If everyone switches to EVs, won’t we just be replacing our petroleum problem with a lithium ion battery problem?

Lithium replaces a staggering range of toxic and damaging  substances--fracking fluids, refinery pollution, crude oil  leaks, gasoline and diesel fuel, MTBE and other additives,  oil lubricant, transmission fluid, grease, lead batteries,  and vehicle air pollutants in the form of particulates, NOx,  VOCs, and  greenhouse gases. Also, electric vehicles tend to  use electromagnetic brakes so energy can be recovered,  reducing the use and general dispersion of hazardous  asbestos on and near roads.

It is also important to put the lithium in perspective. Lithium  itself is only about 1% to 2% of the weight of a lithium  battery. Also, unlike a lead battery where the lead is  exposed to the outside through the posts, posing a direct  hazard to the environment and anyone who handles it, the  lithium is sealed inside the unit and does not get regularly  exposed to the elements when in use.

The potential indirect and direct adverse effects of lithium  batteries should be mitigated by converting the electricity  to clean and renewable sources, reducing driving, more  efficient electric vehicles (equivalent to better mpg--this  is too often overlooked), better and safer lithium battery  design, and recycling the materials. 

http://blog.ucsusa.org/josh-goldman/electric-vehicles-batteries-cobalt-and-rare-earth-metals

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It is anticipated that EV demand for lithium ion batteries won’t exceed demand for other lithium ion battery uses until 2022: