are aware than no PHEV was evaluated right by the EPA? The study used only an EV and shrunk the battery size to calculate an estimate for the PHEV.

    As for Hydrogen, well we are going to have to see. But as it stands, none of the manufacturers are interested in building infrastructure and want the government to do it. So you can hold your breath, the government will do it any day now.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 5:28 PM, smithy007 wrote:

    Weaponz per the EPA's report, "The study assessed three Li-ion battery chemistries for an electric vehicle (EV) and two chemistries for a long-range plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) with a 40 mile all-electric range." That's on pg. 1 if you'd like to check it out

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 5:36 PM, smithy007 wrote:

    As for hydrogen infrastructure CA just passed a bill that will build over 100 new hydrogen stations, and the gov has a hydrogen fuel cell partnership with manufactures to build stations.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 5:40 PM, smithy007 wrote:

    Also you need to provide cites for your arguments, and not just your opinion.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 5:45 PM, weaponz wrote:

    smithy007, they assessed the common chemistries. But 0 PHEVs themselves were used. They just took a battery chemistry and scaled it for both EVs and PHEVs.

    "As noted above, LCI data were obtained on a mass per kWh basis. However, to model results for a

    battery pack placed in a PHEV-40 and EV, research was conducted on the estimated size of the battery

    pack for each type of vehicle (see Table 1-1). Accordingly, the data were scaled to account for a 40kWh

    battery pack in the EVs, and an 11.6 kWh battery pack in the PHEVs (Barnes, 2009).

    "

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 5:45 PM, smithy007 wrote:
  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 5:52 PM, smithy007 wrote:

    According to your quote, the EPA scaled EV and PHEVS, weaponz. That in no way invalidates the EPA's assessment, and as stated above, "This study strives to provide battery manufacturers, suppliers, recyclers, the broader scientific community, policymakers, and the general public with a scientifically sound and accurate assessment of the likely life-cycle impacts of high energy density lithium-ion batteries used in vehicle applications and next-generation nanomaterials for use in anodes (i.e., SWCNTs)."

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 6:02 PM, weaponz wrote:

    smithy007 - Right, but since the EPA scaled them instead of using actual data for each, comparing the two makes no logical sense. On top of which since the study does not cover the drivetrain, most of the damages from the gas engine is not included in the assessment.

    And yes, I am well aware that they plan to build 100 hydrogen stations by 2023. (20 million a year). But that would put them 1/1000th way there. In comparison by 2023 the EV infrastructure will be already complete.

    You clearly missed my humor, that being is that the manufacturers are waiting on government to dish out funds to build it, which will take decades. In comparison, manufacturers are spending their own money building EV infrastructure like Tesla and Nissan.

    By 2023 we will already have 500 mile EVs going at 20k-40k and charging stations everywhere. While hydrogen cars will be worrying about where to charge.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 6:06 PM, mkundera wrote:

    All of the sudden, everybody has something bad

    to say about TESLA. Last year When stocks were

    $ 20 nobody said cheese. This is the car for the future,stocks will hit $500 next Spring.

    Exxon stock holders start selling Now !

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 6:13 PM, smithy007 wrote:

    Weaponz that is also not true as comparing the two in such a way is a completely accurate, and scientific approach. The EPA also looked at the impact from GWP from fueling, both for an EV and a PHEV, which arguably is one of the most damaging for PHEVs because of the burning of fossil fuels. It still concluded that PHEVs are better if the grid isn't using NG or renewables. And in its assessment it also didn't include upstream or manufacturing emissions, which per the EPA on pg 107, "have the potential for substantial occupational impact." Lithium mining is toxic, it destroys the environment, and would make for a considerable impact.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 6:15 PM, smithy007 wrote:

    And H2USA, the link above, is a public-private partnership. There's no waiting for the gov. It's a collaborative effort.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 6:28 PM, weaponz wrote:

    smithy007, That is not true, the EPA itself said that it wanted to do a full analyses including the drivetrain. It couldn't due to lack of funding.

