Switching to EVs might not be in the planet’s best interest – ‘Hype closes minds’

GB News guests debate using electric cars

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A scientist has warned drivers that switching to an electric vehicle might not solve all of the planet’s emission problems. He added that “hype closes minds” leading to other areas of motoring research being overlooked.

Gill Pratt, the CEO of the Toyota Research Institute, told Autocar that “hype” rather than science is pushing the motoring world towards electrically powered vehicles.

Mr Pratt said: “No one has to take me seriously, of course.

“But what I try to do is to be as fact-based and as science-based as possible and talk about all the different sides of the issue.

“What I’ve learned is that hype is the enemy.

“It leads people to misperceive the trajectory of what’s going to happen and leads to bad decisions getting made.

“Hype closes minds. It leads to too much investment in one approach over another; and a hype cycle leads to disappointment when what was promised doesn’t transpire, which is bad for everyone.

“I accept that today, for some people, battery-electric is exactly the right answer.

“But independent research suggests that’s not true for everyone.”

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Mr Pratt also pointed out that the production of lithium-ion batteries does not come without consequences.

According to the expert, they are made using “rare, minded materials”.

Engines, on the other hand, are made using more common materials, Mr Pratt added.

On top of that, the scientist stressed that plug-in vehicles (PHEV) and battery electric vehicles (BEV) are not as far apart as previously thought.

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Mr Pratt said that “picking one over the other as the ultimate solution isn’t currently always the correct answer”.

The expert added that PHEVs might actually be a better choice in some circumstances.

Mr Pratt continued: “What I have a problem with is the correct solution being prescribed.

“The correct solution isn’t a single technology – or at least we can’t say that it is with any confidence today.

“I would rather see the technologies that make the most difference to the planet available and the technologies that could make the most difference to the planet being investigated with potential for real-world application.”

Mr Pratt continued: “We have to have an answer that reduces as much CO2 output as possible according to the region’s challenges, adapting as the answers change with time.

“That’s why BEVs aren’t the right answer for the whole world right now.

“They are for certain parts of the world but not everywhere.

“It’s right that everyone should be ambitious.

“But zero tailpipe emissions doesn’t mean zero emissions.

“What about the infrastructure? What about the power generation? What about the raw-material availability?”

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