But this is only true of the car itself; the electricity powering it is often produced with coal, which means that the clean car is responsible for heavy air pollution. As green venture capitalist Vinod Khosla likes to point out, “electric cars are coal-powered cars”.
If the USA had 10 per cent more petrol cars by 2020, air pollution would claim 870 more lives. A similar increase in electric ones would cause 1,617 more deaths a year, mostly because of the coal burned.
If we were to scale this to the UK, electric cars would cause the same or more air pollution-related deaths than petrol-powered cars. In China, because their coal power plants are so dirty, electric cars make local air much worse: in Shanghai, pollution from more electric-powered cars would be nearly three-times as deadly as more petrol-powered ones
Moreover, while electric cars typically emit less CO₂, the savings are smaller than most imagine. Over a 150,000 km lifetime, the top-line Tesla S will emit about 13 tonnes of CO₂. But the production of its batteries alone will emit 14 tonnes, along with seven more from the rest of its production and eventual decommissioning.
Compare this with the diesel-powered, but similarly performing, Audi A7 Sportback, which uses about seven litres per 100km, so about 10,500 litres over its lifetime. This makes 26 tonnes of CO₂. The Audi will also emit slightly more than 7 tons in production and end-of-life. In total, the Tesla will emit 34 tonnes and the Audi 35. So over a decade, the Tesla will save the world 1.2 tonnes of CO₂.
Reducing 1.2 tonnes of CO₂ on the EU emissions trading system costs £5; but instead, the UK Government subsidises each car with £4,500. All of the world’s electric cars sold so far have soaked up £9 billion in subsidies, yet will only save 3.3 million tonnes of CO₂. This will reduce world temperatures by 0.00001°C in 2100 – the equivalent of postponing global warming by about 30 minutes at the end of the century. Electric cars will be a good idea, once they can compete – which will probably be by 2032. But it is daft to waste billions of pounds of public money on rich people’s playthings that kill more people through air pollution while barely affecting carbon emissions. The Tesla 3 is indeed a “zero emissions” marvel – but that is only because it does not yet exist.
"Ikea's ambition is to help and inspire their customers to live a more sustainable life at home and the residential solar program is one step on the way to reach that ambition," the magazine quoted Håkan Nordkvist, head of sustainability innovation at Ikea, as saying. "Last year there were 770 million visits to Ikea stores worldwide and the company sees that as a great platform to fulfill our ambition and for people to be able to live a more sustainable life at home."
Nordkvist also revealed the company would work closely with suppliers to push down solar technology costs.
"To be able to deploy residential solar in a big scale we need to have a very simple and transparent purchase process for the customer and the offer needs to be very affordable, this is what our customers normally get when they visit Ikea and this is what we will continue to have, including the residential solar offer," he said.
A spokeswoman for IKEA confirmed to BusinessGreen the company was working on plans to expand its solar offering.
"Offering solutions for residential solar is part of IKEA Group's sustainability strategy and we have successfully rolled out a pilot offer to stores in three markets; the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom," she said via email. "During 2015 we evaluated the pilot and decided on a new business model, offering an expanded range of technologies and a more integrated sales model. In the process we also researched the market to identify suppliers that can provide the most competitive offer for our customers."