In his Nov. 6 letter, Jonathan Hayes advises against driving electric vehicles because their batteries contain cobalt, which is produced by child labor. In this age of politically driven disinformation, fact-checking is essential for making rational decisions as both consumers and voters. Contrary to the opinion of Mr. Hayes, most electric vehicle batteries contain no cobalt. For example Nissan uses widely sourced manganese, not cobalt, in the batteries for the Leaf electric vehicles, which it produces in greater numbers than any other electric vehicle manufacturer.
The choice between a gasoline-fueled vehicle and an electric vehicle, as a second vehicle for shorter range driving, is dependent on the driver's source of electricity and concern about the health and physical security of all children and adults, everywhere.
A University of Minnesota study, published in the National Academy of Sciences Journal, provides the essential facts. They are that about twice as many premature deaths, and the immense suffering that accompanies them, are caused by gasoline-fueled vehicles as are caused by electric vehicles, driven on clean energy. However, about twice as many deaths and related suffering are caused by electric vehicles driven on coal-fired electricity as are caused by gasoline-fueled vehicles over their respective life cycles.
So, I recommend driving an electric vehicle if you can charge its battery primarily with solar-, wind-, hydro- or geothermally generated electricity.
Corvallis (Nov. 27)