Scientists Warn That EV Evolution Could Strip Natural Resources

Wed 5th Jun 2019


A professor of earth sciences at the UK’s Natural History Museum has warned that the demand for electric vehicles could place unprecedented demand on some important natural resources.

Professor Richard Herrington has headed a team of eight scientists who have written to the Committe of Climate Change warning of the implications of swapping the UK’s 31.5m cars with battery powered vehicles.

Current battery technology for cars requires 80 per cent nickel, 10 per cent cobalt and 10 per cent manganese. If the UK swapped every car to electric today, the demand would require the total amount of neodynmium, three quarters of the world’s lithium and at least half of the world’s copper. These demands are just to meet the UK infrastructure, which places worrying concerns on the planet’s natural resources.

“The urgent need to cut CO2 emissions to secure the future of our planet is clear, but there are huge implications for our natural resources”. Professor Herrington said: “Our role as scientists is to provide the evidence for how best to move towards a zero-carbon economy – society needs to understand that there is a raw material cost of going green.”

The scientists’ letter also warns of the implications of charging the EV cars, with an anticipated 20 per cent increase in electricity demand and if those generation levels are to be met by sustainable power sources then an additional 6,000 wind turbines will be required.