I’m curious, what’s the environmental damage of this overall? These battery packs likely degrade, lithium has to be mined, etc. Natural gas also has a cost to mine, to burn (though if I recall, the off gases are co2 and water vapor, lower levels of NO2, etc)
Looking from the outside it looks like both options honestly may pollute or have the same environmental impact long-term. One is just a cost we don’t see immediately (or is don’t me in another country)
Not sure how you come to that conclusion. Lithium is not a fuel that is consumed in the process. It is a recyclable component. And there is no dangerous imbalance in the global lithium cycle. Which can't be said about the carbon cycle.
Just because every technology entails some environmental impact does not not mean all impacts are the same.
In theory, batteries are not currently recycled in any scale equivalent to these proposals. Plastic is also recyclable but most of it ends up in landfills due to it being uneconomical.
I do wonder (and a quick google search didn't turn much up) how the rates of industrial plastic recycling compare with consumer rates.
I hope Tesla has a plan for recycling the batteries they manufacture
They're already recycled at >50% https://www.pv-magazine.com/2019/07/12/lithium-ion-recycling... although there's still no need to recycle them in volume (since we are only starting to deploy Li-Ion batteries for EV and stationary storage, which last for more than a decade)
But lithium is only 5%* of the value of a battery, so it's the other 95% of the impact of battery production that matters.
* the market for mined lithium raw material may be worth $20 billion, compared with $43 billion for refined products and $424 billion for battery cells - https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-07-28/the-lithi...
Interesting, I had never thought of a "global lithium cycle" before – can you elaborate?
In other words, does Tesla saying they’re the better option than gas make it so?
Natural gas is extracted and then burnt. Because it is consumed it requires continual extraction, i.e. endless mining.
Furthermore, batteries are of course energy storage, while natural gas is generation. If you couple batteries with renewable energy generation (solar, wind, etc) you no longer require the use of an extractive fuel, nor do you incur combustion pollution costs. This has to be where we end up because it is the only sustainable way for us to operate. Better we get there sooner rather than later.
Tesla batteries put in cars are estimated to last 800-1000 cycles to 80% capacity.
Given these figures batteries add around 138g/kWh of CO2 on top of whatever source was used to charge them(say wind at 14g/kWh).
Meanwhile natural gas plants emit around 550g/kWh. The battery would have to last less than 250 cycles to match that.