Updated: May 27, 2019
The number of electric vehicles on the world’s roads are rising fast. Sales are growing at close to 75% a year, but do we know that use of child labour, in the extraction of minerals, like cobalt, used for making the batteries that power electric vehicles is undermining ethical claims about the electric cars.
Miners as young as seven were seen by researchers who visited nine sites including deep mines dug by hand using basic tools. Miners, the youngest of whom were earning as little as $1 a day, reported suffering chronic lung disease from exposure to cobalt dust.
Battery manufacture now accounts for 60% of the 125,000 tonnes of cobalt mined globally each year.
Electric car ownerships are rising fast. The International Energy Agency predicts that there will be 125 million in use worldwide by 2030.
Last year, 2.1 million new electric vehicles were sold worldwide. China is the world’s largest electric car market, accounting for 1.2 million - 56% of all electric vehicles sold in 2018. China also accounts for 99% of sales of electric trucks, buses, motorcycles and scooters.
The US came a distant second with 361,000 new electric cars sold in 2018, almost half of which were the new Tesla 3 model. In terms of market share, Norway leads the way - 49% of new cars sold were pure or hybrid electric.
The pressure to go green is increasing ,but the goal of zero-emission driving is still a long way off..