More Mobility Less Mining
January 24, 2023 9:31 AM   Subscribe

This report [in English] finds that the United States can achieve zero emissions transportation while limiting the amount of lithium mining necessary by reducing the car dependence of the transportation system, decreasing the size of electric vehicle batteries, and maximizing lithium recycling. En español aqui.

Reordering the US transportation system through policy and spending shifts to prioritize public and active transit while reducing car dependency can also ensure transit equity, protect ecosystems, respect Indigenous rights, and meet the demands of global justice. 
posted by threementholsandafuneral (9 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
"Active transit" means biking and walking, right? Or do I totally misunderstand?
posted by humbug at 1:40 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]


It is clear that electric vehicles cannot be the only way we get ourselves out of our transportation related problems, environmental and otherwise, but at the same time it is also clear that in the US and Canada that is all we are going to be getting and even that will be on a much slower time frame than it ought to be.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 2:03 PM on January 24 [3 favorites]


...reducing the car dependence of the transportation system... prioritize public and active transit while reducing car dependency...

Well, duh.

EVs are good technology, but I'm so over people touting EVs as a one-for-one replacement for the gas/diesel-powered vehicle. And I'm even more done with those who maintain that self-driving vehicles are the solution to urban gridlock and safety concerns... fortunately they've gone a bit quiet now that the technological solutions aren't quite ready for prime-time.

The solution was never MOAR CARZ (or different cars). We need less cars in cities, period. Cities need to be designed for people, not people-in-cars.
posted by Artful Codger at 2:43 PM on January 24 [5 favorites]


And I'm even more done with those who maintain that self-driving vehicles are the solution to urban gridlock and safety concerns... fortunately they've gone a bit quiet now that the technological solutions aren't quite ready for prime-time

Everybody on a self driving EV heading downtown from the suburbs is no good. If self driving vehicles were usable as a solution you’d think they’d be part of the solution to get people from their homes to public transport trunks, and to provide a reasonable alternative for local transit in the suburbs.

Yeah the suburbs were a mistake but it’s what we have to deal with now, of course a lot of places are missing even the main lines of high capacity public transport, so not close to enough but we’ll need use every trick we can to solve this problem.
posted by WaterAndPixels at 5:50 PM on January 24


Skimming the TOC and a couple of most relevant-seeming pages: four transportation "scenarios" are referenced and compared, but I don't see those scenarios described in this text. Any idea where they are? Are they in there, but I just didn't find them yet?
posted by amtho at 10:12 PM on January 24


They do some grammatical trickery in the first few paragraphs, describing Lithium as the "most non-replaceable metal", making it sound as though Lithium is incredibly precious. However, it only means that in current battery chemistry, Lithium is always among the components. They do not mention that Lithium is one of the most abundant resources on earth.

This is continued with some fuzzy logic: (1) Lithium can be mined unethically, therefore (2) all consumers of EVs should be forced to make changes in their lifestyle. Why not just invest this society-changing force into making sure Lithium is mined ethically?

This is even before I come to my objection that it is counter-productive to argue against short term incremental change (EVs instead of gas-guzzlers) in favor of short-term unworkable fantasy-solutions (everybody suddenly and fundamentally changes their lifestyle and habits). We need both immediate incremental change and long-term societal change. People paying those against each other are not helping.
posted by patrick54 at 11:14 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]


If self driving vehicles were usable as a solution you’d think they’d be part of the solution to get people from their homes to public transport trunks
Unfortunately, it's known that park-and-rides do more harm than good towards our goals, since they act as encouragement & subsidy for car dependence more than they encourage use of public transit. They entrench the very thing we need to discourage. The space around the trunks needs to be dense and walkable instead of a parking lot. (And using self-driving vehicles instead of parking doubles the number of car trips, which is expensive.)
it is counter-productive to argue against short term incremental change (EVs instead of gas-guzzlers) in favor of short-term unworkable fantasy-solutions (everybody suddenly and fundamentally changes their lifestyle and habits).
Funny, I've always had the "incremental" and "fantasy" labels the other way around. Switching to EVs at effective scale is actually really hard even when there's enthusiasm, whereas humane road designs can be implemented one intersection at a time with benefits both acute and chronic. Put another way: it wouldn't make much of a difference to air quality or anything else if another 5% of cars in my city go electric, but it would be revolutionary to get rid of 5% of parking, or to de-prioritize cars & trucks on 5% of road miles, or to rearrange the road network so 5% of car trips had to use a circuitous route. (I guess one exception might be swapping out diesel buses for an electric solution in public transit, but even then there are major obstacles (e.g. battery size, range in the cold) that we don't necessarily have good solutions for.)

To me, this is one more element of the fact that reducing car use requires sticks as well as carrots. There is no path to success which doesn't involve frustration on the part of people who are car dependent because that frustration is necessary for many of them to change their behavior.
posted by daveliepmann at 2:07 AM on January 25 [3 favorites]


Unfortunately, it's known that park-and-rides do more harm than good towards our goals, since they act as encouragement & subsidy for car dependence more than they encourage use of public transit. They entrench the very thing we need to discourage. The space around the trunks needs to be dense and walkable instead of a parking lot. (And using self-driving vehicles instead of parking doubles the number of car trips, which is expensive.)

The idea would be that the vehicle doesn't stay there so there's no need for a parking lot, but you would need a design that allows dropping people off without clogging everything.

And if those vehicles are self driving and not privately owned/used the next trip doesn't need to be a return home, and you can do pooling of trips (2-3 person in a car is better than 1).

The thing that is interesting to me, is that using a coordinated autonomous fleet of vehicle you have a chance of providing reasonable on demand service, instead of that one bus that pass by each hour during peak traffic hours, which is the typical experience of trying to catch a bus in the suburbs and then you start getting people using public transit.

But even though if find the ides interesting, this is all science-fiction, cars don't have that level of autonomous driving, and the required public transits trunks don't often have the extra capacity to accommodate getting those drivers off the road.
posted by WaterAndPixels at 6:34 AM on January 25


An ebike provides better mobility than a car, due to the ebike being easier to park and requiring less time to enter and exit.  Also, you can build 300 ebikes with the batteries needed by one Tesla model 3, so car pooling and car shares never catch up. Anecdotally bike shares work better than car shares too.

Also: The Mordor Economy (Nate Hagens)
posted by jeffburdges at 11:29 AM on January 29


« Older The things that make us happy make us wise   |   "Hollywood Fireball" like no other Newer »


You are not currently logged in. Log in or create a new account to post comments.