The electric car revolution: Dr Coffey in History Today
Senior Lecturer Dr Dan Coffey has featured in History Today magazine's March edition, tracking the past and future of the global car industry, and its impact on consumer habits, politics and climate.
The History Today piece, titled ‘On the Road Again’, tracks the history of the car industry from the Ford Model T, the inception of the assembly line and mass production, through to the present day and the growing production power of Tesla’s electric cars. Dr Dan Coffey descibes the growing excitment of those who see the electric car industry harnessing this production power in ways similar to the Model T, while elimiating the C02 emitting engines of oil-dependent cars that are contributing to global climate change.
However, Dr Coffey brings to light the tensions that dependency on materials to create electric batteries, such as lithium, cobalt and nickel could create, and considers the threats of replacing crude-oil demand with extensive metal mining, to facilitate the growing demand for electric cars in different forms. Dr Coffey considers the existing evidence of the impact of such materials becoming vital currency in world affairs and points to the growing impact of metal mining on global geopolitics, the environment and human rights in ways not dissimilar to crude-oil.