AS TRENDS MOVE TOWARDS ELECTRIC, WILL THE AGRICULTURE INDUSTRY JOIN THE BANDWAGON? WHY IS THERE A PUSH TO GO ELECTRIC?
With the new Administration’s interest in electric vehicles, it appears that the opportunity to explore the feasibility is here. Several of the U.S. auto makers have pledged to increase their production of electric vehicles over the next several years. Climate change is a big concern. By decreasing the number of fossil fueled vehicles, they hope to reduce the overall impact of greenhouse gases in the US. These vehicles are believed to be responsible for one-quarter of the country’s total emissions.
What will it take to bring this plan together? Infrastructure and buy-in from the consumers. Currently, the United States is lacking charging stations, and the placement hasn’t been networked to allow someone the opportunity to travel great distances. This will all change with time and money. The government has pledged dollars to make this happen. The real question: Is the consumer willing to entertain the higher sticker price to buy electric over fossil fuel?
As the United States looks to more electric vehicles, other countries are doing the same. This creates the concern of availability and the pricing of lithium for batteries. 92% of the world’s lithium comes from Argentina, Chile, Australia, and China. Can the power grid handle this uptick in electric use? This leads to the conundrum of going to electric to lower green-house gases, but power plants are fired by coal and natural gas, so are we really winning?
What does this all mean for the co-op and the producers it serves? Gas and diesel vehicles won’t be disappearing tomorrow so rest assured we will be here for your needs. As consumers look to electric to power their vehicles for their day-to-day travels, we to will be looking at opportunities to provide infrastructure to allow for the charging of those vehicles.
For the ag world, there will be many hurdles to cross before we see farm equipment crossing over to electric. Primarily, days on the farm are long and the loads on the equipment are heavy. There isn’t the opportunity to stop and charge the equipment and still have a productive day. The technology for electric equipment is new so it will be interesting for the coop to see where we fit into the future as it unfolds.