- Tram Ho
Risks from climate change
Electric vehicle manufacturers are racing to meet demand as the world limits emissions from vehicles. But climate change is also becoming an issue that closely follows the industry.
On August 22, the government of Sichuan province, China, continued to cut power to some manufacturing plants, as the most intense heat wave in more than 60 years was causing the reservoirs of hydroelectric dams to dry up. . Meanwhile, Sichuan is the source of about one-fifth of the country’s lithium production.
Last week, Volkswagen said its plant in the region was being affected by power shortages. As a result, delivery to customers will be delayed. Toyota and Chinese battery maker CATL have temporarily closed factories. Tesla and China’s SAIC Motor say it will be difficult for them to maintain production if power shortages continue to affect suppliers.
In Europe, drought is affecting the water levels of the Rhine, a waterway important to German, Dutch and Swiss commerce for centuries. Vessels are currently unable to move during the “hot water” time.
Although the downpour of rain over the weekend somewhat reduced the risk of disruption to diesel and coal shipments to power plants and industrial plants, Shell is still cutting output at its major oil production complex. most in Germany. In the German states of Brandenburg and Saxony, where Tesla and BMW operate car factories, authorities had to ask the military to help put out a number of wildfires this summer.
Many automakers consider climate change a risk factor in their business. For example, Tesla, the company warns that if a climate-related disaster occurs, its headquarters and production facilities could be severely damaged or may have to stop or delay production, transportation, etc. product transfer.
While well aware that climate change can affect production networks, companies do not always act in accordance with the severity of the hazards. Companies continue to build water-intensive production facilities in regions where water supplies are increasingly scarce.
Tesla is facing opposition in Germany for building a factory in an area with reduced groundwater levels and prolonged drought. The city of Fremont, California, where Tesla has been making electric cars for more than a decade, receives about 400mm of rain a year, less than half the US average. Tesla’s battery plant in partnership with Panasonic in Reno, Nevada, and Lucid Motors’ plant in southern Phoenix are both located in even drier regions.
Electric car company Lucid Motors plans to build several car factories near the Saudi city of Jeddah, where temperatures can reach 49 degrees Celsius in the summer.
Electric vehicle manufacturers take action
Several automakers including Tesla are equipping factories with devices that generate renewable energy. They also work to make manufacturing facilities run more economically, especially by reducing water consumption.
At its plant in Chennai, India, BMW collects water during the rainy season. This amount of water meets 60% to 90% of the plant’s annual water needs. In order to increase the rate of rainwater usage, many rainwater reservoirs are being built, a company spokesman said.
As demand for electric vehicles soars to reduce carbon emissions from vehicles, so has the rush to mine metals for batteries, including lithium.
This silvery-white metal is commonly found in open pit mines in Australia or South America. However, many experts fear that wastewater and toxic materials from the mining process could have a big impact. The raw materials are then shipped to Asia for processing. Until lithium was put into electric vehicle batteries, a lot of CO2 was released into the air. Miners are working to limit emissions from lithium production, but it’s still in its infancy.
Volkswagen has set up a facility in Germany to reuse 90% of battery components. Electric vehicle battery startup QuantumScape, backed by Bill Gates and Volkswagen, is working on solid-state batteries, a potential alternative to current lithium-ion battery technology.
Automaker Volkswagen is expected to sign an agreement with Canada to secure access to raw materials including nickel, cobalt and lithium for the production of vehicles and batteries.
Volkswagen said the low water level of the Rhine did not affect its production. The company’s crisis management team has proven adept at dealing with extreme weather events and challenges like the congestion of the Suez Canal. The company has also established a supplier management system to detect early signs of disruption and work with part manufacturers to fix it.
A spokesman said it was obvious that new challenges in the supply chain could only be managed when all acted together.
Source : Genk