London: Though electric cars are heralded as an environment friendly solution in major cities, a study says their pollution levels are worse than petrol-powered vehicles.
A study on pollution in 34 Chinese cities found that electricity generated by power stations to drive electric vehicles leads to more fine particle emissions than petrol-powered cars.
Researchers Chris Cherry and Shuguang Ji analysed the emissions and environmental health impacts of five vehicle technologies.
They found that the electricity generated to power electric cars caused more particulate matter pollution than that caused by an equivalent number of petrol-driven vehicles.
Particulate matter comes from the combustion of fossil fuels, and includes acids, organic chemicals, metals, and soil or dust particles.
Cherry and his team focused on China because of the popularity of electric vehicles. E-cars and e-bikes in the country now reportedly outnumber conventional vehicles two to one.
In China, 85 percent of electricity production is from fossil fuels, and about 90 percent of that is from coal.
In terms of air pollution, they found electric cars were more harmful to public health.
The researchers used five vehicle types -- petrol and diesel cars, diesel buses, e-bikes and e-cars. They then calculated the proportion of emissions inhaled by the population.
The report, however, did not mention which organisation Cherry and his team were affiliated to.