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Electric Currents

What the H-E-Double Hockey Stick Is Up with Time?

As the publisher and editor in chief of EV World I appreciate the value of creative headlines in generating interest and driving web traffic, but I think that editors at Time need a good dressing down.

Check out these two recent headlines over at Time.com:

Why “Green” Cars Are Still Destroying the Earth

Your Electric Car Isn’t Making the Air Any Cleaner

The first 'destroying the earth' articles is about the increasing use of aluminum in automobiles - and now trucks - as part of efforts to improve fuel economy by lightening up the body. For some crazy reason, the author decided to pick on Tesla and its use of the lightweight alloy in its all-electric Model S. Yet, as car aficionados know, Tesla isn't the first company to build cars from aluminum. German carmaker Audi has been using the metal to some degree for somewhere around two decades now. My 2000 model year Honda Insight was mostly aluminum. The metal has been used in car hoods and other parts for decades.

Now it is true that it takes a huge amount of energy to turn bauxite into aluminum, which is why most smelters are located in regions with lots of cheap hydropower, Iceland being just one of them. Additionally, according to the Aluminum Association, the primary production carbon footprint of aluminum has declined 19% since 2005 and 37% since 1995.

There is no arguing that mining is messy. Just listen to my interview with Bill Carter about his book on the copper mining industry. Extracting minerals is a destructive, usually carbon intensive activity, regardless of what you're building. Reusing a material produces a much smaller carbon footprint and aluminum is one of the most recycled materials available. You can shred it, melt it and then turn it back into whatever product you want an infinite numbers of times.

So, why pick on 'green' cars generally and Tesla, in particular? It's almost as if there's some agenda at work over at Time, which seems confirmed by the second headline about EVs not making air any cleaner.

The gist of that article is that California's electric car rebate program isn't doing anything to clean the air in the state. Instead of getting polluting 'clunkers' off the road, usually driven by low income drivers, the rebates are simply helping rich people, who generally drive newer, cleaner cars, replace them with expensive EVs. I think it can be argued that in order to get to affordable EVs for everyone, we first need to reach sufficient production volume by selling premium-priced cars. Call it the plasma television effect. A decade ago, few could afford flatscreen TVs. Today, that's all you can buy.

At the same time, even California recognizes that its rebate program has unfairly advantaged the rich, which is why SB 1275 passed 46-23 in the state Assembly in August and Governor Brown signed it into law on September 21st. Dubbed the "Charge Ahead California Initiative," the measure aims to financially encourage low-income residents to get their older, polluting vehicles off the road; the exact mechanisms to be determined.

Clearly Californians understand the problem and are dealing with it, so why the inflammatory headline, Time?

I would expect this kind of horsepucky from Fox New or the Washington Times, but Time? They must really be desperate for traffic. In a way, I am reluctant to even include a link to the articles since all it does is drive visitors their way, but if they keep up this approach, you can bet, I won't be linking to them anymore.

Times Article Viewed: 356


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