back to article No, BMW, petrol-engined cars don't 'give back to the environment'

BMW claims that its electric i3 car has “zero emissions” and is a “really clean car [that] helps to give back to the environment”. Ad regulators have ordered it never to say that again – pointing to the Beemer’s petrol-fuelled auxiliary engine. The Advertising Standards Authority declared that the BMW i3’s “range extender”, a …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Nice to see some backbone here

    I can't say I don't like Beemers, but I will readily admit that this is pushing things too far.

    First of all, I have yet to hear how heavy-metal-polluting batteries are any better for the environment than carbon-monoxide emissions. Then there's the fact that, yeah, an electric car containing a fossil-fuel-burning engine is definitely not a zero-emission car.

    So good on the regulators for stomping on this nonsense.

    It's hard enough to be ecological as is without needing marketing to muck things up even more.

    1. macjules Silver badge

      Re: Nice to see some backbone here

      Strange how BMW do this on the same day as LEVC are announcing their new "green" London taxi. Like the BMW the LEVC is electric with a "generator" acting as a "range extender".

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Nice to see some backbone here

        The LEVC units are intended to be electric in the smog zone with the generator only operating outside the congestion area.

        In that respect they're low polluting, but only just.

      2. David 132 Silver badge

        Re: Nice to see some backbone here

        Like the BMW the LEVC is electric with a "generator" acting as a "range extender"

        Well, on that principle, my car is also green. It has a 12v battery that gives it limited electric-only range (as long as I crank the starter motor with it in gear) and an inline-6, 3-litre, 325hp range extender motor.

        No need to thank me, Mother Gaia. Just happy to do my bit.

      3. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

        Re: Nice to see some backbone here

        "LEVC is electric with a "generator" acting as a "range extender""

        I didn't know that from the BBC news piece about it, I was wondering how they would get their 600 mile claimed range between charges, why not just be honest and call it a hybrid?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Nice to see some backbone here

          "why not just be honest and call it a hybrid"

          Generally speaking, hybrid is understood to be a dual drive system. In the generator versions (where the engine doesn't drive the wheels directly), it's a series-hybrid.

          Arguable, they are far better than a normal hybrid, as you can run the engine constantly at its most fuel efficient rpm, which you can't do on a regular car, hybrid or otherwise.

    2. Faux Science Slayer

      "Green Prince of Darkness" at FauxScienceSlayer > photovoltaic fraud

      There is NO greenhouse gas, NO green energy and NO peak oil.

      "Becoming A TOTAL Earth Science Skeptic" at FauxScienceSlayer

      "Fracturing the Fossil Fuel Fable" on Abiogenic Oil on Earth

      1. The First Dave
        Boffin

        Re: "Green Prince of Darkness" at FauxScienceSlayer > photovoltaic fraud

        There are no dinosaurs left to liquefy, so "Peak Oil" is most definitely a thing, whether we have reached it yet or not.

  2. A K Stiles
    Meh

    "He's not the messiah!"

    I wonder if they told them to go and sit on the naughty step too?

    Punitive penalties to be applied to the head of marketing through to the CEO (or equivalent) including everyone who has an approval of such statements as are determined erroneous. Maybe then they'll stop makingsh it up!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "He's not the messiah!"

      Can you imagine the arse-ache if you had to involve the head of marketing and CEO in every single external statement? This isn't just adverts either, it's brochures, manuals, etc, etc...

      1. Red Bren
        Pirate

        Re: "He's not the messiah!"

        Big cheeses are more than happy to take credit for corporate success due to their "guiding influence" when salaries and bonuses are being decided, even if they weren't involved with the minute details. But the moment there's a hint of corporate failure, it's always the fault of "rogue employees" who kept us in the dark, with no questions asked about oversight, who hired them or why, and who benefited most from the "rogue" behaviour.

        "Your department is performing unexpectedly well this quarter. Is there anything you want to tell me?" said no CEO, ever!

      2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: "He's not the messiah!"

        "if you had to involve the head of marketing and CEO in every single external statement"

        Why would you need to do that? Ad content isn't generally a legal matter, but for those things that are, the directors are (and always have been) legally liable for the actions of employees, whether they keep tabs on the employees or not. All companies already operate under this regime and the sky has not fallen in.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "He's not the messiah!"

          "Why would you need to do that? Ad content isn't generally a legal matter"

          I think this article just proved it is.

  3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    It does give back to the environment

    It liberates Carbon that has been trapped underground for millions of years and recycles it into a vital food source for plants and trees

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It does give back to the environment

      True without CO2 there would be no life on earth, and it should to told at all instances of this type of stupidity.

