Most of us are used to thinking of EVs as green and clean. In fact, here in the US, even gas-burning SUVs that get one or two more miles per gallon than the previous year’s model are advertised as environmentally benign, complete with images of trees, butterflies and smiling children.
It seems that the French, however, can be a bit more literal-minded. France’s Jury of Advertising Ethics (JDP) has ruled that EVs cannot be advertised as being “green” or “clean.”
The JDP said that an ad for the Renault Zoe with the slogan “To fight pollution, drive a car” that was posted around Paris when traffic restrictions were introduced to fight an air pollution crisis was misleading.
The agency said that EVs do have an impact on the environment due to wear and tear of parts and charging needs. “There are many other means of transport which it is commonly believed are less harmful to the environment, such as cycling or collective transportation. [The Renault ad] therefore sends a message contrary to generally accepted principles of sustainable development.”
In April, the JDP issued a similar ruling against three electric car-sharing services, which said on their websites that their vehicles were “ecological” and “clean.”
“These advertisements must be balanced,” said Stéphane Martin, CEO of the Professional Advertising Regulatory Authority. “Every vehicle has an impact on the environment during its construction and its life cycle. You cannot describe the electric car as ‘clean’ but it can be argued that it contributes to sustainable development and is cleaner than non-electric cars.”