Every change, even for the better, hurts. Because personal change means admitting that in hindsight we didn’t do something well in the past. We then ask ourselves why we didn’t draw consequences earlier. That’s how it is at the moment with the change from internal combustion engines (ICE) to electric vehicles (EV). “It wasn’t me, I didn’t destroy the environment! If ICE vehicles were so bad, we would have done something against them sooner.”
For many of us, the fear of gaining something good which is still unknown to us, is often greater than the fear of losing something bad but known. Therefore, we glorify the known and search for the negative in the unknown.
„You know what you’ve got. You don’t know what you’ll get.” (My mother)
Such thoughts are a perfectly normal defensive attitude against any change. But, this has nothing to do with the new, but only with ourselves. On closer look we have in the past simply closed our eyes to the things we do to our world.
The following list relativizes 11 glorifying misbeliefs that are often stated by opponents of this change. But, it should not gloss over possible injustices that our worldwide hunger for resources and cheap products have caused for centuries.
- When children in Africa or in an emerging country sew our fashionable clothes together, glue our sneakers together, assemble our smartphones with their little nimble fingers, or work and die for our beauty in mica mines, we readily accept this. If the same children make even a single component for an EV, we see it as child labor.
When we let workers of all ages mine for our gold, diamonds, and copper in African mines, we readily accept their poor working conditions. When it comes to cobalt, which also occurs in these mines and is sometimes extracted as a byproduct, we suddenly see this as exploitation of children.
If cobalt is used for curing pistons, connecting rods, camshafts, or tools for ICE, then we readily accept it. If cobalt is used in the batteries of our beloved laptops, smartphones, tablets, etc., then we will readily accept that, too. If cobalt is used for a tiny and diminishing proportion of an EV battery, then we see this as the exploitation of the Third World.
When billions of liters of groundwater are contaminated by oil sand rinsing in Canada or by fracking for oil worldwide and thousands of square kilometers of nature are thereby destroyed forever, we readily accept this. When undrinkable, salinated groundwater is pumped up in a salt lake in the Atacama Desert to extract lithium and the water then seeps away or evaporates in desalinated form, then we see in this the destruction of the environment and waste of groundwater.
If an average of 11 kWh of electricity is used solely for the production of petrol or diesel within the refinery and many more kWh for the operation of the drilling rigs and pipelines, so that an ICE vehicle can drive 100 km (62 miles), the power grids can, of course, withstand this. If a similar amount of electricity can drive an EV over a similar distance, we believe that the power grid will collapse.
If our millions of domestic cats kill billions of birds just for play, then we accept this as “natural”. If windmills kill even a fraction of these birds, we call them “bird killers”.
If an ICE suffers a bearing damage after 200,000 km (124,000 miles), then it has served us well. If an EV battery has to be replaced after 500,000 km (310,000 miles) but can then be reconditioned to 90% of its original capacity and after a total of three life cycles and 1,500,000 km (930,000 miles) is used as a backup battery at home for a further ten years, then we see this as a disposal and recycling catastrophe.
If we are surprised every day and especially at peak times by new gas prices, then we defenselessly accept this price arbitrariness of the oil companies. We have also readily accepted that our dependence on oil finances distant despots and dictators as well as environmental destruction, oppression, expropriation, terrorism, and war. But if we can choose the price of electricity and its origin and produce it locally or even at home, then we see this as a disadvantage.
If an ICE vehicle loses 30% – and more – of its market value shortly after registration, then we accept this because it has always been this way. If an EV like a Tesla only loses 30% of its purchase price after 70,000 km, then we believe that an EV doesn’t pay off?
If we drive our ICE vehicle 10 minutes to the gas station, fill the tank, check the oil, and pay for 15 minutes, and then drive home again for 10 minutes, we accept this as indispensable. If we can charge an EV at home overnight and drive off in the morning with a full battery, then we consider this as impractical.
If we take a 10-minute break to visit the rest room or a 45-minute meal break during a drive with an ICE vehicle, then we willingly accept the loss of time. If we charge the battery of an EV during the same time, it seems like a waste of time to us.
Of course, not everything in the world of electric mobility is rosy, because an EV is only a climate saver not a world saver.
The next time we hear negative opinions or have our own, it would certainly be helpful to consider the origin of this rejection. Is the opinion perhaps based on an old misconception, which we cling to and which is difficult to discard? Let us ask ourselves why we sometimes like to close our eyes to change and why we so readily accept known bad things just because we know them.
This blog post is based on my German version.
Source: The list is inspired by a similar list that I found in a rough German version without copyright information.