      1. HamsterNet

        Re: It does give back to the environment

        Not all life, just most. Whole communities living around deep-sea vents would be just fine.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. tfb Silver badge

        Re: It does give back to the environment

        Without some level of ionising radiation there would *also* be no life on Earth.

    2. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

      Re: It does give back to the environment

      And don't forget nitrogen fixation, upon which plant life depends.

    3. macjules Silver badge

      Re: It does give back to the environment

      Well, technically, we ALL give back to the environment then. We ingest carbon-form fuels, refine them and then output the result as carbon, microbe-rich nutrients for recycling.

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: It does give back to the environment

        Well yes, apart from the CO2, ionisation, and nitrogen fixation, what has the planet ever done for us?

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: It does give back to the environment

          "what has the planet ever done for us?"

          stupid gravity making things fall all of the time.

          I give "the environment" my big middle finger! And I'll give back everything I use up, when I throw what's left of it into the trash can, or excrete it into the porcelain bowl. (at least it goes into a designated place afterwards; animals just 'give back' wherever the hell they feel like it, except when humans pick it up afterwards).

          [this whole 'giving back' concept is nauseating anyway, like a bunch of sappy guilt-motivating psycho-babble]

  4. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

    Seeing as it's a BMW, it does conserve some energy by never ever powering the indicators

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Pint

      Seeing as it's a BMW,...

      Damn! Beat me to it...

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        Re: Seeing as it's a BMW,...

        Not forgetting the efficiency gains from tailgating.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Seeing as it's a BMW,...

          And they save the weight of a hybrid system by never braking

        2. eJ2095

          Re: Seeing as it's a BMW,...

          And not having to brake at red lights as they just change over

        3. SharkNose

          Re: Seeing as it's a BMW,...

          Audi's are by far the most efficient cars in this regard, they also make efficient use of the space in the outside lane by ensuring no more than 1mm is wasted between their front bumper and the car in front...

          1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: Seeing as it's a BMW,...

            I bought a BMW a few months ago, and I still haven't managed to break the habit of indicating!

        4. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Seeing as it's a BMW,...

          and going WAY too damn slow on the curvy parts of windy rural roads (like Highway 1 in Cali-fornicate-you), but WAY too damn fast on the straight parts, so NOBODY! ELSE! CAN! PASS! (unless you're me, and you do it ANYWAY, at 95MPH going uphill, so that the BMW and its arrogant self-centered driver can't stop me)

          icon, because, facepalm

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Flame

      Don't BMW make up for the lack of energy required for their indicators by having the brightest headlights in the world...

      1. DangerousDave

        Re: BMW headlights.

        No, that disinction belongs to Audi . . . .

    3. Christoph Silver badge

      And it comes with free personal ownership of thousands of miles of roads.

      1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        Not forgetting the right to park wherever the owner feels like or, should they lower themselves socially to use marked parking bays that non-disabled, non-parents are permitted to use, that they may use two or more of them.

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge

          And don't forget the right to turn right from a left hand lane ( or equivalent where driving is on the other side of the road) at a junction.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They have indicators?

      Who knew?

      1. TRT Silver badge

        I was driving behind an Audi TFSi the other day...

        I spent ages trying to work out what kind of engine that badge mark meant, then as we reached our fifth turning together, I realised that it means "This Fucker Seldom indicates".

        1. Paul Crawford Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: I was driving behind an Audi TFSi the other day...

          Achtung! Untrained Driver Inside!

          Yes, I'll go get my cost and leave...

          1. Timbo

            Re: I was driving behind an Audi TFSi the other day...

            AUDI - Another Useless Driver Inside or Attention: User Doesn't Indicate!

            FIAT - Fix it Again Tomorrow

            BMW - Black Mans Wheels

            There's more here: https://jalopnik.com/5879789/the-definitive-guide-to-derogatory-auto-acronyms

        2. Packet

          Re: I was driving behind an Audi TFSi the other day...

          I just looked up what it means - and I prefer your version.

          I always figured the T meant 'turbo' and the I meant 'injection' but I never really thought beyond that.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I was driving behind an Audi TFSi the other day...

            Turbo Fuel Sucking injection?

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I was driving behind an Audi TFSi the other day...

          Wait till one of those wankers is driving behind you on the motorway....

      2. Paul Crawford Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: They have indicators?

        That is how you spot the unmarked police cars, they are the only ones with working indicators.

    5. Bob Wheeler
      Joke

      "indicators"

      BMW's are fitted with the new anti-dazzle indicators

    6. MJI Silver badge

      I used to own all the roads

      As the car I had at the time was popular with Police.

