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If you are wondering where all the negativity about electric cars is coming from, that probably means you don’t spend every moment of the day filling your cranial cavity with detritus from Faux News. If you did, you would be treated to a constant barrage of stunningly stupid nonsense from people who should know better but cannot resist the lure of an outlet for their baseless claims.

Exhibit A today is a screed by Bryan Dean Wright, a former CIA operations officer and host of his own eponymous podcast, “The Wright Report.” He told Fox News Digital that electric vehicles pose environmental problems, national security issues, and compromise the safety of drivers, making them a less than desirable alternative to gas powered vehicles.

Oh, Those Dirty Electric Cars!

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Wright said that one of the most important things to consider when buying an electric vehicle is whether it is actually green. It is his belief that they are actually quite “dirty.” Starting with their batteries, he explained that thousands of pounds of minerals, including cobalt, lithium, and nickel from all around the world have to first be extracted. The Congo, which Faux News does not seem to realize is now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is the source of 70% of the world’s cobalt. Of that, about a third comes from miners who are “mostly kids,” Wright said. “That is a horrific thing, imagining these child miners pulling this stuff out of the ground to make our green cars go, but that is true. Also, we know about the 19 cobalt mines in the Congo, 15 of them are controlled by the Chinese government or a Chinese entity.”

Don’t you find it interesting that right wing extremists applaud putting twelve-year-old kids to work in the US and have passed laws to limit the amount of breaks they can get but are worried sick about “kids” in the DRC? Hypocrisy is pretty much the norm for these people.

Next Wright informs us that the lithium needed for the batteries of electric cars comes mostly from Australia, but a large amount also comes from the Atacama Desert in South America. The lithium mining process is problematic for the region because the land is extraordinarily dry, but lithium extraction requires up to 500,000 gallons of water to produce a single ton. “We are removing the one critical resource by a lot of those indigenous folks down there, so we can have our green and clean car,” he said.

Wright claimed that water has caused tension in the region between governments, mining companies, and locals, especially indigenous people, about how the water should be used. Apparently he is blissfully unaware of what is happening this very moment in the American Southwest.

Nickel is another raw material that causes problems because it is needed to make batteries for some electric cars. Much of it is extracted and refined in Indonesia. Wright says there are two ways to mining nickel. One requires coal-fired furnaces, which he said is damaging to the Indonesian environment and its people; the second is through chemical extraction using sulfuric acid which needs to be disposed of either in tailing ponds or dried and stacked.  Both pose environmental problems, he claims.

The exploitation of child labor and environmental damage attributable to mining raw materials for electric car batteries are bad enough, but then, the minerals are sent to China, where about 80% of those raw materials are refined, Wright points out ominously.

The Knock On Electric Cars Gets Worse

V2G electric cars
Credit: Evan Krape, University of Delaware

“But that’s just the beginning,” Wright said. “We haven’t even gotten into the car to start to drive. So imagining we get into that car, we have a few different concerns. First, we’ve got a national security concern — that car is basically a computer on wheels. So as that thing drives, it’s going to both get things downloaded to it or you’re going to upload stuff to whatever your car manufacturer might be. That opens up a major vector to be hacked or otherwise controlled,” he warned. “Things” and “stuff” are apparently terms of art that highly trained CIA agents use to talk to each other when describing national security risks.

To illustrate his point, he referred to a plan by Ford Motor Company in March 2023 when the company filed for a patent that would use self-driving capabilities to repossess a vehicle if an owner becomes delinquent on their loan. He warned that in the future, people might not actually be in control of their vehicle, leaving them at the mercy of hackers or their car company.

Wright went on to say that China owns the EV industry and the “dirty green world. We know that they own a lot of the mines  — whether it be nickel or cobalt in places like Africa, India, Indonesia — they control about 80 percent of the refining of those minerals for the batteries,” he said. “But then if you start looking at the manufacturing, what Beijing has done is they are subsidizing the companies that create these vehicles,” and “because they’ve got those subsidies, they can create really, really cheap cars,” he added. “Really, really cheap cars” is more high level CIA-speak reserved for top echelon security officers, apparently.

