The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that the press advertisement gave the impression that the car created no greenhouse emissions at all, when in fact its batteries had to be charged from the electricity grid, which generated carbon dioxide.
The ad for the BMW Concept ActiveE electric car used the headline, “100 percent joy, zero percent emissions.”
It went on to state that “the BMW Concept ActiveE is the first BMW to be powered purely by electricity … Thanks to its electrifying performance and zero CO2 emissions when driving, the ActiveE redefines BMW EfficientDynamics.”
The smaller-print qualification “when driving” wasn't enough to satisfy the watchdog. In response to a complaint from a member of the public, it ruled that the headline was “likely to mislead.”
“The ad must not appear again in its current form,” the ASA ordered. “We told BMW not to repeat claims that stated or implied that an electric vehicle would produce zero emissions in use.”
It is the second time in just a week that a BMW ad was banned in Britain. Last week, BMW was told to stop using an ad for its Z4 model that used the headline, “Joy makes the most of every drop.”
The ASA ruled that the ad implied the car had a low carbon output when in fact its emissions were only low by comparison with previous BMW models.