In his State of the Union Address on Tuesday, President Joe Biden promoted electric vehicles (EVs), trumpeting his plans to establish “a national network of 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations.” In so doing, Biden is unwittingly supporting the worst humanitarian abuses in the world. This is because of the way in which the materials used in manufacturing the batteries that power today’s EVs are obtained.
To obtain a reasonable amount of power per pound of battery weight, EV manufacturers generally use various forms of lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries, so named because the battery’s positive electrode, called the cathode, is largely made up of the highly reactive metal lithium (Li). To keep the cathode stable when a battery is not in use, the lithium is combined in a metal oxide matrix, with different manufacturers using different combinations of metals.
Most EV manufacturers combine lithium with nickel, cobalt and manganese to create a Li-Ni-Mn-Co oxide matrix to form the cathode. Tesla substitutes aluminum (Al) for the manganese, yielding a Li-Ni-Co-Al oxide matrix for the cathode on their batteries. Tesla maintains that their formulae is more cost-effective as less cobalt is required.Read More