Car batteries are like wine fridges: They’re never big enough. That’s a real problem for anybody who hopes that electric vehicles will help decarbonize the planet and reduce pollution.
Why it matters: EVs are extraordinarily heavy, and the larger their batteries, the heavier they become. That makes them more dangerous, increases pollution, minimizes decarbonization, and locks in a geopolitically fraught reliance on China.
The big picture: Hybrid vehicles that are electric most of the time but can fall back to an internal-combustion engine when needed are a much more efficient use of battery resources.
By the numbers: Toyota has what it calls the 1:6:90 rule. Its scientists have calculated that the amount of raw material needed to make a long-range EV could instead be used to make six plug-in electric hybrid vehicles or 90 hybrid vehicles.
“The overall carbon reduction of those 90 hybrids over their lifetimes is 37 times as much as as single battery EV,” they write.