Writing in the journal IEEE Spectrum, researcher Ozzie Zehner says electric cars lead to hidden environmental and health damages and are likely more harmful than gasoline cars and other transportation options.
Electric cars merely shift negative impacts from one place to another, he wrote, and "most electric-car assessments analyze only the charging of the car. This is an important factor indeed. But a more rigorous analysis would consider the environmental impacts over the vehicle's entire life cycle, from its construction through its operation and on to its eventual retirement at the junkyard."
Political priorities and corporate influence have created a flawed impression that electric cars significantly reduce transportation impacts, he said.
"Upon closer consideration, moving from petroleum-fueled vehicles to electric cars starts to appear tantamount to shifting from one brand of cigarettes to another," Zehner, a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley, said.
Zehner, once an electric car enthusiast who has since changed his position and become an activist looking at a number of so-called green initiatives, is the author of the book "Green Illusions."