    And no, the concluded that as far as GWP goes, EVs are better in every scenario except a coal powered grid. Even in a coal powered grid the chart shows only a 10% difference.

    As I mentioned before, Lithium is one of the cleanest out of all the mined resources there is. In comparison there are THOUSANDS of parts that go into an engine. Not calculating how much ecological damage this does makes comparison between a PHEV and EV less than fair.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 6:36 PM, smithy007 wrote:

    Weaponz that is not true. Per the EPA, ""In addition to energy use, this LCIA presents estimated impacts of the Li-ion battery chemistries in EVs and PHEVs across 10 impact categories. One impact category is based on the direct loading measure of the inventory - abiotic resource depletion. Five impact categories use equivalency factors to translate relevant inventory flows into impacts: global warming potential, acidification potential, eutrophication potential, ozone depletion potential, and photochemical oxidation potential. Finally, the four toxicity categories use hazard values as a relative measure of the inherent toxicity of a material, and relate the value to the amount of input or output of the material to generate a hazard score for ecological toxicity potential, human toxicity potential, occupation cancer hazard, and occupational non-cancer hazard. Final LCIA results for each impact category are the sum of all indicators for all materials in each life-cycle process that are classified into the appropriate impact category.

    Global warming potential (GWP) is one of the few impact categories in which EV batteries show lower impacts than PHEV-40 batteries. However, the GWP benefit only appears when the electricity grid relies less on coal production and more on natural gas and renewables. Abiotic depletion and eutrophication potential impacts are the only other impact categories in which EV batteries show lower impacts; however, this is only the case when the grid is composed to a large extent by natural gas-based generation facilities. Accordingly, in regions where the grid is more heavily coal-centric, the study results suggest that PHEV-40 vehicles may be preferable if global warming impacts are highly valued. It is important to note, however, that this study and data contained in a previous study suggest that, in comparison to internal combustion engine vehicles, there are significant benefits in GWP for both EVs and PHEV-40s, regardless of the carbon intensity of the grid. Also note that this analysis does not consider the manufacture of the non-battery components of the vehicle itself, such as the glider and drivetrain." Pg 11

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 6:37 PM, smithy007 wrote:

    For the last time, LITHIUM MINING IS TOXIC! PERIOD. Even the EPA says as much!

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 6:47 PM, dlwatib wrote:

    Tesla vehicles are the first step in sustainable transportation. One cannot fix all problems at once, even Elon Musk. It is clear that transportation cannot depend upon fossil fuels indefinitely, therefore something must be done, and that something must start now. As demand is built for better batteries, better batteries will be developed. And as more batteries are made, better factories will be built, and better, safer methods of mining the raw materials will be developed.

    But if the first step is never taken, then one day the oil wells will start to run dry and the cost of oil will skyrocket and then where will you be, stuck in your gas-guzzling SUV?

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 6:52 PM, weaponz wrote:

    smithy007, I don't know if you read what you copied and pasted but essentially you posted the same thing I said. So it is true and the EPA confirms it to be the case.

    If you have a problem with it, take it up with the EPA.

    And again you completely miss the point. Lithium Mining has its issues. But COMPARED to mining other resources, Lithium Mining is one of the cleanest forms of mining. In comparison, the mining for the materials used in a gas engine are FAR worse.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 6:59 PM, smithy007 wrote:

    Weaponz are you dense? The EPA said across all impact categories, PHEVs overall had a lower impact. There were 10 categories. GWP is one of the ONLY categories where EVs did better. But ONLY if the grid uses NG and renewables!

    If you have a problem with that, or the EPA's methodology, which compares PHEV batteries to EVs, take it up with them.

    You are advocating for a mining technology that destroys the environment, INSTEAD of looking for a true energy revolution. That's beyond appalling.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 7:17 PM, weaponz wrote:

    smithy007, Incorrect. The EPA is only evaluating batteries, nothing else. As acknowledged "Also note that this analysis does not consider the manufacture of the non-battery components of the vehicle itself, such as the glider and drivetrain.".

