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Getting behind the wheel of new electric vehicles has become a signature move for self-proclaimed “car guy” President Joe Biden. But his choice of car has some climate advocates hitting the brakes.
Those EVs have one big thing in common: their batteries. The Ford Lightning’s battery weighs in at 1,800 pounds, while the Hummer EV’s 2,923-pound battery alone weighs more than a whole gasoline-powered Honda Civic. And that extra weight comes with some negative consequences.
For starters, heavier cars mean more wear and tear on roads. The head of the National Transportation Safety Board has also warned that big EVs like the Hummer could increase the risk of serious injury or death for pedestrians and other drivers when they’re in accidents.
Then there are the climate concerns. Bigger batteries require a lot of critical minerals, which, for the most part, are extracted using fossil fuel power. It also takes a lot more electricity to power those cars, and the electric grid still relies heavily on fossil fuels as well.
So while the Hummer EV may become better for the climate when more renewables come online, for now, it emits more carbon per mile than the most efficient gasoline-powered cars.
All these factors have led some climate advocates to call on the Biden administration and automakers to build and promote smaller EVs. But others would like to see federal funding go toward another overlooked climate solution: public transit.
More clean energy news
⚖️ Climate lawsuits may get their day in court: A U.S. Supreme Court case later this year could lift the blockade that’s been keeping municipalities’ climate lawsuits against fossil fuel companies out of courts for years. (Grist)
🏡 A smart home is an efficient home: This year’s CES tech trade show spotlighted the latest in smart energy controls and electric appliances, suggesting a future with all-electric, high-efficiency homes isn’t too far away — and bidirectional electric vehicle batteries can help speed the transition. (Canary Media, Washington Post)
🍳 Gas vs. induction in action: A New York pilot project showed that Bronx public housing units with induction stoves had significantly lower nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide levels than those with gas stoves. (The City)
💸 It’s all about the money: The Energy Department’s loan programs leader Jigar Shah shares how he turned the “essentially dormant” office into a clean energy-lending powerhouse. (Guardian)
⚠️ Disaster displacement on the rise: A record 3 million U.S. residents were forced to leave their homes last year because of a natural disaster — but more prosperous White residents who’ve benefitted from climate adaptation measures were largely able to stay. (E&E News, American Prospect)
🔥 The gas stove fight isn’t new: The natural gas industry has fought gas appliance regulations for decades, including through an industry-penned report that dampened warnings about gas heat and stoves’ risks in 1984. (Vox)
📚 Climate denial is everywhere: Climate change denial think tank the Heartland Institute sent a textbook to teachers across the country filled with what it calls “the data to show the earth is not experiencing a climate crisis.” (Grist)
- Communications Manager | Clean Virginia
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