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Green energy sells electric cars, not fossil-fuelled plug-ins: SFU study

Electric vehicles would generate more buzz if North American utility companies offered to power the cars with renewable energy instead of fossil-fuelled electricity.

It’s an argument made in a new study from Simon Fraser University published in the latest edition of the scientific journal Environmental Research Letters.

Would-be car buyers were 23 per cent more likely to say they would switch to a greener ride if the car could tap into solar, wind or small-scale hydroelectric power, said Jonn Axsen, an assistant professor at SFU who conducted the survey of 1,500 Americans.

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“This [survey] makes a good argument for a better connection between automakers and utilities in terms of how these two different products are marketed,” Axsen said.

The study was partially funded by BMW, a German car maker that’s already coupled its electric vehicles with sources of clean energy.

The auto company partnered with American clean-energy provider Green Mountain Energy to offer “renewable energy certificates” to an exclusive group of electric-BMW drivers in 2012.

The certificates ensure power for the ActiveE-line of BMWs comes from renewable sources, according to a news release from Green Mountain Energy.

Axsen believes other companies should also be addressing where energy for their electric vehicles comes from.


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