Electric cars dominating the Paris Motor Show is a sign of the times

Publication date: 30th September 2016

These announcements come one year after the Dieselgate and the recent study by Transport & Environment (1) that shows all diesel car brands in Europe are even more polluting than Volkswagen.This week, the World Health Organization (WHO) released data which shows that 92% of the world’s population live in places where air pollution exceeds safe limits.

Greenpeace Air Pollution campaigner Areeba Hamid said:
“The fact that leading car makers have put electric cars front and centre at one of the industry’s most high-profile events shows they’re feeling the pressure from widespread concerns about air pollution. But to turn the automotive sector around we need a lot more than a PR blitz. Manufacturers need to start seriously planning for transport without fossil fuels whilst phasing out diesel cars which are still rolling off the production line ready to break pollution limits. Governments also have a crucial role to play in getting diesel cars off our streets and helping people to make the switch to cleaner cars and public transport.”

When asked about the emission scandal and after posing in front of a Mercedes EQ Electric car, Head of the German car giant, Dieter Zetsche, said:
“This continues to be a key issue even though at this moment in time everyone is talking about NOx. We are seeing a highly emotional, political and illogical kind of discussion, but when you look at the facts and the technological potential, it would be absolutely stupid to forego the potential that diesel provides” (2).

Responding to these comments, Areeba Hamid said:
“This is far from being a fantasy argument. Thanks to pollution from diesel cars children are now developing asthma and people’s lives are being cut short by lung cancer and other diseases from breathing dirty air. Mr. Zetsche should read the latest WHO report which points out air pollution is currently the fourth highest risk factor for premature deaths on the planet”.

The Paris auto show is being held in a city where radical plans to ban diesel cars by 2020 have been announced  as part of an anti-pollution drive, led by Mayor Anne Hidalgo. Hidalgo has recently joined forces with Sadiq Khan who wants to phase out the most polluted diesels off London’s streets (3).

(1) https://www.transportenvironment.org/press/dieselgate-1st-anniversary-all-diesel-car-brands-europe-are-even-more-polluting-volkswagen

(2) http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/motor-shows-paris-motor-show/mercedes-ceo-killing-diesel-absolutely-stupid

(3) http://www.standard.co.uk/news/mayor/sadiq-khan-joins-paris-mayor-in-plea-to-cut-pollution-a3260851.html

Contact: Greenpeace UK Press Office – press.uk@greenpeace.org or +44 (0)207 865 8255