By Lt. Col. James Zumwalt,
Lt. Col. James Zumwalt sees an ‘absence of Democratic reasoning’ on electric vehicles.
Ask most residents of Cincinnati, Ohio, where their subway is located and you will be told there is no subway. But their response is understandable. Under the streets of Cincinnati today, a vast intersecting web of tunnels with subway tracks in place actually does exist, construction of which began in 1920. However, due to the Depression and an approaching world war, construction was never completed. Most access points are now cemented shut.
Visitors to North Korea’s capital city cannot help but notice the most dominant feature on Pyongyang’s skyline. It is a narrow, pyramid-shaped building rising 105 stories skyward. While construction on what was to be the world’s tallest hotel began in 1987, the Ryugyong Hotel project was abandoned in 1992. Although some subsequent work ensued, it remains unfinished today. Work was halted due to a funding shortage as well as the government’s failure to fully analyze various engineering obstacles that would be encountered during construction.
The above are recognized today as two of history’s eight biggest failed construction projects. However, of note is the difference for their failures. Construction stoppage of the Cincinnati subway was unforeseeable – the result of a Depression soon followed by growing global hostilities. But work stoppage on the Ryugyong Hotel was foreseeable. Insufficient funding by a government unable to feed its own people and its failure to think through all the engineering issues to be encountered beforehand demonstrated incompetence that led to a national embarrassment.
While the time and money spent on the Cincinnati subway construction was a waste, the impact of its loss was primarily on a local level. However, the time and money wasted on the Ryugyong Hotel impacted on a national level.
As the U.S. embarks upon a policy of transitioning from fossil-fueled cars to electric vehicles (EVs), shutting down our fossil fuel production to motivate citizens in this direction, and with states like California mandating no more of the former after 2035, unaddressed issues posture America to suffer its own “Ryugyong moment.” For us, however, in addition to the loss of time and money is the potential of lost lives as well.
Ironically, we are blindly racing to cross the EV transition finish line without considering the impact of shutting down fossil fuel production, knowing these vehicles will be dependent upon an electricity energy source that itself is 80% reliant upon fossil fuels. While fossil fuels are obviously important to operating most cars today, we cannot ignore the fact they are just as important in providing electricity tomorrow even in an all-EV world.
Various actions being undertaken by Democrats suggest no one grasps the overall picture. During a House Natural Resources Committee hearing in November 2022, California Republican Rep. Tom McClintock shared insights into how Democrats are setting America up for disaster by pulling in two different directions concerning EV production.
He explained that copper is critical to such production, of which the U.S. has ample reserves. One such major copper deposit location is the Resolution project in Arizona, commended for using block cave technology to shrink its environmental footprint. As such, it was all set to be activated for commercial copper production when President Donald Trump left office, only to be blocked by President Joe Biden soon afterward.
Imploring the committee chairman to reverse course, McClintock pointed out the obvious:
“On the one hand, you want to mandate … electric cars … all in the name of saving the planet. Yet, on the other hand, you want to radically restrict mining, also in the name of saving the planet. Well, you can’t do both.”
McClintock went on to lambast Democrats for ignoring the need to have operating by 2035 over 300 mines to meet EV needs not only for copper but graphite, lithium, nickel and cobalt, according to industry forecasts. In fact, he added, EVs require six times the mineral input of fossil-fueled cars, necessitating more, not less, mining. (It is estimated mining operations to manufacture a thousand-pound EV battery equates to moving 500,000 pounds of earth.)
To underscore the absence of Democratic reasoning on the subject, McClintock stated, “If it is your contention that the mining required to produce electric cars is a threat to the environment, then you are also admitting that the electric cars that require it are a threat to the environment.”
Democrats also ignore the fact, as U.S. mining production decreases and EV sales increase, we will have to rely more on mining production in other countries, such as Africa, where laborers will endure horrifyingly harsh working conditions to meet our needs.
While McClintock’s comments just focused on the mining issue, there are several other EV issues in need of ample discussion before launching a full court press to transition.
Some of these include:
- Fire Hazard: The chemical fire hazard created by EV batteries, ignited either by a collision or, as Hurricane Ian demonstrated, by salt water exposure, are difficult to extinguish. In some cases, while appearing to be out, they flare up later. This danger should be of special concern to parents whose children now ride electric school buses.
- Charger Infrastructure: Major snowstorms have left EV drivers with limited power to heat their vehicles, eventually losing all power. A limited charging station infrastructure triggered long waits and raised concerns of system overload.
- Substation Outages: The electric grid is becoming a popular target for domestic terrorists as over 70 substations were hit in 2022, obviously creating a negative impact on transportation mobility in an EV world.
- Transformer Replacement: Concerns have long existed over the limited availability of large power transformers in the event of a major power grid catastrophe.
- Residential Chargers: Reportedly, the owner of an electric Hummer plugged his battery in on a Sunday, learning it would not be fully charged until Friday.
- Battery Disposal: The massive EV battery packs are not easily recyclable or disposable, creating a major ecological problem concerning disposal.
An interesting observation was shared by a chauffeur working the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where climate change experts keep sounding the alarm. She claimed many of the elites rejected EVs, concerned about how “dangerous” they are and insisting on being driven in fossil-fueled cars.
While Biden is cutting our domestic energy lifelines to transition America to EVs, he does so recklessly by failing to consider all possible factors of his Green Movement campaign. He should consider the consequences of this based on what has shockingly been occurring in pushing us in another alternative energy direction – constructing massive wind turbines to generate electricity. Several disasters have already occurred in which General Electric turbines, some taller than the Statue of Liberty, have collapsed – believed to be caused by foreseeable consequences ignored in the rush to install turbine capacity.
Absent fuller debate on the subject, the transition to EVs has the potential of becoming a national disaster. One critic concerned about the auto industry relying on an exclusive EV solution is the president of Toyota. He vows to keep manufacturing fossil-fueled cars. As a result – who knows? – perhaps by mid-century EVs will have gone the way of the Edsel with Toyotas saving America from a totally embarrassing “Ryugyong moment!”