      I could carve through heavy traffic better than any BMW as it was not my fault that my silver painted car was the same colour as a next door country traffic cars.

      1. ChrisC

        Re: I used to own all the roads

        I experienced the same sort of Moses-like parting of the traffic back in the days when I owned Vauxhall Omegas. Ahh, happy days...

        1. MJI Silver badge

          Re: I used to own all the roads

          I had a few but only the late version did this.

        2. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: I used to own all the roads

          When I owned a battered, dented Morris Marina there was no trouble with cars wanting to get in my way, carve me up etc. Funny that.

  5. DNTP

    The only way to make cars give back to the environment

    is to have fewer cars, and design things to be less reliant on cars. Everything else is a lie told by liars.

    Unfortunately where I live, spending money on public transit might as well be as popular as supporting communism. And this is a place in the US that actually has a 'good' system!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The only way to make cars give back to the environment

      Unfortunately where I live, spending money on public transit might as well be as popular as supporting communism. And this is a place in the US that actually has a 'good' system!

      Well, communal transport.....they have a point.

      No wonder people in the US struggle not to shoot eachother on sight, if their loathing for comunal services is so great.

      Perhaps also the why of the recent 'neoliberal' lables, as there can't possibly be any Socialists in a Republican Utopia (McCarthy saw to that).

    2. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      Re: The only way to make cars give back to the environment

      The trouble is that cars have liberated us from reliance on public transport, have created a society and culture that won't easily go back to public transport and which doesn't suit public transport.

      There is no easy way out of the situation we have created for ourselves. Electric vehicles are seen as one way of improving things but, while they may fix one set of problems, they introduce others.

      And it's not helped through trying to change overnight, trying to bring in changes which society and culture are not prepared for, when the new technology isn't that mature, requiring infrastructure that isn't currently there.

      We are going through a 'technology will fix everything' era, believing we will have all-electric vehicles, AI and 'human robots' will be everywhere, and it will just work. It is an era of 'wishful thinking' but we are dangerously banking our futures on it. Let's hope we make it through to the other side.

      1. Lars Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: The only way to make cars give back to the environment

        "The trouble is that cars have liberated us from reliance on public transport, have created a society and culture that won't easily go back to public transport".

        The Nordic countries have managed that quite well, you don't have to go back if you newer leave.

        1. jmch Silver badge

          Re: The only way to make cars give back to the environment

          "The Nordic countries have managed that quite well"

          True, but Nordics (and much of Europe actually) have population densities far more suited to mass transit and public transport than the US

          1. Davidmb

            Re: The only way to make cars give back to the environment

            Sorry, but this is wrong. The United States has a much higher population density than Norway and Sweden, with much bigger cities than either. While the rural US may be too distributed, the situation in the metropolitan areas is entirely due to choice.

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: The only way to make cars give back to the environment

        "have created a society and culture that won't easily go back to public transport and which doesn't suit public transport."

        You are confusing mass transportation with public transportation. The two have been synonymous for a long time, but it's not going to stay that way for much longer.

        The ideal size for an autonomous bus is about 8 seats. That way it's large enough to carry groups but small enough to also carry individuals and run in express mode (ie, not stopping at every point). Once you have enough of them and robot drivers, when not used you can start thinking about quiesciing them along the route to only move when required. Hello Johnnycab.

        1. Keven E

          Re: The only way to make cars give back to the environment

          The need for stuff and services to be mobile is real. Reliance (such as it is) on so much commuting, especially in dense population areas, is artificially inflated by ease of access.

      3. Paul 75
        Trollface

        Re: The only way to make cars give back to the environment

        "...and it will just work. It is an era of 'wishful thinking' but we are dangerously banking our futures on it. Let's hope we make it through to the other side."

        Sorry I thought you were talking about Brexit all of a sudden :D

      4. bombastic bob Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: The only way to make cars give back to the environment

        "There is no easy way out of the situation we have created for ourselves."

        (referring to use of privately owned vehicles in lieu of mass transit)

        Why would you WANT to "get out" of the situation we have created for ourselves? [g'head, g'head, answer with the TRUTH! I *DARE* you!]

        *I* happen to *LIKE* the freedom of jumping in the car and going where I want, filling the tank when it gets empty, and just going and going as far as I want to, WHENEVER I want to, WHEREVER I want to, on MY schedule, and NOT anyone else's!!!.

        Why is *THAT* not a *GOOD* thing???

        1. Stevie Silver badge

          Re: The only way to make cars give back to the environment

          You're a f*cking piker, Bob. I drive everywhere in first gear, with the a/c and heater on, lights ablaze and radio a-blare.