    Look seriously, stop trolling. You know full well that these numbers do not include important elements such as the engine for the PHEV that have serious ecological impacts. And that as the EPA mentions they could not include due to lack of funding.

    As far as GWP goes, I refer you to Figure 3-1. That even under US average, EVs are better than PHEV and the ONLY time PHEV win is in a coal-centric grid. Even so the win is only by 10%.

    I am advocating the current cleanest method. Which is EVs. Everything causes damage, there is no way around it. EVs cause the minimum damage when factoring FULL analyses of battery, drivetrain, glider and fuel. When a better technology comes to us in a few decades, I will support it as well.

    But your method of doing MORE damage until the perfect solution is found is what is appalling.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 7:24 PM, smithy007 wrote:

    Weaponz the EPA STATES "Global warming potential (GWP) is one of the few impact categories in which EV batteries show lower impacts than PHEV-40 batteries."

    The EPA STATES, "this LCIA presents estimated impacts of the Li-ion battery chemistries in EVs and PHEVs across 10 impact categories." Deal with it.

    If you want a full life cycle analysis, look at the 2013 Climate Central report, which INCLUDES things like manufacturing emissions! Guess what, it ALSO states that PHEVs are better!

    YOU stop trolling, and answer this question, do you work for Tesla Motors in any way?

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 7:42 PM, weaponz wrote:

    smithy007 - Again, it is STRICTLY talking about batteries. They did not have the funding to do a full analyses.

    As for the 2013 Climate Central Report, did you look at the report? It clearly says that on a US average grid, an EV is better than a PHEV.

    And no, I do not work for Tesla in any way and have no affiliation at all. Now am I suppose to ask if you work for the oil industry or an auto manufacturer?

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 7:56 PM, seang54 wrote:

    Almost no lithium is recycled from batteries. Recycling lithium is cost prohibitive ,compared to mining it!

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 8:09 PM, smithy007 wrote:

    Weaponz take up your BS with the EPA. This article is talking about the problems facing BATTERIES! So is the EPA's report! This just so happens to impact Tesla because it relies on lithium batteries! Can you read?

    The Climate Central report says hybrids, and PHEVs like Toyota's, are better for the climate than the Leaf (which it rated as one of most climate friendly EVs) and Tesla (which it rates as the LEAST CLIMATE FRIENDLY EV), in MOST states. Here's a link to what CC SAYS, http://www.climatecentral.org/wgts/ElectricCars2013/map.html...

    Seriously stop spreading lies!

    I don't work for the oil industry or an auto manufacturer.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 8:16 PM, Risky88 wrote:

    I am seriously comparing Tesla to apple about 3 years ago.

    Apple is stupid!!

    180 million zillion comments of hate later.

    Don't mess with a mans or womans stock as iv always said!

    lol

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 9:32 PM, EvilTwin2014 wrote:

    Silly fools all these Eco-terrorist are.... To begin with many companies in the late 1800s dumped untold amounts of gasoline into the ground while they struggled to make Kerosene all in the name of having to not hunt whales into extinction. So what the author is writing is the simple logic of no matter what energy source you pick there is an "effect" on the environment "impacted" by any given technology! I have said it many times if you want to go truly green throw out all your gadgets, your Prius and other electric "Pipe Dream" EV cars, and throw out every other thing you own, and live nude in a cave some place!! Because no matter what you do, you and all of us IMPACT the environment in one way or another!!! Going "green" is an illusion, a myth, a folly, why do you think that electric cars never progressed in the early years (circa the late 1800s early 1900s)? The battery has always been the drawback and problem...and look it still is!! Besides we need energy independence NOW...the short term is to actually drill for oil, and harness propane and natural gas. Older cars can be fitted to run on both LP and NG, and would secure jobs and our future, but we still need oil to build things you apparently don't understand you are using, like bike helmets, Prius interiors, paint and so much more we all depend on that is plastic, vinyl, nylon and more! Next time you click your seat belt or seat on your bike seat...you have oil to thank for those!

