UK bans BMW ActiveE Zero Emission Ads

ActiveE | July 29th, 2010 by 13
bmw active e emission 750x500

News reports coming from the UK confirm a ban placed on some BMW ads by the Britain’s advertising watchdog. The banned ads revolved around BMW’s …

News reports coming from the UK confirm a ban placed on some BMW ads by the Britain’s advertising watchdog. The banned ads revolved around BMW’s claims that the BMW Concept ActiveE electric car is “100 percent joy, zero percent emissions”.

The reason for the ban? Misleading the public and breaching their codes on substantiation, truthfulness and environmental claims.

The BMW advert said: “Thanks to its electrifying performance and zero carbon dioxide emissions when driving, the ActiveE redefines BMW EfficientDynamics.”

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Apparently the real challenge comes from the assumption that the ActiveE is indeed a “zero percent emissions” and “zero carbon dioxide when driving”, emphasize on when driving, but the process of recharging the car with electricity from the national power network would result in the production of emissions.

BMW challenges back and explains that “Zero carbon dioxide emissions when driving” phrase explicitly described the ad.

The British ASA governance body said that “We[ASA] considered that the claim ‘zero percent emissions’ was likely to be interpreted by readers to mean that the car’s use would not result in the production of emissions.”

The ban remained in place.

Similar to this ban, last week, the watchdog rapped BMW for claiming its latest Z4 Roadster model had low levels of CO2 emissions, when in fact it was only low for a BMW, not all cars.

To be continued……

[Source: Yahoo | Photo: Shawn Molnar ]

13 responses to “UK bans BMW ActiveE Zero Emission Ads”

  1. v1p3r says:

    I don’t believe this. Show me what car has absolutely no effect on the environment whatsoever? If the charging results in emissions, then does the manufacturing of a electric car’s tyres for example also make it ineligible to be labeled as a “zero emissions” car? To me, a zero emissions car is a car that doe itself emit no harmful byproducts in its propulsion processes…

    • Laszlo says:

      No, the UK’s ASA is correct in this. Zero emission would be a car that runs on solar power or wind power or something that does not produces emission.

      In the USA it has been tested and thus the electric cars were only about 20% cleaner then a small fully gasoline powered car. That is only when the energy was generated by a “clean” source like nuclear power. (yes, nuclear power is considered a clean{er} power)

      For example in China where power is generated in a coal power plant most electric cars and rechargable hybrids would actually be dirtier then some clean running gasoline engine.

      the long future should be NOT hydrogen like BMW tried to push, but a clean electric.
      A close future is definitely a diesel engine.

      research should focus on clean electricity and renewable energy source.
      All that money that was wasted on hydrogen cars should have gone towards this. Hydrogen is a great source and the cars would run really nice and clean but again to produce hydrogen and store it cold, would require more energy and emission with it, so much so then the actual clean burning engine would probably trail that by a small margin.
      Hydrogen must be liquid and in order for that a super cold temperature is required. That’s a dead end no matter how good the hydrogen looks like as energy source. It is not convenient for a consumers.

      • v1p3r says:

        Thanks for the very thorough explanation Laszlo ;)

      • adc says:

        No actually when you interpret “zero emissions” to the max, it should mean that no CO2 emissions should ever be produced in the manufacturing process, charging process, maintenance process or driving process.

        Which is of course, impossible.

        But BMW was correct that their advertising was truthful (indeed no emission comes out when driving) and ASA simply says they believe the public at large at complete morons. ASA just shut themselves in the foot with this one IMO.

  2. Aneeth says:

    Emission as far as a car is concerned is what it emits, and not all those which are emitted cause of this car being on the road… In that case, there is nothing ‘clean’ on this planet… The event of a car being emission free would then depend on the power grid being cleaner… Which is not possible this century…

    And in this case, BMW has gone to the extent of mentioning that it is emission free when driving… Which would not pose any ambiguity…

    This should also mean that emission rating for cars should be redefined to consider all the ancillary emissions that contribute to that car being on the road… Now would anyone be game for that ??

  3. sharkhunter635 says:

    Gah. Love BMW, do not love batteries.

    This is why I hate the concept of electric cars. The misconception of zero emissions is too much to overcome–the general public doesn’t need to be any more ignorant than they already are. Long term answer is probably hydrogen; short term answer probably should be biofuels but no one wants it…

    Then again what if we all drove electric cars AND embraced nuclear?! Pretty much zero emissions there, right?…

    • adc says:

      If we completely embraced nuclear, we’d have a nightmare of a different kind, but just as damaging, with the waste disposal.

      And we’d still generate CO2 because our society fell in love with plastics (and other petroleum, coal or natural gas derivatives).

  4. FreudeKing says:


    People will still get your idea. Who knows, some people/country may be using hydro electricity generation!

  5. Lawrence Weisdorn says:

    Isn’t it a double standard when we never hear about the emissions from exploration, drilling, extracting, transporting, refining, transporting again and dispensing gasoline and diesel?

  6. george says:

    What if i tell you that the solution could be having an electric car fully electric and having it charging by its self, i could tell you that i have the solution all you have to is comunicate with me at this email address or sending me a phone where we can talk this for the bmw people,thank you,i have the solution and pretty soon you will all see it.

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