Wright said the Chinese Communist Party is subsidizing the EV companies (it’s perfectly OK to subsidize oil and methane production, though) because they’re trying to de-industrialize Europe and the US. “They’re trying to crash our economies by flooding the market with very, very cheap products so that we can’t compete, whether that be because of our labor costs or environmental rules or otherwise, We are already seeing this, as a lot of Chinese companies are now moving their production to Mexico to try to then flood the North American market.” Once again, “a lot” is another technical term that CIA officers frequently use among themselves in classified briefings.

Wright said the US is going to lose some of its own manufacturing plants if the government doesn’t either impose tariffs on Chinese EVs or block them from entering the US market through Mexico. “It is just one more reason why it’s crazy to allow China to engage in the world economy in the way that we do,” he said. “China absolutely is dominating this industry, and they will continue from batteries to solar panels to these EVs, and you will watch factories in this country shut down because of it.”

On The Highway To Hell

Wright also said coal powers EV production in China and pointed out that the nation uses slave labor in regions like Xinjiang and elsewhere. “You’ve got people who are living in concentration camps forced to build out the infrastructure for these EVs. We should stand up and say that it’s wrong. We should block this stuff from ever coming into the United States.” We should also stand up to laws that prohibit giving water breaks to outdoor workers, but it’s OK for US states to do things like that because most of those workers have dark skin and should just go back where they came from anyway.

“We need to be pointing out the hypocrisy of, gosh, we’re creating dirty green EVs using coal or cobalt from the Congo and child labor, but it’s also true that they’re using concentration camp labor,” he said. “All of this has to be a part of the conversation for when people walk into that dealership. What am I really buying?”

In addition to the fact that EVs are a national security concern, Wright said they have also proven to be less safe on the road and more expensive to maintain when compared to their gas-powered counterparts. “Now we’re driving down the road, nobody’s hacked us yet, and we have a couple of other concerns to think about. One, this car is very heavy. Much, much heavier than a traditional vehicle and that means that your tires are gonna wear down about 20 percent faster than a gas powered vehicle. That’s going to cause more damage, obviously, for your pocketbook as you have to replace your tires. It’s also going to cause a lot more damage for the roads and the bridges.”

Wright also said electric cars are a lot more dangerous than a gas- or diesel-powered vehicle, simply because of the weight of the batteries. He explained that EVs are so much heavier than gas-powered cars, that there is up to a 47% higher chance of a driver dying if they crash an EV or are hit by an EV, according to data from the National Bureau of Economic Research. a right wing nonpartisan think tank.

Despite increasing EV criticism, the Biden White House has continually touted electric vehicles as the way forward, releasing a fact sheet on Wednesday that announced public and private commitments to support America’s historic transition to electric vehicles. President Biden plans to have 50% of all new vehicle sales be electric by 2030. The administration states the commitment by the government and private companies will “spur domestic manufacturing, strengthen supply chains, boost U.S. competitiveness and create good-paying jobs.”

National Security

Wright, however, believes the US should be wary of electric cars and the national security risk they pose if China is allowed to dominate the industry. “At the end of the day, EVs are not just about the environment, it’s about national security, and if we allow China to dominate this industry, as we have, and then allow them to flood our markets … this is going to not just be a problem about climate change, this is going to be an economic disaster, and we need to be honest and talk about it,” he said. “So I sure hope that that’s why folks understand why I’m so interested in it, why I’m so passionate about it.”

“As a former CIA officer, I care about national security (like the rest of us schlubs don’t) and this is one of those vectors where Beijing is using it to try to weaken us and ultimately destroy us, and while we can be agnostic, like it or not, in terms of the EV infrastructure or the cars themselves, there is a national security component to this, and we need to talk about that,” he said.

The Takeaway

Why did we take the time to share this screed from an avowed Trumpie and ex-CIA staffer with our readers? Because when we come across people like this in our daily lives, their statements are so blindingly false and filled with innuendo and half truths that we are often at a loss for words when we try to respond. To protect you from those embarrassing  moments when you just don’t know what to say, here is your chance to practice your witty ripostes in advance.

Simply read the words (making allowances for his bad syntax and awkward sentence structure) in Wright’s diatribe and craft an appropriate response or two in the comments section. Try it and see if you don’t feel better afterwards. Consider it anti-dork training. There is no additional charge for this service from your friends at CleanTechnica.

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