China’s push to replace petrol-engine cars with electric vehicles powered by coal-fired grids fuels fears of worsening pollution problem as the country’s switch to cleaner energy lags behind its “green” car market.
China’s drive to increase the uptake of electric vehicles to help reduce air pollution could have the opposite effect due to the reliance on coal-fired power generation, a study has found.
According to Tsinghua University researchers, electric vehicles charged in China produce between two and five times more polluting particles than petrol-engine cars. This means that China’s efforts to have eight times more electric vehicles on the road by 2020 than the current number could achieve the opposite result than the country hopes for, if the developments are not paired with an aggressive push for renewable energy generation.
“International experience shows that cleaning up the air doesn’t need to rely on electric vehicles,” said Los Angeles-based An Feng, director of the Innovation Center for Energy and Transportation. “Clean up the power plants.”