Vladimir Putin Likes Electric Cars But Claims They Are Dirtier Than Gas Cars
10/04/17 David Tracy

[image] AP/Mikhail Klimentyev

Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump’s Best Friend Except Not Really, is apparently
an expert on Well-To-Wheel analyses. At the Russian Energy Week conference
in Moscow today, he gave a nice long-winded explanation on why electric
cars—which he actually likes—are dirtier than gas cars.

Russian Energy Week, a forum put on in Moscow and St. Petersberg to discuss
“prospects for the development of such core sectors of the economy as the
oil, gas, coal, and petrochemical industries” hosted Vladimir Putin today at
the country’s capital. Among topics Russia’s leader got to discuss was
electric cars, which Putin says he likes despite them being worse for the
environment than gas vehicles (RT interpreted this as meaning “natural gas”

When asked by the host if Putin could ever imagine himself buying an EV,
Putin said (note: this quote has been translated from Russian):

    Yes I certainly can imagine that...I had an opportunity to drive an
electric car... Russian manufacturers who are dreaming to produce electric
cars showed me....I was given a chance to sit behind the wheel, and I must
admit that I do like such cars, particularly modern cars, which are very
fast, very spritely, and for the city environment, that constitutes a very
good type of transportation, because, well, you have a lot of people
living... You need to avoid the exhaust.

Then the leader of a country whose number one export is crude petroleum went
on, saying: “But, I believe, in the end of the day, right now, a much more
environmentally friendly kind of a fuel and transportation is gas driven

When the interviewer asked “Could we imagine you one day driving one of Elon
Musk’s Teslas?” Putin, who seemed to be referring to Russia in general and
not himself personally, responded:

    Why not? We are open to such products and we are buying everything that
we see useful, and we sell everything that we find beneficial to sell...What
do you think are we going to just drive a horse-driven cart? No, we are no
longer doing that. Or just tanks? No no, not at all...

Prior to these questions, Putin went into a lengthy explanation about why
EVs are much worse for the environment than gas cars. He said—because coal
is the primary source of energy throughout the world, and because “the
technology of using both coal and oil are improving”—gas cars are better for
the environment than electric ones. Have a listen:

While he admits the benefits of EVs from a urban health standpoint, and that
renewable energy is something to strive towards, he doesn’t think renewable
sources will be dominant for another 30 years, and the energy mix will
remain the same in the near term. Because of that, Putin says, “The kind of
fuel as the gas motor fuel, we believe, at the end of the day, to be much
more environmentally safe than the electric automobile.”

The EPA says natural gas is “one of the cleanest burning alternative fuels,”
and that cars powered by such a fuel produce 20 to 45 percent fewer smog
pollutants and 5 percent to 9 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions, so
Putin may have a point, even if he’s got quite a lot of incentive to keep
gas-powered cars on the road.
[© 2017 Gizmodo Media]
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