Energy Fuels: Why the electric vehicle revolution needs a new, “clean” charge

April 29, 2016

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In a recent article on Energy Fuels Inc. (TSX:EFR,NYSEMKT:UUUU) President and CEO, Stephen Antony, discussed the sustainability-driven market dynamics influencing the transportation sector.

As quoted in the article:

The enthusiasm for electric vehicles (EVs) demonstrates that, even with crude oil and gasoline prices near six-year lows, clean power sources to charge these vehicles around the clock is needed.  In many parts of the U.S., these superficially “clean and green” EVs will be powered by fossil fuels, including coal.  That leads me to suggest that nuclear energy should have a larger role to play as utilities of the future power smart cities, including the development of EV charging infrastructure that is clean, reliable, and capable of meeting this new source of growing consumer demand.

While worries about range and price-point are subsiding thanks to innovation, the source of electricity for EV charging in most areas is not very green. And, that’s problematic. Even though carbon-free, emission-free nuclear energy accounted for approximately 20% of all electricity generated in the US in 2015 – with hydropower providing 6% and wind, solar, and geothermal providing another 6% – two-thirds of all electricity in the US is generated from fossil fuels. The question of whether EV’s are actually “green” or not has been examined in several sources including: a 2012 New York Times feature How Green Are Electric Cars? Depends on Where You Plug In; a 2014 study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory which showed that the environmental health impacts of powering EVs with coal is worse than simply staying with conventional gasoline; and a November 2015 Washington Post article entitled Electric Cars and the coal that runs them.

Clearly, if reducing air pollution, lowering CO2 emissions, and improving human health are catalysts for getting behind the wheel of an EV, we shouldn’t be powering these vehicles with fossil fuels.  If EVs are to be truly green, I would argue they should be charged with electricity generated primarily from nuclear power, since no other clean source of energy can provide large-scale, 24/7/365, “baseload” electricity.

As the media continues to “go gaga” over the massive amount of Tesla’s Model 3 pre-orders, it is critical that we pay increased attention to cleaner charging sources, such as nuclear power.  The demand for the Model 3 may have been the seismic event that spurs more innovation, lower prices, and more consumer demand, resulting in the sale of millions more next generation EVs.

So, at a time when a growing number of voices are calling for the end of the gasoline fueled internal combustion engine (ICE) by as early as 2025, EVs shouldn’t be saddled by fossil fuels.  In my view, our clean transportation future should be driven primarily by modern nuclear power, so the clean energy revolution is as clean as the public demands.

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Category: Energy