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Hybrid Cars Gobbling Up Rare Earth Metals: Shortages Looming

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posted on Sep, 27 2009 @ 08:34 AM
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Looks as if companies are going to have to increase mining the Earth for rare earth materials to satisfy the consumer hunger for 'Earth friendly' vehicles.

As hybrid cars gobble rare metals, shortage looms


The Prius hybrid automobile is popular for its fuel efficiency, but its electric motor and battery guzzle rare earth metals, a little-known class of elements found in a wide range of gadgets and consumer goods.

That makes Toyota's market-leading gasoline-electric hybrid car and other similar vehicles vulnerable to a supply crunch predicted by experts as China, the world's dominant rare earths producer, limits exports while global demand swells.

Worldwide demand for rare earths, covering 15 entries on the periodic table of elements, is expected to exceed supply by some 40,000 tonnes annually in several years unless major new production sources are developed. One promising U.S. source is a rare earths mine slated to reopen in California by 2012.


Some little known facts on the Prius.


Toyota has 70 percent of the U.S. market for vehicles powered by a combination of an internal-combustion engine and electric motor. The Prius is its No. 1 hybrid seller.

Jack Lifton, an independent commodities consultant and strategic metals expert, calls the Prius "the biggest user of rare earths of any object in the world."

Each electric Prius motor requires 1 kilogram (2.2 lb) of neodymium, and each battery uses 10 to 15 kg (22-33 lb) of lanthanum. That number will nearly double under Toyota's plans to boost the car's fuel economy, he said.

Toyota plans to sell 100,000 Prius cars in the United States alone for 2009, and 180,000 next year. The company forecasts sales of 1 million units per year starting in 2010.




posted on Sep, 27 2009 @ 10:01 AM
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Easy answer (oh, wait- NASA wont do it, and no one wants to step up to the plate)

MINE. The. Asteroids. MINE. The. Moon. There's an entire *bleep*ing massive wealth of material, metal, and supplies out there- and What are we doing? Whine. Complain. Wah wah wah. China wont give up stuff.

Oh, wait. I'm sorry. It's much more interesting and fun to have drama by playing these games.

[edit on 27-9-2009 by wylekat]



posted on Sep, 27 2009 @ 11:48 AM
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this is yet another example of the futility of trying to maintain the two-car per family status of the USA that I have for so long been critiquing.

The time is rapidly approaching where we begin to realize, collectively, that the notion that there is enough resources and sinks (places to put pollution) is dispelled.

The solution is not a new fuel type, be it electricity, hydrogen, or bio-fuel, the true solution is mass transportation.

while there will always be independent vehicles their numbers will undoubtedly be forced to dwindle.

This is unfortunate for the USA whose development was based so soundly on the use of the automobile. The massive sub-urban sprawl we created in this nation is going to be a major challenge in the future as we are forced to comply with the limits of the planet.

Everything what we make as a species is created from raw materials that are finite. Be they renewable or non-renewable they are all finite. This means that as long as we continue to focus on progress as increased production we will always be running into the limits of what is physically possible.

Mass-transportation removes the exponential creation of new vehicles, fuels, and wastes.

As much as I know people do not like the idea it is what I personally consider to be the most logical solution to the issue at hand. There is no need to wait for the creation of 'new' technology we simply begin investing in the infrastructure and using it.



posted on Sep, 27 2009 @ 12:57 PM
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Mass transpo ensures mass waste of fuel and metals. It goes where you don't work, when you don't work, even if you don't go that day. It goes and goes, and we bicycle commuters watch the empty windows as the busses pass.

The real answer: live where, or within walking/biking distance, of where you work.

Commuting of any kind is the oldest sucker game on Earth.

Mine the moon. Mine the asteroids. But the fact is, as the OP stated, hybrids are a sucker profit game by Big Auto that do NOTHING to reduce carbon dioxide (more coal is burned to charge batteries) and suck up TONS of toxic materials. Do the math: if you make electricity, there are resistance and radiation losses at every step. Direct application of power (internal combustion) is more efficient and uses less resources.

Kei cars, golf carts like Tesla, motorized bikes for folks too old to pedal. Bikes for tough guys like Lance Armstrong. That's the future.


[edit on 27-9-2009 by Chakotay]



posted on Sep, 27 2009 @ 03:13 PM
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Originally posted by Chakotay
Mass transpo ensures mass waste of fuel and metals. It goes where you don't work, when you don't work, even if you don't go that day.


Sorry but in comparison to the current automobile dominated system it is MUCH more efficient.

Having studied TOD (transit oriented development) at the graduate level I can assure you of this fact.



It goes and goes, and we bicycle commuters watch the empty windows as the busses pass.


Bikes are AWESOME. I was a biking commuter up until this past May. Still I took a 55 minute commuter train into the city and THEN rode my bike. It is all about linking the various elements of our villages, towns and cities and using the appropriate types of transit to accommodate those situations.

We recently past the tipping point where more people are living in urban than sub-urban or rural environments and in such cases mass-transit is highly effective.



The real answer: live where, or within walking/biking distance, of where you work.


In the USA this is much more difficult than you make it sound.

As I pointed out the USA developed around the car and is comprised of a massive amount of sub-urban spaces which surround our urban areas. As a general rule there is nothing within walking distance to the average sub-urban home other than a quikie-mart. In such cases a proper bus line or even commuter rail (dependent on the size of the community at hand) is massively helpful at getting these people closer to the things they need and where they can 'walk and bike'.



Commuting of any kind is the oldest sucker game on Earth.


Yes. But it is also the standard for many in the usa.



Mine the moon. Mine the asteroids. But the fact is, as the OP stated, hybrids are a sucker profit game by Big Auto that do NOTHING to reduce carbon dioxide (more coal is burned to charge batteries) and suck up TONS of toxic materials. Do the math: if you make electricity, there are resistance and radiation losses at every step. Direct application of power (internal combustion) is more efficient and uses less resources.


Amen.




[edit on 27-9-2009 by Animal]



posted on Sep, 27 2009 @ 03:44 PM
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reply to post by Animal
 


I agree trains are appropriate for inter-urban, interstate, and intercontinental transport of people and goods. Especially if a long-range train has car-carrier cars, like ferries, as on the chunnel.



posted on Sep, 28 2009 @ 02:04 AM
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Everything has a catch22 if Toyota or anyone for that matter wanted to make a efficient vehicle they would have contacted this company.We know real useful technologies are left behind and ignored for corporate profits to be maintained like with tesla.

[edit on 28-9-2009 by SimpleKnowledge]



posted on Sep, 28 2009 @ 03:03 AM
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Looks like china wins again,

They are the source for 93 per cent of the production of so-called ''rare earth'' elements - and more than 99 per cent of the output for two of them that are vital for a wide range of green energy technologies and military applications like missiles.
www.theage.com.au...

Wonder why the liberals want to turn the would over to the Chinese with there go green program.

The worst part is china wants to ban exports of rare earths.
that will stop the Green movement dead in there tracks.
paul.kedrosky.com...
www.businessgreen.com...
www.surfingtheapocalypse.net...



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