The newsLINK Group - How Much Copper Does That Electric Car Need

Editorial Library Category: Mining Topics: Copper, Electric Car Title: How Much Copper Does That Electric Car Need? Author: newsLINK Staff Synopsis: The U.S. has begun a great transition in the automotive industry. Whether it be to decrease our dependence on foreign oil or lessen our current emission problems, hybrid cars are taking over the roads — one model at a time. Editorial: How Much Copper Does That Electric Car Need? 4064 South Highland Drive, Millcreek, Utah 84124 │ │ (v) 801.676.9722 │ (tf) 855.747.4003 │ (f) 801.742.5803 Editorial Library | © The newsLINK Group LLC 1 A Changing Game The U.S. has begun a great transition in theautomotiveindustry. Whetheritbeto decrease our dependenceon foreign oil or lessenour currentemissionproblems, hybrid cars are taking over the roads — onemodel at a time. Or maybe we can thank the cost of fuel for that. Gas prices have spiked again. Whenyou showup at thepump andend up payingmorethan$3.50pergallon,the good old days when gas cost less than a buck seemsurreal. There’swidespread cynicism about how arbitrary the price of gas is, andweall knowthat thebigoil companies are making money. New Solutions Providing New Choices Tosolvetheproblemswithconventional gas engines, new choices in engines are increasingly present on the roads. Gas- electric hybrids have become more common, but electric cars also show promise. Ads made by companies like Nissan are openly saying that electric cars like the Nissan Leaf are simply better than those powered by gas. Ford is targeting its ads to the people who are most likely to buy new technology. Stations where you can fuel electric cars are more common, too. Federal funding resulted in the installation of more than 3,000 stations across the country. According to a report published at the end of August 2013, California now has 5059 electric fueling stations. Three years ago, Washington, Oregon, Texas, Illinois, Connecticut and Florida had between 21 and 50. Today, the numbers are much higher: Connecticut: 200 Florida: 983 Illinois: 517 Oregon: 916 Texas: 1629 Washington: 1315 You can drive today from the Canadian border to the Oregon border on I-15 and find stations placed strategically along the way every 40 to 60 miles. Utah has 70, including six in Salt Lake City, Utah, that were installed in early 2011. There are now 19,185 electric charging stations in the U.S. Not only has the number of public charging stations increased, people can also charge their cars at home. Charging a car at home is called level 1, and it uses a standard 120V outlet with three prongs. Level 2 electric charging, which uses 240 V, is available at charging stations. Level 3 is not always available, but the voltage is higher and the recharge time is significantly shorter. Something even more promising than batteries is being developed for electric cars: a fuel cell. Likea battery-powered electric car, one with a fuel cell doesn’t haveemissions and is twice as ef fi cient as a traditional engine. It makes electricity by combining hydrogen and oxygen electrochemically. Fuel cells are flexible; you can operate them with hydrogen-rich fuels such as gas, natural gas, methanol, or ethanol, but you can also use pure hydrogen. Projections indicate that the number of electric or gas- electric hybrid cars on the road is going to increase. Some estimates, in fact, say you can plan on seeing a billion of these cars by 2025. A more conservative estimate calculates that 3.8 million electric or hybrid cars could be on the road as early as 2020 … a date that gets closer every day. Copper Mining and Recycling All of this is good news for the copper mining and recycling industries. Conventional cars have an average of 55 pounds worth of copper alloys and copper in them. For electric cars and electric hybrid cars, which rely on electricity as the main source of energy, the number is higher. For example, an electric Ford Ranger has about two times as much copper in the wire harness and connectors as a conventional Ford Ranger harness. Each car has between 12 and 25 pounds of copper magnet wiring. For cars that use AC induction motors instead of DC, an inverter (with eight to tenpoundsworth of copper and copper alloys) powers the conversion between the DC batteries and the AC motor. Additionally, some electric systems replace hydraulic ones throughout the car. Power steering, brake systems, heating, and air conditioners are increasingly