Commercial Electric Vehicles

Electric vehicles are being manufactured in a variety of technologies, shapes and sizes, suited to a wide range of uses.


But all this comes at a cost. Lithium-ion batteries are more expensive. As with any developing technology, though, the cost should decline as production volume increases.

However, there is another serious challenge to all electric vehicle technologies: accessing the raw materials to make them. Most of the world’s lithium is produced in South America.

Lithium ion batteries also need other minerals to work. Minerals like cobalt, which is mostly found in the conflict-torn Democratic Republic of Congo and Cuba. The permanent magnets in electric motors use “rare earth metals” which are mostly produced in China and are under increasing control by Beijing.

These are the core issues being addressed by Technology and Rare Earth Metals (TREM) Center, a division of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security (IAGS). IAGS is a non-profit organization which directs attention to the strong link between energy and security, and provides a stage for public debate on the various avenues to strengthening the world’s energy security.

The mission of the IAGS TREM Center is to create a forum where policymakers and companies from the minerals, defense technology, cleantech, automotive and finance sectors can advance policies that ensure secure and diverse supply chains for technology metals.

POWER DEMANDS

The distance that EVs can travel on electric power depends on the size of the battery, the type of vehicle and how it is used. Like conventional gasoline vehicles, factors such as climate, accessory use and driving style will impact the actual range of the electric vehicle.

As the charge on an EV’s batteries diminishes while being driven, the driver will begin to feel sluggishness due to a loss of power and performance. If the vehicle is a pure electric vehicle, the batteries can be drained completely causing the vehicle to stop, like a car that runs out of gas. But long before the vehicle runs out of “juice” there will be notifications, much like the notifications when a vehicle gets low fuel.

Some manufacturers are working with roadside assistance providers to have “booster” charging packs to help an EV get home or to a charging station. Many EVs will also have charging stations programmed into the GPS to get the driver there quickly.

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