Leaf not so green, charges energy expert

zeroemmissions300Energy usage experts are challenging the green credentials of electric cars, suggesting that diesel might be the more environmentally friendly option.

Sust-it, which researches energy usage data published by manufacturers and government agencies, has used the National Energy Foundation’s formula to calculate that the CO2 emissions produced to generate the 173 Watts of electricity required for an electric Nissan Leaf to travel one kilometre equates to 94 grams. By way of comparison, the latest Renault Clio emits 83 grams of CO2 per kilometre.

That makes the diesel Clio more CO2 efficient by 206 kilograms a year, based on an annual mileage of 12,000 miles, says Sust-it. The electric Leaf costs £483 a year to run and the Clio £895 although Sust-it points out that the savings are mainly driven by tax differentials between the energy sources, rather than CO2 efficiencies in use.

However, in financial terms, the electric car has lower running costs and has the environmental benefit of zero tail pipe emissions, reducing city pollution.

Sust-it founder Ross Lammas says he was “completely surprised” by the findings and says: “The concept of zero emissions for electric cars needs to be corrected. A first step would be to clearly show the CO2 emissions produced in electricity generation, and then display this on the showroom energy labels and marketing material.”

This material is protected by copyright Ken Hurst 2013.

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About Ken Hurst

Ken Hurst began his career as a journalist in London over 30 years ago, working on a range of publications before moving on to weekly newspaper production in the newly-independent Zambia of the 1970s. He returned to the UK where his work included spells on newspapers and magazines, before moving to head up Norwich Union’s corporate affairs division. In the 1990s he moved on to freelance, co-own and publish the B2B audio magazine Sound and front the BBC radio Yesterday’s Papers programme. There followed six years as Business Editor at Britain’s biggest selling regional daily newspaper, The Eastern Daily Press, where he led an award-winning team and for whom he still writes a weekly socio/political comment column. Subsequently, he was Group Editorial Director at CBM, responsible for its UK and US magazine output – including The Manufacturer magazine – research-driven industry reports and live events content. Currently he is Contributing Editor at Works Management magazine publisher Findlay Media and Chairman of the consumer publishing house TNT Multimedia Ltd. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and of the British Association of Communicators in Business.
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