Covid-19 reminded us that the world’s problems will not be solved with fines, taxes or communication, but with new technologies and actions.
Our societies, disrupted by the pandemic, have seen our economic and social lives held together by technology. Families kept connected through internet connections, businesses continued to operate from the homes of their employees, stores and restaurants operated a minima through click and collect, cities and towns continued to administer through town councils via video. In commodities, the biggest event of pandemic was not the rise of gold, which reacted as usual in uncertain times, nor the prices of oil, gas or iron ore, but the electric car market.
EV sales doubled in 2019, then again in 2020, and are booming in 2021. The electric motorization craze is a global industrial event of primary importance because the transportation sector is building structural ramifications in the metals markets and for the many years to come in all global industries.
One fake-news is always followed by another
In the same Europe and especially in France for the past two years, the detractors of electric motorization have built a fake-news on “rare metals” and “rare earths”. They have widely expressed and shared their credo in mainstream media, news channels, radios through pseudo-scientific studies, distorting documentaries or oriented books favoring sensationalism, deleterious emotion, caricature of the anti-electric car without examining, without studying the contradictory, without looking at the facts, without questioning. Just as some citizens stick on pro-ignorance feelings against vaccines, this easy way was blindly adopted by the political world. All this are echo to Victor Hugo: “Ignorance is a reality on which one feeds; science is a reality on which one fasts. To be a scientist and to be healthy ; to graze, and to be an ass everywhere”.
It is also true that accumulation of the advantages of the electric car propelled by electricity produced, for example, by the circular economy of nuclear power had every chance of running up against the interests anti-nuclear, then pro-oil and anti-nuclear get together. Quite logically, the result of these two currents crystallized in the form of the movement of the anti-electric car armed with the fake news of “rare metals”. Constructed to discredit factories and the technical progress of electric mobility in Europe, without ever proposing an alternative if not to stop everything, this “rare metals” hoax makes companies flee, manufacturer look like a thug and science a curse.
Business intelligence must be used to deconstruct anti-electricity fake news
This all situation raised eyebrows among experts on metals and the geopolitics of natural resources. This anti-electric fake-news media offensive common to the pro-oil and anti-electric car, is deconstructed by the facts: on cobalt and non child labor in the DRC, on the shift from oil to metals, on lithium, on battery recycling, on the unreal “metals war” confused with the “Great Game of Metals“, on “rare metals” which do not exist -it is rather necessary to speak more intelligently about strategic or critical metals according to the state or industrial options- and on “rare earths” which are not rare, and contrary to what is hammered out, they are little mostly out and event absent from some electric vehicles which is far from being the case for gasoline and diesel cars.
The recent analysis of the magazine EnerGeek bears witness to this as well as a film released in 2020, “À Contresens : Electric vehicler, the great intoxication“. It recalled that the Koch Brothers, Texas oil billionaires, activists and financial supporters of Donald Trump, have invested $10 millions per year in documentaries against electric cars mediating arguments such as that the CO2 balance of electric vehicles is worse than that of combustion models, that “rare metals” and “rare earths” are used in the batteries of electric cars and these mineral resources will be depleted, that electric car is dependent on child labor in the cobalt mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo, that mining of lithium in South America is dangerous for pink flamingos, etc.
That’s why this alliance between oil pros and anti-electric around fake news of “rare metals” is losing the battle against the truth : the electric vehicle is less polluting than the combustion engine. Numerous EV do not contain rare earths neither battery with nickel nor cobalt but other abundant materials such as iron or manganese. Once the hoax unmasked, there is no argument left to kill the electric car, because whatever the origin of the electricity, thanks to its energy efficiency, the electric motor from its construction to its recycling pollutes less than the thermal engine. Moreover, as its cost continues to fall, it will be on a par with combustion engines by the end of 2021.
The reality is that the success of battery-powered cars is gaining ground around the world. In Europe, the market share of electric cars doubled in 2019, and then doubled again in 2020. By country, at the end of the year it was 50% in Norway, 20% in Germany, 16% in the UK and 15% in France. With nearly 1.4 million electric cars sold in 2020, representing 8% of sales, the European market is the world leader, and it will double to 15% in 2021. In second place, China’s 400 automakers sold around 1.3 million electric vehicles on their domestic market. The United States lagged far behind with 350,000 units sold, and Japan peaked at 40,000 sales. In total, global sales are around 3 million vehicles, or 4% of the world market, but are expected to reach 30% in 2025 and 70% before 2040 as soon as the United States of Joe Biden’s accelerates thanks to the Democratic “green deal”: abandoning the pro-oil rhetoric of his predecessor, returning to the Paris agreements of COP 21, implementing incentives and setting a date such as 2050, after which the sale of internal combustion engines will be banned.
Business intelligence in raw materials revealed the intoxicating alliance between pro-oil and anti-electricity around the fake news of “rare metals” against the supporters of electric mobility. This industrial fake-news, from its beginning to its end, will undoubtedly remain an interesting case study of information manipulation and questions on media integrity that will probably be taught in journalism and infowar schools.