          But then, I have the courage of my convictions and access to gasoline almost as cheap as water (cheaper in some badly polluted places like former chip fabbing towns).

  6. malle-herbert Silver badge
    Coat

    i3 ?

    How long before they're getting sued by Intel ?

    1. Mattjimf

      Re: i3 ?

      Don't worry, when Intel get to i8, BMW will get the money back.

      1. hplasm Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: i3 ?

        "Don't worry, when Intel get to i8, BMW will get the money back."

        But will both be sued by fat people...

        1. imanidiot Silver badge

          Re: i3 ?

          That's why Intel skipped the i8 and went straight for the i9

          1. 's water music Silver badge

            Re: i3 ?

            That's why Intel skipped the i8 and went straight for the i9

            They missed a trick in not going up to 11 if you ask me

  7. rdhood

    In the Science section?

    Not only in the Science section, but a headliner. Why? Exactly what does this have to do with Science? In fact, what does this have to do with ANY topic on the register (except maybe Business, but does it even belong there?)

    1. DNTP

      Re: In the Science section?

      People love stories about scientists and engineers taking the stuffing out of of marketing types. Well maybe marketing doesn't like those stories so much.

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: In the Science section?

        People love stories about scientists and engineers taking the stuffing out of of marketing types. Well maybe marketing doesn't like those stories so much.

        The plump, the smug and the self-satisfied....

        Put the stuffing back in again, it's coming up to Xmas....*

        * For the humourless, the pedant and other chartered accountants. I in know way approve or endorse of canibalism BTW. ...but if the ovens on already, and I'm a bit peckish....

  8. zvonr

    There is no such thing as a zero emission electric car...

    There are only cars that emit more crap than others...

    1) There are factory emissions when producing it (mining for the raw materials, etc...)

    2) There are emissions when producing the electricity.

    3) Break pad particulates end up on the roads and in the air..

    4) Tire wear particulates end up on the roads and in the air...

    5) There are emissions when recycling the car..

    So a EV with a 50kw battery has lower emissions than one with a 100kw battery... etc..

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      There is no such thing as a zero emission electric car...

      This carbon double entry bookkeeping malarky has really damaged legitimate climate science.

      It's conning the public, it's allowing the deniers another argument foothold, as flimsy as it is the creationist 'half and eye' nonsense.

      Zathros can never have anything nice...

      1. Bob Wheeler

        Re: There is no such thing as a zero emission electric car...

        @Teiwaz

        Zathros can never have anything nice...

        Nice B5 quote - I watched that episode only the other night.

        1. Timmy B Silver badge

          Re: There is no such thing as a zero emission electric car...

          Indeed - well done for the B5 - but it's an a not an o. But I suppose he'd actually like you getting it wrong as it's kind of expected....

          1. Teiwaz Silver badge

            Re: There is no such thing as a zero emission electric car...

            it's an a not an o.

            Woops! Yes, he probably pointed that out, but 'Nobody listen to Zathras.'

            We are allZathras.

    2. Timmy B Silver badge

      "There is no such thing as a zero emission electric car..."

      You know that's not what is meant by zero emissions. It is shorthand for "The driving motor/engine of this car produces no emissions during normal running" and to act like it doesn't is a bit dishonest really. As a consumer society Everything we do produces waste and emissions of course but that's not what is meant - and you know it.

      1. #define INFINITY -1 Bronze badge

        You know that's not what is meant by zero emissions.

        Not so sure that's fair... like if I said, "you know that people believe zero emission means green, and green means good for the environment." Maybe you don't. Maybe they don't.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Flintstones car.

      I rest my case.

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

        Re: Flintstones car

        What about all the trees needed for the chassis and axle?

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: Flintstones car

          Hewing those stone rollers into shape must have caused some greenhouse gas emissions, if only from the bottoms of the plant-eating dinosaurs that lifted the slabs around on their noggins and powered the various machinery in Mr Slate's quarry, IIR (the cartoon) C. It might not have been Mr Slate - I seem to recall the owner was also referred to as Mr Boulder and Mr Rockhead at some point.

  9. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    Erm...

    "owning and driving the car had a net benefit on the environment taking into account its full life cycle"

    Sorry, but this pure marketing and PPE educated bullshit. I'm not sure how ANY car or thing can have a net benefit to "the environment" when the US and China et al are still spewing tons and tons and tons of shit into the air and oceans every single day.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Erm...

      "when the US and China et al are still spewing tons and tons and tons of shit into the air ... every single day"

      Is the president of China on Twitter too?