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 9:39 PM, maineiacle wrote:

    I find it amusing that the site that has been shilling for Tesla almost daily now wants to hammer them.

    #Hypocrites

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 9:56 PM, highgrowthcarson wrote:

    YIKES -- All of these Seeking Alpha people rehashing the same arguments.

    I know the byline on this article is someone else but I can't help but believe this is John Patterson -- an executive and major shareholder of a failed battery company who has written innumerable misinformation articles for Seeking Alpha about Tesla and somehow manages to get anyone who points out the flaws in his logic banned from that site.

    1. Batteries are reusable -- lithium is not 'burned' -- once all cars are electric very little lithium need be mined.

    2. Studies of batteries vs fossil fuel are silly -- the real advantage of electric vehicles is their utter simplicity. Comparable studies need to account for the thousands of parts, mostly steel and plastic, that go into an ICE and are not needed in an EV -- the materials for these parts (engine, transmission, radiator et all) must be mined and forged and huge amounts of human labor required to assemble them.

    3. The point of electricity being cleaner is that,although fossil fuel burning plants are currently used to create some portion of electricity, this is not necessary over the long term as, little by little, renewable resources replace fossil fuel burning power plants.

    and on and on and on and on -- all of the arguments put forth by JP and his cronies on SA have been refuted over and over by writers far more knowledgable than myself.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 10:23 PM, vinucube wrote:

    There's another problem with EVs - electromagnetic radiation. The International Association for Research on Cancer has classified electromagnetic fields as a possible carcinogen.

    Tesla and Toyota provided me with no measurement data of the level of radiation in their car cabins.

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2014, at 2:26 AM, JSergeant wrote:

    Katie and others reading this, it will be worth your time to watch this video of one of the co-founders of Tesla (Marc Tarpenning) talk about the early beginnings of electric car superstar Tesla Motors and its eventual development up to mid-2013.

    http://cleantechnica.com/2013/12/26/co-founder-tesla-startin...

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2014, at 4:47 AM, TyroneX wrote:

    Seems like some commenters should be taking lithium rather than writing about it.

    Eliminate all cars, except for our glorius political elite and the military/police of course. Normal people walk, ride bikes, use public transportation.

    FORWARD!

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2014, at 8:41 AM, robusticus wrote:

    A couple of corrections. Neither Lithium, Cobalt nor Nickel cause cancer. Lithium batteries are 100% non-toxic, which is a good thing considering they power all of the laptops and smartphones we use.

    If you're looking for carcinogens, you need not look any further than your driveway, every single road and every single parking spot. It's the black gooey stuff that pools up under the engine compartment. Careful not to step in any of it. It's funny how you don't notice this until you drive an EV.

    Another point is batteries are not energy, therefore there is no "energy dependence" issue with rare earth metals. For cars, batteries are purchased once every 10-15 years. You don't compare the battery to the gas. You compare it to the gas tank.

    Lastly, the whole "EV's run on coal so we should use gas" meme never gets old. Did it ever occur to people maybe those states should get some green power instead? Since that's not likely to happen due to the politics of it, people who wish to be green have the option of driving an EV and generating their own electricity with rooftop solar/wind.

    Nothing they say or do can make us buy into the "necessary evil" of fossil fuels. It really is a nice try, though.

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2014, at 9:38 AM, seeteevee wrote:

    SILLY FOOL, everything gives you cancer nowadays

    and the Tesla motors cancer is just a cancer for the big 3, soon they'll take another government bailout again, b/c all they just did at 2014 autoshow was reshelled all their former cars before the bailout, nothing special or innovative about that, and just a little more aggressive marketing

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2014, at 12:30 PM, ThosEM wrote:

    Ok, color me fed up. This is the 386th time the Fool has run an article with "dirty secret' in the title. Do you suppose this gambit might be getting a bit stale by now?

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2014, at 12:44 PM, jeffhre wrote:

    smithy007,

    Thank you, I may be amalgamating results from the CC report with reactions to a report from a European group that I was also reading. Will look over my notes to clarify.

    Assumptions from the CC study.

