Many automotive manufacturers have already begun taking steps toward electric conversion by manufacturing more and more electric vehicles. Nissan and General Motors both plan on manufacturing over 10,000 electric vehicles in 2011 with that number growing exponentially in 2012.
However, while many companies have begun to shift, a complete shift to electric or non gas powered vehicles would take many, many years if at all possible.
If the auto industry does shift quickly to electric sources, then we will need to mine MUCH more coal. There is no other way to quickly ramp up electricity production. Hydroelectric dams, geothermal plants, solar, wind, and wave farms take huge up-front investments and years to get planned, permitted and built.
To electrify the present US auto fleet would require double the coal to fire electric generation plants – and while increasing coal-based power is possible in the short term, doubling coal production is no more feasible than buiding a million wind turbines and installing them.
Also, all those electric autos will require things like neodymium in the motors and lanthanum and lithium in the batteries. At present ALL neodymium and lanthanum in the US comes from China. And more than half the lithium comes from Chile and Argentina. So prepare to become import-dependent again.
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