      1. TimR

        Re: Erm...

        "Is the president of China on Twitter too?"

        Nice one!

  10. W4YBO

    Whip it good...

    Wow! Treat 'em like they're Volkswagen.

    And Audis in my neck of the woods are just considered inverted porcupines; pricks on the inside.

  11. MT Field

    Erm yeh about that BMW

    Wouldn't buy another one myself.

  12. The Nazz Silver badge

    Alternative travel and emissions.

    One of the great joys of walking over cars ( ie legging it, not literally trampling over cars, though it ought to be allowed if the users insist on parking on the pavement) is that the only time one has to consider where to park is when one needs to go for a shit.

    And rarely emissions free.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    “zero emissions”

    to think of it, my 13... 15 year old fiat panda does that too, once I push it off a steep slope. Wheeeeeeeeee. The only emissions would be those coming from me backside...

  14. ecofeco Silver badge

    Just another reason to love Europe

    This would have NEVER been questioned in America and in fact, inspired great debate and knashing of teeth.

    Because in America, the sky is whatever color you say it is.

  15. earl grey Silver badge
    Facepalm

    gives back to the environment

    Yeah, my spreader does that down on the farm. Gives all that shite right back to good mother earth.

  16. unwarranted triumphalism

    These ridiculous things should be banned. They're just leftist tokenism to appease the green fanatics.

  17. Terry 6 Silver badge

    give back to the environment..

    ....implies that it does more good than harm, i.e. repays some environmental debt. Which is pure bollocks. Any vehicle uses some energy. And so unless 100 solar or wind powered it burns carbon (somewhere). The materials have to be mined, or synthesised and carried, then shaped. Eventually they have to be recycled or dumped. These are all environmental costs.

  18. Binraider666

    Marginal generation

    Every car plugged in adds demand. That demand wasn’t there before and is therefore not being served by renewables, which by definition should have been running already, if possible. This means the only leccy going in your plug in is either gas or coal derived, the remaining marginal generator and only thing left to fuel your car.

    Add in transmission and distribution losses, the latter of which are going to skyrocket due to distribution networks not being sized to service large volumes of leccy cars, and you have a problem needing a lot of investment to solve.

    Energy policy is an absolute farce and the idea that the market will deliver is tosh. The market is geared for old school big, predictable generators and dull demand profiles. Severe change needed at all levels to avoid blackouts. Maybe we should be getting used to the idea of sacrificing availability...

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: Marginal generation

      This means the only leccy going in your plug in is either gas or coal derived

      or Nuclear.

      1. MK_E

        Re: Marginal generation

        Ramp-up time on a nuclear plant means, like renewables, it's running already. Gas is generally the one that's most variable for changes in marginal demand, barring some contribution from pumped storage to balance the load a bit (or STOR if they need more power even faster than that).

  19. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Slow day all round, I reckon.

    I'm going to turn up my gas furnace and open my windows, just to spite the electric brigade with their convenient blindness to the pollution the industries that make their cars possible create. Poisonous chemicals, heavy metals, you name it, the electronic and electric fabbing industry is dumping it.

  20. fraunthall

    CC Alarmists Get Facts All Wrong

    Electric cars from production through use release more CO2 per mile than efficient gas or diesel ones. Of that there is no doubt. Even then, CO2 is not a harmful gas and contributes so little to global warming that its effects are negligible. You religious fanatics, as usual, have it all wrong. Wise up!

  21. hoola

    Range Extender?

    What is that supposed to mean? According to the bull an i3 will top out at anything from 90 to 120 miles on a full battery charge.

    Does it provide enough power that you can get home at 30mph? No idea, apparently it tops up the battery when it is nearly flat so they you can drive up to 205 miles in total. I suppose that is better than it being stuck waiting for it to charge but totally defeats the zero emissions. It is almost as good as all the stop-start technology that is used in diesels to get the CO2 down but there is a button to turn it off. As with all the hybrids, the real problem is the lack of space. The engine batteries and fuel have to go somewhere.

    What I think is really interesting is the comment another contributor made on a similar discussion:

    Petrol and diesel are part of the refining process of crude oil. If there is a huge switch to electric, what do you do with the lighter products nobody wants. We are simply nowhere close to reducing the overall oil footprint, if anything it is getting worse. Stopping using the lighter products then creates an immense waste problem where the only realistic option if to probably burn it. The only benefit there is you can burn it at the point of production so the resulting pollution is not in the city, It does bugger all for the CO2, NO problems, and realistically makes it worse. Using it to produce electricity is even more stupid as you then have to huge losses in the energy chain.

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