“By January 1, 2023, nearly all trucks and buses will need to have 2010 model year engines or equivalent.”APCD, Santa Barbara County, California
Yeah, it is about to get bad in California. The CARB rules are tightening by the day it seems. About 80,000 trucks, or 17% of the trucking fleet in California, will become “Illegal” when the new restrictions kick in. A lot of head-scratching is going on about what to do and how to replace those trucks. Do you buy another diesel-powered truck that might become “illegal” down the road, or take the bet on the new e-truck technologies being tested now. I mean Elon has been promising delivery soon™ since 2017.
“Tesla has confirmed that it decided to delay the launch of the Semi truck program to 2022 over battery cell supply constraints.”Electrek.com
SO WHAT”S THE HOLD-UP?!?! Raw materials!!! They’re kinda hard to get. Let’s pick on Elon some more. (Rooster puts on his lab coat again!) The Tesla Truck uses a 4680 battery cell, approximately the size of a D-cell that we use currently, which is then packed together into a unit that fits in the front between the steer tires. But why is it there, in the frontal impact zone??? Doesn’t he know batteries burn pretty hot, especially energy-rich lithium?
So after reading the Battery Day spec sheet, there are four main elemental materials the 4680s need – silicon, nickel, lithium and cobalt. Two of these are easy to obtain, and two cause Greenpeace to show up. First, silicon and nickel, which are common and relatively easy to get. Silicon is the second- most abundant element after oxygen. And nickel… I think I have a few of those in my pocket. Tesla is getting its supply from Minnesota. Now for the two rotten eggs, lithium and cobalt.
Yeah, deep holes in the Earth and child labor, not what you want to see on the evening news. Anywhere the ocean was a few million years ago is where you can find lithium. But it takes about a year and a half to process the material from the salt flats into usable ore. The faster way is to dig out material in a vast mine, process in a little hydrochloric acid, and out comes the good stuff.
Now let’s talk about cobalt. “Artisanal miners” is the PC term to get around child labor, which is about 8% of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) cobalt mining. The DRC contains about 70% of the world’s reserves of cobalt, and produces 71% of the material used. Tesla is part of a project called “RE|Source,” using blockchain tech to track “responsibly” harvested cobalt (similar to how conflict diamonds are marked and traced). But that won’t stop groups like Amnesty International from doing spot checks.
So, I wasn’t planning on doing anything special for Earth Day, but I guess I did. If I was a betting man, I’d put money into biofuel blends. I mean, if Bill Gates is pushing biofuel (and he just bought a ton of farm land), wouldn’t that pique your interest? E-trucks are heavy, about 30,000 pounds for the cab alone. Add a 14,000-pound trailer, and that cuts its payload to just 36,000 pounds. That’s a 5-ton discount compared to the fuel burners. If I were to go back to driving for myself, a good ol’ DD15 is what I’d go for.
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