John Schinnerer
2 min readNov 12, 2023

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There are a lot of comments here saying this EV assessment is incorrect and "the numbers are readily available" showing how much less polluting EVs are.

Problem is - those "readily available" numbers exclude most or all of the messy details along the way that are required to produce and use an end product of an EV that you can get into and drive somewhere. What comes out the tailpipe (or not) is a tiny fraction of the total damage.

Raw materials extraction, refining, manufacturing and transportation, just for starters. Then the whole dirty, many-tentacled industrial process of taking those bulk materials and turning them into a vehicle. And the infrastructure requirements for any type of car - petrol or electric - are the same: massive road networks and all the materials, machinery, transportation, energy needed, and environmental damage caused to build and maintain them. No savings there from EVs. And as noted in the article, massive infrastructure build-out needed for "fueling" EVs. Not just other flavors of the cute billionaire-toy charging stations that Tesla is dropping here and there, but the clearly described total inability of existing energy generation and distribution systems to provide for tens, never mind hundreds, of millions of EVs. And, the toxic consequences of lithium battery manufacturing - for example, dozens and eventually hundreds of vast open pit mines, and the need for proportionally large quantities of sulfur compounds to extract the lithium from the raw ore - 10 parts to each part of lithium produced. Sulfur compounds that are primarily obtained, by the way, from the fossil fuel industry.

One must ignore a vast majority of these inconvenient elements of the whole system required to make and use automobiles, to be fooled into thinking EVs are a "solution." But from a systems perspective it's clear no particular type of automobile can be a solution to the problems of automobiles.

So, thanks for putting this article together, especially the bit about electric vehicles, whether terrestrial or more absurdly aerial. And about social media, of course!

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John Schinnerer

A generalist in a hyper-specialized society. "How we do what we do is who we are becoming." - Humberto Maturana