Chinese Crisis in Rare Earth Metals – Afghanistan is Silicon Valley’s Savior

The Chinese, also possibly holding a grudge against the wily Japanese over WWII atrocities, is nonetheless set a daunting task, as the Big Three front runners in the EV race, the 2011 Nissan Leaf, the 2011 Chevrolet Volt and the 2011 Mitsubishi i-MiEV already have a good head start, with Toyota, famous for its Hybrid Prius, ranging up in fourth place thanks to the help of Tesla Motors, who are making their own vehicle, the Tesla Model S as well as in a partnership with Toyota to remake the Toyota RAV 4 into an EV. GM, with only a year’s worth of research, has decided to go the All-Electric route, taking a detour from the Range Extender concept with a fleet of vehicles coming out based purely on Lithium-ion Batteries, named the Chevrolet Cruze and GM Daewoo Lacetti Premiere. These are just test vehicles and GM debut them in Seole, South Korea for test driving purposes, the result of one years worth of R&D between engineering partners GM Daewoo, LG Chem, and LG Electronics. With a proven 100km range and 0-60 of about 8.2 seconds, this may be another hit on their hands.

China’s actions have caught the eye of the Americans and the Europeans, both at odds with each other, as their car brands compete for market share in China’s booming Economy as well as in each other’s Economy’s. Beijing silver tongue words of comfort spoken by Wen, China’s top Economic official, offer little comfort, especially as they are also constantly looking for more rare Earth Metals, even going as far as the ocean floor in their Jailong DSV (Deep Sea Submersible), most appropriate, as the word means “sea dragon” in Mandarin and as far as Afghanistan, a country in which the United States of America has discovered what is the equivalent of King Solomon’s Mines in our modern day as the country has untapped Rare Earth Metal resources inclusive of Lithium with Gold, Silver, Aluminum and possibly even Diamonds as a possible chasers to the intoxicating cocktail of Mineral wealth in a country controlled by the Taliban, possibly setting up the stage for a power play akin the Kurds and their land being in the richest Oil bearing regions of Iraq.

Japan switch to EV’s has implications for Jamaica as well. In Japan, the Government mandates hefty taxes for people keeping vehicles older than four (4) years old. Thus, with EV’s soon to be all the rage in Japan, even upstart carmaker Tesla is trying to cash in, opening up a showroom in Japan. This spells doom and gloom for the spare parts industry in Jamaica, as the last set of older vehicles needed for spare parts are being sold to the highest bidders, as after this years batch of cars up till about 2012, will be changed out for EV’s. Jamaica needs to act fast, as already we are beginning to feel the first signs of this change in the form of a chronic spare parts shortage that is making many consider getting out of the Used Part business altogether. Kent LaCroix, President of the Automobile Dealers Association (ADA) ploy for improving Diesel quality via an upgrade of the refining facilities at PetroJam due to the prevalence of Diesel vehicles in Europe carries no weight, as his comments recently suggest a more protectionist mentality seeking to maintain the status quo and not necessarily a genuine interest in moving technology forward, as Jamaica will also have to go EV by 2012, the latest, or face visages of vehicles parked, unable to move due to a lack of spare parts from Japan. In the US of A, a certainty of the coming of EV’s is the current installation of charging stations in earnest by Coulomb Electric in NYC (New York City) with plans to install 4,600 such chargers in Austin, Texas, Detroit; Los Angeles, New York; Orlando, Florida, Sacramento, California, the San Jose/San Francisco Bay Area, Redmond, Washington and Washington, D.C and can be easily located using downloadable apps for your Apple iPhone, Blackberry and Google Android phone, an excellent advertising tie-in: battery powered gadgets and a battery powered car.

Post Author: Lindsworth

Lindsworth is a Radio Frequency and Generator Maintenance Technician who has a knack for writing about his work, which is in the Telecoms Engineering Field. An inspired writer on themes as diverse as Autonomous Ants simulations, Power from Lightning and the current Tablet Wars.

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