    Dr. Jennifer Dunn at Argonne National Labs initiated a detailed look at EV battery footprints. Dr Dunn's team reported that earlier estimates ranged from 5 to 22 kgCO2/kg of battery production. Clearly showing 22 kgCO2/kg as the outer boundary. Whereas Hawkins and CC used 22 kgCO2/kg of battery production as a hard and fast number based on a single 2005 study which Dunn concluded "may be double counting." The 2005 report which Hawkins and CC based their conclusions on, focused on PV system batteries, not car batteries, which are the most recycled single item in industrial use at over 92% rates. ( http://pubs.acs.org/doi/suppl/10.1021/es302420z/suppl_file/e... )

    W.R.T. the EPA report there are some important assumptions that may deviate from facts since it's 2007 basis in research was initiated.

    Power grid has 2007 mix of emissions. Illinois high coal grid example, assumes virtually no wind turbines in use. (Wind power has been supported by a renewable portfolio standard,[60] passed in 2007, and strengthened in 2009, which requires 10% renewable energy from electric companies by 2010 and 25% by 2025) -Wikipedia

    Assumes the 33% of Tesla drivers with installed solar, are not deploying solar panels as shown for drivers in California by California Air Resources Board studies.

    No recycling of Li Ion batteries. The incipient process is rudimentary and inefficient, though Tesla has plans for a thorough system once the batteries begin to reach end of life for vehicle use.

    Life cycle environmental effects of batteries are calculated for 5 years on the vehicle,

    Life cycle environmental effects calculated ignore the 10 year expected minimal life span, and Tesla specific stated use plans for after vehicle deployment.

    PHEV 40 vehicles are stated to have less impact than EV's without accounting for the refinement, use and retail delivery of gasoline while the manufacture of the ICE drivetrain components were excluded from any analysis.

    ( http://www.epa.gov/dfe/pubs/projects/lbnp/final-li-ion-batte... )

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2014, at 12:47 PM, jeffhre wrote:

    Correction - Most recycled industrial item in consumer use.

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2014, at 1:48 PM, smithy007 wrote:

    jeffhre the report you cite is NOT the 2013 CC report that I, and this article, refers to. More importantly CC releases an updated report every year, which takes into account changes to the grid. You actually need to read it, and understand it, BEFORE you criticize it or say CC retracted its implications (it didn't, by the way).

    Also, if you don't like the EPA's conclusions, or it's methodology, take it up with them.

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2014, at 5:28 PM, djplong wrote:

    I have no trouble believing reports on the environmental impact of mining lithium. However, what those reports seem to be lacking is a true comparison to the costs associated with the ICE.

    For starters, they don't talk of the environmental impact of the mining and manufacture of: Engine blocks, pistons, rods, valves, water pumps, transmissions, radiators, engine coolant different oils (power steering, transmission, engine), etc.

    They don't talk about the difference between constantly mining oil (tar sands, deep water offshore, etc) versus the fastest growing forms of electrical generation (solar, wind and natural gas).

    This is far from the whole picture and the failure to have a fair comparison does this article no favors.

  • Report this Comment On January 22, 2014, at 3:06 AM, Petronilus wrote:

    Some times people are too obvious in their intent or outright uninformed.

    In this case the author dare use a headline like this:

    "Do you want cancer with that battery?"

    Totally ridiculous point as the same person writing this is driving an ICE car emitting cancer causing hydrocarbons right into the air on a scale that is many many times of higher risk of causing lung cancer than whatever some sealed EV battery will do.

    If cancer was my biggest concern, EV would be my first choice.

  • Report this Comment On February 08, 2014, at 7:27 PM, obrien28 wrote:

    Rather than post a lengthy comment, I wrote a blog post going point by point, showing how this author is clearly full of it. I am so tired of this kind of link bait being masqueraded as "real" journalism.

    **facepalm**

    Read the post here: tesie.me/post/74639747677/

  • Report this Comment On February 11, 2014, at 7:31 PM, Keithx13 wrote:

    Nice job, Katie.

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