The Dangerous Lithium Car Battery and Why You Should Care

California fire crews use SIX THOUSAND gallons of water to extinguish burning Tesla Model S whose battery spontaneously combusted while driving down busy freeway.

  • Fire officials said that nothing was wrong with the car before it combusted 

Mustang picks up the facts of Lithium and why it is so dangerous.

As with all alkali metals, lithium is highly reactive and flammable.  It must be stored in a vacuum atmosphere or inert liquid (such as purified kerosene or mineral oil).

When cut, lithium exhibits a metallic luster.  When exposed to moist air, it corrodes quickly to a dull silvery gray color and then to a black tarnish.  Lithium never occurs freely in nature but only in ionic compounds, which were once the primary source of lithium.  Due to its solubility as an ion, it is present in ocean water and is commonly obtained from brines.  Lithium metal is isolated electrolytically from a mixture of lithium and potassium chloride.

The nucleus of the lithium atom verges on instability — because the two stable lithium isotopes found in nature have among the lowest binding energies per nucleon of all stable nuclides.  Thus, lithium is less common in the solar system because of its relative nuclear instability than 25 of the first 32 chemical elements (even though its nuclei are very light).  For these and other reasons, lithium has critical applications in nuclear physics.  In 1932, the transmutation of lithium atoms to helium was the first fully man-made nuclear reaction.  Lithium deuteride serves as a fusion fuel in staged thermonuclear weapons.

Lithium (and its compounds) has several industrial applications, including heat-resistant glass and ceramics, lithium grease lubricants, flux additives for iron, steel, and aluminum production, lithium metal batteries, and lithium-ion batteries.  These uses consume more than three-quarters of lithium production, and lithium is present in biological systems in trace amounts.  Lithium salts have proven helpful as a mood stabilizer and an antidepressant in treating mental illnesses, such as bipolar disorder and political leftism.

The foregoing helps us understand why major airlines do not want people taking lithium batteries aboard.  The flight may not end well.  And now we have an additional concern (as expressed by The Guardian’s Climate Justice Reporter, Nina Lakhani.  She recently reported that America’s transition to electric vehicles could require more than three times the current amount of lithium produced globally.  If this happens, Nina warns, the mining operation will cause “needless water shortages, indigenous land grabs, and ecosystem destruction inside and outside its borders.”

The problem is, according to Ms. Lakhani, that unless the American people reduce their dependence on automobiles, the transition to lithium battery-powered electric vehicles, according to the United Nations mandate (by the year 2050), will likely deepen global environmental and social inequalities linked to mining — and MAY even jeopardize the 1.5 Celsius global heating target.

Aside: I was unaware that the United Nations had imposed a mandate to shift from gas-powered to electric-powered automobiles.  I feel very uninformed. 

But all is not lost.  Ms. Lakhani assures everyone (in England) that ambitious policies forcing Americans to engage in mass transportation, develop walkable towns and cities, and develop robust battery recycling would slash the amount of extra lithium required by more than 90%.  This is exciting news, shared with Ms. Lakhani by the Climate and Community Project, University of California (Davis) — and the timing couldn’t be better because, thanks to the Presidency of Joe Biden, additional money has been made available for Inflation Reduction and Infrastructure Investment and Jobs.

Here’s the problem in a nutshell: the global demand for lithium so that everyone can have one or more electric-powered vehicles in their driveway (and the army, navy, air force, and coast guard can operate electric-powered military vehicles) is predicted to rise more than 40 times by 2040.  Of course, the hairball in our stomachs comes from the increase in lawsuits levied against lithium mining in the U.S., Chile, Serbia, and Tibet.  It won’t be long before the global community will no longer countenance America’s big cars, sprawling cities, and widely distributed bedroom communities.  The geopolitical authorities simply won’t stand for it.

Stay tuned for updated information about the likely effects of driving vehicles at high rates of speed while relying on unstable and highly explosive lithium hybrid engines.  Meanwhile, let us endeavor to contact our representatives in Congress and urge them to increase lithium production for mood-shaping medications and distribution among our left-inclined denizens.

As far as Lithium in the U.S.? Better to have it mined in in Africa by the kids.

A lithium mine in California?

The Salton Sea region has one of the world’s largest known reserves of lithium, enough to power batteries for more than 50 million electric vehicles within a few years. But first it must be extracted from hot geothermal brine loaded with toxic material, a process that’s never been done before at scale.Aug 31, 2022

The Fish and Wildlife Service said in listing the flower that the potential mining poses the biggest threat to the survival of the 6-inch-tall plant with yellow blooms at the only place it’s known to exist. It’s also threatened by road-building, livestock grazing, rodents that eat it, invasive plants and climate change, the service said.

The horrible truth about mining for E.V.’s


The worst of the swamp.

19 Responses to “The Dangerous Lithium Car Battery and Why You Should Care”

  1. Baysider Says:

    Excellent, Mustang. Everything is a tradeoff. Here, it seems to be my power for your freedom. Somethin’s got to give.

    Again I quote the very quotable Ann McElhinney on the result of real science and research, “we didn’t get out of the stone age because we ran out of stones.”

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Eric Says:

    Reblogged this on Calculus of Decay .

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Silverfiddle Says:

    Hopefully people are waking up to how ‘environmentally friendly’ cars are anything but.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. markone1blog Says:

    By the by, there are huge lithium deposits just off the coast of each of Japan, Russia, Alaska, and California. Guess who is ramping up to mine them (hint, their name rhymes with Japan).


  5. Mustang Says:

    Interesting: humans, who some of us believe were created by the Almighty, have become the target of leftists who want to save the earth, even if it means killing off tens of thousands of humans to do it. Wow.

    Liked by 3 people

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