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The Myth And Cost Of A ‘Green’ Electric Car

“Car makers, not environmentalists, are prematurely pushing electric cars. Car makers want electric cars because of the enormous subsidies they will generate. ”

When Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty announced last year that he would pay people to buy electric cars, he justified his decision as environmentally smart and industrially expedient. Worth as much as $10,000 (on the purchase, for example, of a Chevy Volt for roughly $40,000), Mr. McGuinty said the subsidy would put Ontario behind the wheel of “a green vehicle.” And it would create jobs.

In retrospect, it was embarrassing. Almost everyone knows that electric cars will be only as green as the power that drives them. And the jobs? According to one provocative new analysis, they will go mostly to China.

The Dog & Lemon Guide, which bills itself as “the world’s toughest car buyer’s guide,” has published a 168-page report, titled The Emperor’s New Car, a no-nonsense analysis of the coming environmental and industrial impact of electric cars. Edited by auto expert Clive Matthew-Wilson and screened by international scientific advisers, it documents both the green myth and the industrial mythology.

“The central premise behind the electric car movement – that electric cars will be powered from ‘green’ sources – is essentially wishful thinking,” it concludes. “… Globally, most electricity is produced using highly environmentally damaging sources and much of it is produced from fossil fuels.” Indeed, the report says, electricity will grow dirtier before it begins to grow cleaner.

The U.S. and Canadian governments have conceded the zero-emission mythology of electric cars. As Environment Minister Jim Prentice announced a couple of weeks ago, new Canada-U.S. auto standards recognize that electric cars will be as dirty as the power used to charge the batteries.

Notwithstanding this admission, the two countries will permit each car maker to count its first 200,000 electric cars as “emission-free vehicles” – essentially, a licence to lie.

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