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Electric vehicles 'may be costlier'

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A new report has suggested that a complete switch to electric cars may not slash carbon emissions or dependence on oil.

It may be costlier in the long run for motorists to own cars that depend wholly on electricity generated from coal than to own hybrid cars, the Environmental Transport Association (ETA) added.

Electric cars would not be able to compete with conventional vehicles within the next 20 years, even if they saw improved performance and reduced costs in the medium term.

Low running costs would result in more electric cars on the road, taxation of electricity and greater use of coal and nuclear power.

The report indicated that electric vehicles would make up more than 25% of new car sales by 2050.

But it added that potential environmental benefits from a switch to electric vehicles were dependent on changes in generating electricity, taxing energy and regulating CO2 emissions.

ETA director Andrew Davis said: "While the report is not intended to dampen enthusiasm for electric vehicles, their introduction should not be viewed as a panacea. Significant changes to the way we produce and tax power are needed before we will reap any benefits."

© Press Association 2009