The “elephant” in the room of rechargeable batteries is the EV. The, Tesla battery weighs in excess of 1,000 pounds, while the iPhone battery is only 0.026kg. California already has 50% of the EV’s in America. To meet former California Gov. Jerry Brown’s executive orders to push the state toward having 5 million electric cars on its roads by 2030 would mean there will be 5 BILLION pounds of lithium-ion batteries just in California.
The key minerals used in today’s batteries are cobalt of which 60% is sourced from one country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and lithium of which more than 50% is sourced from the Lithium Triangle in South America, which covers parts of Argentina, Bolivia and Chile. Today 20% of cobalt is mined by hand. Amnesty International has documented children and adults mining cobalt in narrow man-made tunnels, at risk of fatal accidents and serious lung disease.
The mere extraction of the exotic minerals cobalt and lithium used in the batteries of EV’s present social challenges, human rights abuse challenges, and environmental challenges.
AB 735 would have held major EV automakers accountable for their supply chain integrity while building those cars. Defeating the bill was our lawmakers’ way to encourage continued exploitation of labor and environmental conditions by automobile manufacturers who make a healthy profit off of selling EV’s with “dirty batteries.
Today’s lawmakers may be reluctant to lay the hammer down on the automobile industry and force them to be transparent in the supply chain for those rechargeable batteries, but the buyers, with two laws already on the books for Transparency in the Supply Chain, California’s SB657 and the Federal HR4842, are presented the opportunities for class action lawsuits against those manufacturers who continuously fail to comply with current laws.
However, since California is the 5th largest economy in the world, the policies and decisions made in California may be promoting and sanctioning these crimes through the purchase of goods and products that have been tainted in the supply chain.