Categories: Environment

This country judges that electric cars are not “zero emissions”

Two advertisements for electric cars have been banned in England due to a name deemed misleading.

Zero exhaust emissions, certainly, but not over the entire life cycle of the car. This is what the British Advertising Authority (ASA) says, which recently took action by censoring two internet adverts, from BMW and MG Motors respectively, for presenting their electric vehicles as being “zero emissions”, an assertion deemed misleading by the regulator.

The heart of the debate lies in the apparent paradox between the perception that electric vehicles produce no emissions when driven and the reality of the emissions generated during their manufacturing process as well as during the production of electricity that powers them.

BMW and MG singled out

According to the ASA, “When electric vehicles are driven, no emissions are produced”, but this assertion does not take into account the emissions generated during their manufacture or their recharging with electricity from the network. These clarifications were made following two decisions by the ASA. The ASA’s first decision concerns an advertisement broadcast on Google by the German manufacturer BMW, promoting its “zero-emission cars”. BMW justified the use of this phrase by invoking Google’s automatic keyword functionality, claiming that it was intended to target consumers who used these terms in their searches. However, BMW admitted that the “zero emissions” claim only applied to driving and committed to disabling Google’s functionality on these keywords.
The ASA’s second decision related to an advertisement from the British company MG Motor, also seen on Google, which highlighted “zero emissions” technologies. MG Motors quickly removed all references to the phrase from its advertisements, in response to the ASA’s reprimand.

More transparency on electric cars

These two ASA decisions were taken with the aim of preventing any confusion among consumers and ensuring transparent and truthful advertising. “It is common for cars, regardless of their fuel type, to be rated based on CO2 that they emit through their exhaust pipes »commented Colin Walker, head of transport for the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit think tank.

He described these decisions as“strange”pointing out that the British government itself recently set sales targets for “zero-emission vehicles”.

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