Companies like Tesla have seen its stock price rise exponentially ever since the Google founders had invested in the fledgling company in 2009, although the Google founders also recently sold $4.4 billion worth of shares in 2015.
The hype of Tesla has been furthered in the media by its charming, eccentric, soft-spoken founder, Elon Musk, whom it is most likely, half of the global Venture Capital community has a mancrush on.
However, some serious things have to come into focus aside from the hype, and the primary reasons why battery powered electric cars are actually worse for the environment than gasoline cars have been carefully swept under the rug by the mainstream media.
Although battery-electric vehicles have been touted as a zero-emission car, it is actually powered by fossil fuels, either natural gas or shale gas, as that is where the electricity is ultimately derived from. Currently, America is in an energy transitory state, adopting the widespread use of shale gas to meet its energy demand. Shale gas is the gas that is derived from a hazardous environmental practice called hydraulic fracturing otherwise known as fracking - which is the process of injecting liquid at high pressure into subterranean rocks and into the ground so as to force open the existing fissures and extract oil and gas. This widespread phenomenon in America has lead to massive protests by residents whose health have been compromised by fracking in their neighbourhoods. U.K. residents have followed in protest after the Conservative Party's announcement of tax breaks for fracking in the U.K.
As a bit of background, in 2012, lawmakers, such as former Chancellor George Osborne was under pressure to quickly cut the national deficit and integrated a lot of the generous tax breaks to bring companies into the U.K. for fracking; however, this was before Toyota would give away all its hydrogen fuel cell technology patents in 2015 which would lead to the revolutionary development of U.K. companies to utilise this green energy technology, not only for cars but to power houses, electronic devices and possibly entire cities. There is no more reason for lawmakers and the Conservative Party to continue to support the fracking industry when there is a much better alternative that does not endanger the future of Britain's population.
Fracking leads to methane gas and toxic chemicals to leach out from the well and contaminate nearby groundwater and soil - which is then utilised for drinking water in local communities. Over 1000 documented cases of water contamination have been reported which have caused sensory, respiratory and neurological damage due to contaminated water. The Environmental Protection Agency reported 457 spills related to fracking in 11 states between 2006 and 2012. In 324 of those cases, the EPA said spills reached soil, surface water or ground water.
These environmental hazards have lead the former President Nicolas Sarkozy of France put a permanent ban on fracking in France, following the lead of Chancellor Angela Merkel, who put a ban on fracking in Germany in 2012, whereas American and U.K. legislators have been short-sighted in supporting these industries in a short term bid for cheap energy and have ignored these long-term hazards and potential effects for a quick profit and reduction in the national deficit.
In the Conservative Manifesto, Prime Minster Theresa May says:
The discovery and extraction of shale gas in the United States has been a revolution. Gas prices have fallen, driving growth in the American economy and pushing down prices for consumers. The US has become less reliant on imported foreign energy and is more secure as a result. We believe shale energy has the potential to do the same thing in Britain and could play a crucial role in rebalancing our economy...We will therefore develop the shale industry in Britain.
In fact, this statement is inaccurate. Shale gas has not balanced the American economy, nor has it stopped the American economy from steadily declining due to its numerous foreign interventions, lack of social programmes and its continual rising deficit and inflation of the dollar. The extraction of shale gas from fracking has been a short-sighted attempt to make a quick buck for shale gas companies at the price of long-term environmental hazards that have been slowly poisoning its communities and has lead to increased instability in the earth - leading to numerous documented earthquakes and could lead to a future in which uranium poisoning in our food and water sources could become a dangerous reality.
America is a widespread land - 9.835 million km2 in comparison to Great Britain's 242,495 km2, over 40x the size of the U.K. What the effect of fracking will have on such a smaller land size as the U.K. will not lead to a stronger, prosperous, more stable Britain - but the fracturing of land, poisoning of its people, and ultimately instability in the land, potentially leading to massive disruptions in the natural ecosystem, in addition to potential radiation poisoning from uranium, a key component in fracking. These are long-term effects that will have consequence in 20-40 years time if fracking is to continue to England. However, the companies and the politicians that are profiting from this short-term bid for cheap energy won't be around then to see the damage they have caused. Perhaps the politicians who are still continuing to support fracking in the United States and Great Britain will have comfortably retired in the South of France, where fracking is outlawed.
In the near future, the greatest and most expensive resources will be clean air and water, and these are what the people of the U.K. will be deprived of if we were to follow the Conservative Party Manifesto to support the fracking industries.
Moreover, shale gas is not "cleaner" than coal according to scientists and researchers, it has more insidious, toxic effects that will seep underground, as chemicals, such as uranium among hundreds of others, leak through the earth, poisoning the food and water supply, and wreaking havoc on the natural stability of the land - causing earthquakes and possibly destroying all the beautiful countrysides of England that the U.K. is known for.
But the quest to find a power source for Britain to become self-sufficient has been an elusive one, but the solutions are currently already being implemented and developed at universities such as Imperial College, UCL and also U.K. startups such as Arcola Energy and Intelligent Energy.
Arcola Energy utilises hydrogen and fuel cell solutions to the energy demand that bypasses the need to be dependent on fossil fuels, as Tesla's battery electric vehicles are dependent on electricity generated from gas.
"People think, Oh, well, I’ll just get an electric car. There are places where if you buy an electric car, you’re actually increasing CO2 emissions, because the electricity infrastructure is emitting more CO2 than you would have if you’d had a gasoline-powered car." - Bill Gates
Arcola Energy changes the electricity infrastructure because it is self-sufficient on hydrogen fuel cells. Hydrogen fuel cells were originally developed in Japan under Toyota, and in 2015, Toyota made their hydrogen fuel cell patents free to use.
Hydrogen fuel cells work by combining hydrogen and oxygen through cathodes in a reaction which generates electricity in which the only byproduct is water. Fuel cells produce an electric current that can be directed outside the cell to power an electric motor, mobile phones, illuminating a light bulb or an entire city.
Hydrogen fuel cell cars utilise nickel-metal-hydride batteries (NiMH) that have no byproducts of lead, cadium, mercury nor sulfuric acid. Hydrogen fuel cells are authentic green energy that do not require the dangerous procedures in fracking, and does not emit harmful greenhouse gases as coal and shale gas nor utilise corrosive electric batteries produced from lead acid or battery acid.
Hydrogen fuel cells cars are electric vehicles that do not utilise corrosive batteries. Batteries produced from lead acid, cadmium or mercury are highly toxic and have environmental hazards as battery acids from these release toxic substances. Tesla utilises electric batteries made from lead-acid which releases sulfuric acid as a byproduct. Recently, Tesla recalled all of its vehicles sold in 2016: 53,000 model S and model x electric battery cars over a "faulty parking brake," however reports point to a problem with their electric battery.
In addition, there is another rising, wayward problem with lead-acid electric batteries aside from the logistics of electric power: in the U.K., there has been an alarming rise of attacks using sulfuric acid by gang members in which "acid attacks" have grown 250% in the last year alone that deem attention.
In India, where acid attacks are the most common, the perpetrators are men who have been spurned by women and use these acid attacks to disfigure and shame women. In Britain, the majority of acid attacks are carried out by British while males against other British white males in gang warfare because many of these cases do not reach the court; and unlike guns and knife attacks, acid attacks do not have heavy legislation behind them, making these attacks have less consequences than attempted murder.
These perpetrators purchase sulfuric acid or bleach or extract the sulfuric acid from discarded lead-acid electric batteries from cars to produce the corrosive acid to target their victims. These dangerous substances should be controlled and banned in the U.K. due to their growing use amongst disenfranchised neighbourhoods in order to curb a dangerously growing epidemic appearing in British society.
The byproducts of electric lead acid batteries are corrosive substances that lead to environmental waste and are not "green" technology, yet this is what the Conservative Party wants the people of Britain to accept with open arms, with their push towards fracking and battery electric vehicles when there already exists green technology that can make the U.K. completely energy self-sufficient within 10 years: hydrogen fuel cells.
By Sierra Choi