A study by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology has found that the process of manufacturing electric cars and creating electricity for them might create more pollution than petrol and diesel cars.
The study found that greenhouse gas emissions rose dramatically if coal was used to produce the electricity which powers the cars. Additionally the production processes and factories for electric cars were found to be more polluting, with the global warming potential being around twice that of diesel and petrol vehicle production, and the batteries used require toxic minerals such as nickel, copper and aluminium.
When electricity is produced by more carbon neutral methods then this would have a significant impact on the green credentials of electric cars, but the use of fossil fuels means that the benefits of lower emissions of the vehicles are outweighed by the electricity generation itself.
Over recent months initiatives to encourage the haulage industry to embrace electric vehicles have been put forward and many bus and transport companies are already using them. However the costs involved in overhauling a fleet can be large and if it offers no green advantage over diesel then many companies might delay switching over until production is improved.