Electric cars

I do not think that alternative energies will be able to fully  displace conventional fossil fuels, at least not any time soon. Electric  cars are an example of trying to go from fossil fuels to alternative  energies. The batteries used in electric cars are dependent on rare  earth elements and neodymium, which are largely produced in China. This  becomes a geopolitical issue, as it would require China to produce more  of the elements and export them (Module Notes 6: Green). This would  cause a rivalry amongst oil companies, as their profit would begin to  decrease if electric cars increase. This would also require an increase  of usage on the power grid, which in turn would possibly require fossil  fuels to increase in order to support the power grid. The only way that  these rivalries could possibly be overcome is if the oil companies were  able to have stake or become the “middle man” in the export of the rare  earth elements required to make the electric cars. One might also  consider the fact that if the elements are so rare that they may not be  able to support a complete overturn from fossil fuel cars to electric  cars. This is important to consider as well, as it would require  companies to seek alternative ways to run electric cars or would need to  have a back up for the cars in case the elements start to decrease,  thus becoming harder to find.

In my estimation, I do not believe that all-electric  vehicles are a realistic alternative to gasoline-powered vehicles. Due  to the rareness of the elements required to support the vehicles, I  think that the elements would run out, become too expensive, or become  an issue of geopolitics. An example of the geopolitical issue would be  how China stopped the export of REEs to Japan in 2010 for political  leverage (Module Notes 6: Green). I think that an alternative would need  to be invented in order to avoid a situation where a country would be  cut off from the REEs required to make electric power vehicles. It is  possible that a vehicle that uses a more common element could be made in  order to move away from gasoline-powered vehicles and move towards a  more eco-friendly vehicle.

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