Propaganda video claiming 'dirty electric cars' debunked

Follow John

Tesla Model S at Supercharger site in Ventura, CA, with just one slot open  [photo: David Noland]

Tesla Model S at Supercharger site in Ventura, CA, with just one slot open [photo: David Noland]

Enlarge Photo

For years, electric-car skeptics raised concerns about what was cleverly dubbed "The Coal Tailpipe": the idea that plug-in vehicles produced just as many harmful emissions as gasoline cars, but in a different place.

That's not remotely true for carbon dioxide, as multiple studies over the years have shown, though it is in limited cases for a small number of individual pollutants emitted by certain types of powerplants.

In due course, scientific analysis largely overcame the scare tactics. Now, a new theme for anti-electric-car propaganda has begun to make the rounds.

DON'T MISS: The Five Most Ignorant Media Myths About Electric Cars

The website HybridCars.com recently published a lengthy and detailed rebuttal to a new video circulating on social media. The piece is bluntly titled, "Oil Lobbyists’ Video Takes Cheap Shots At Electric Cars."

It doesn't mince words, either, calling the video "disinformation and error-filled," and noting that it's being carefully targeted to specific sets of users. (Sound familiar?)

Author Jeff Cobb also notes that one of the video's sponsors is "a front group for oil merchants the Koch Brothers."

Charles and David Koch, The Koch Brothers (work via DonkeyHotey on Flickr)

Charles and David Koch, The Koch Brothers (work via DonkeyHotey on Flickr)

Enlarge Photo

Charles G. and David H. Koch (pronounced "coke") are the very wealthy, very conservative brothers who spend tens of millions of dollars a year lobbying in favor of fossil fuels and against renewable energy, among many other initiatives.

The 90-second video is put out by a lobbying group, Fueling U.S. Forward, that calls itself "a non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public about the value and potential of American energy, the vast majority of which comes from fossil fuels.”

According to an article on plans to establish the group, which launched in August 2016, Fueling U.S. Forward intends to spend up to $10 million a year to promote fossil fuels.

READ THIS: Three big automaker myths about CAFE: busted by Consumers Union

It is presently focusing its efforts on lower-income Americans in attempting to paint renewable energy and zero-emission vehicles as morally harmful, exploiting children in poorer nations so the rich can drive expensive Tesla electric cars.

The video, "Dirty Secrets of Electric Cars," suggests that we "need to start having a more honest conversation" about the impacts of electric-car manufacturing.

It claims that they contain numerous toxic materials that are not found in conventional vehicles powered by fossil fuels, and attempts to tie those materials to child labor in mines.

Frame from lobbying video, 'Dirty Secrets of Electric Cars,' issued by Fueling U.S. Forward

Frame from lobbying video, 'Dirty Secrets of Electric Cars,' issued by Fueling U.S. Forward

Enlarge Photo
Frame from lobbying video, 'Dirty Secrets of Electric Cars,' issued by Fueling U.S. Forward

Frame from lobbying video, 'Dirty Secrets of Electric Cars,' issued by Fueling U.S. Forward

Enlarge Photo
Frame from lobbying video, 'Dirty Secrets of Electric Cars,' issued by Fueling U.S. Forward

Frame from lobbying video, 'Dirty Secrets of Electric Cars,' issued by Fueling U.S. Forward

Enlarge Photo
Frame from lobbying video, 'Dirty Secrets of Electric Cars,' issued by Fueling U.S. Forward

Frame from lobbying video, 'Dirty Secrets of Electric Cars,' issued by Fueling U.S. Forward

Enlarge Photo

Rare-earth metals in particular, it says, are "mined primarily in places like China and the Democratic Republic of Congo, where pollution is rampant and thousands of children are forced to work in the mines.”

Cobb's article, which is worth reading in its entirety, notes that a single paragraph on the lobbying group's website contains no fewer than six factual inaccuracies:

1) None of the metals in modern electric-car batteries are classified as being a human or plant toxicity concern; (2) None are considered particularly rare ... or hard to extract; (3) None are classified as “rare earths;” (4) Lithium is not a rare-earth metal; (5) Cobalt is not a rare-earth metal; (6) Only cobalt is mined primarily in China and DRC, [while] the rest of [the] battery metals (which make up the majority of the battery) are extracted elsewhere.

CHECK OUT: In Just One Year, Electric Cars Have Gotten Cleaner: How'd They Do That? (Dec 2014)

There's no question that mining conditions in poorer countries are sometimes horrific and virtually never as safe or environmentally responsible as those in North America, which have their own problems as well.

Consider, for example, the "mountaintop removal" process in modern automated mining for coal—a fossil fuel—that simply strips the top off entire mountains and dumps waste at random, often destroying watersheds, rivers, and streams.

That process, perhaps not surprisingly, is not mentioned in the video.

Perhaps it's a sign of progress, however, that inaccurate attacks on electric cars no longer even try to claim they're dirtier than cars powered by burning fossil fuels.

_______________________________________

Follow GreenCarReports on Facebook and Twitter.

 
Follow Us

Take Us With You!

 


 
© 2017 Green Car Reports. All Rights Reserved. Green Car Reports is published by Internet Brands Automotive Group. Stock photography by izmostock. Read our Cookie Policy.