Nissan Calls “Bulls**t” on Electric Car Detractors

By Jacob Brown | December 05, 2011
There’s been a debate for sometime as to whether electric cars recharged by coal-fired power plants are dirtier than gas-powered equivalents. Nissan’s response to that claim: It’s “complete bulls**t.” Andy Palmer, the vice president at Nissan responsible for the worldwide rollout of the 2012 Nissan Leaf, spoke with the Sydney Morning Herald about the environmental friendliness of electric cars. Some studies have said in areas where all electricity is created by coal, gasoline-powered cars actually produce fewer emissions. But Palmer was quick to shoot back with information of his own.
“If all your electricity is created by coal, it’s a fact that the CO2 consumed at the level of the electric vehicle is lower than the level of the CO2 emitted by the equivalent gasoline car,” he said. “If you were to do that compared to a hybrid—so instead of a gasoline car you used a hybrid—it’s true that if you’re on 100 percent coal a hybrid emits lower CO2 than an electric car.” The fact remains, though, that no infrastructure in the world is powered exclusively though coal. Based on numbers using only using coal, a 2012 Mitsubishi iMiEV emits 0.46 pound of carbon dioxide per mile. But by obtaining electricity from a clean-burning coal plant, that figure could be cut down to 0.38 pound per mile, and hydro-electric power could bring that down to just 0.05 pound per mile. By comparison, a 2012 Toyota Prius emits about as much carbon dioxide as the iMiEV using clean-burning coal. Palmer says the next step is to influence legislators to use more green alternatives. He said that cutting down emissions, especially in bigger cities, will directly help solve respiratory problems created by smog and cars, claiming that 70 percent of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050. “The more they clean up electricity, the more compelling, the story is behind the electric car,” he said. Source: Sydney Morning Herald