Green BMW ad slammed as ‘misleading’

Britain has banned a “misleading” BMW advertisement that claimed the German firm’s new electric car offered “100 percent joy, zero percent emissions,” the nation’s advertising watchdog announced Wednesday.

Green BMW ad slammed as 'misleading'
Photo: DPA

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.

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Young activists take German states to court over climate inaction

Campaigners began a legal challenge against five German regions on Monday to force them to take stronger action on climate change, emboldened by a landmark recent court ruling in favour of environmental protection.

Young activists take German states to court over climate inaction
Demonstrators from the Fridays for Future movement protest in Gießen, Hesse, with a sign saying "No wishy-washy, no climate lashing". Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Frank Rumpenhorst

The plaintiffs are basing their case on a sensational verdict by Germany’s constitutional court in April which found that Germany’s plans to curb CO2 emissions were insufficient to meet the targets of the Paris climate agreement and placed an unfair burden on future generations.

In a major win for activists, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s federal government then brought forward its date for carbon neutrality by five years to 2045, and raised its 2030 target for greenhouse gas reductions.


On Monday, 16 children and young adults began proceedings against the regions of Hesse, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Saarland, with support of environmental NGO Environmental Action Germany (DUH).

They are charging that none of the states targeted by the legal action have passed sufficiently strong climate legislation at the local level, according to DUH.

“The federal government can’t succeed on its own,” lead lawyer Remo Klinger said in a press conference, highlighting state competence in the area of transport.

DUH worked closely together with the youth climate movement Fridays For Future to find activists willing to front the challenges, the group said.

Seventeen-year-old plaintiff Alena Hochstadt said the western state of Hesse, known for its Frankfurt banking hub, had always been her home but she feared having “no future here”.

Concern about the risk of “floods, storms and droughts” led her and other campaigners to seek “a legal basis for binding climate protection”.

READ ALSO: Climate change made German floods ‘more likely and more intense’

Hesse’s ministers for climate and the economy said they were “surprised” by the announcement.

“DUH clearly has not yet understood that we in Hesse are well ahead,” Priska Hinz and Tarek Al-Wazir said in a joint statement, drawing attention to an energy future law from 2012, before the Paris climate agreement.

In July, DUH-supported activists took the states of Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia and Brandenburg to court on similar grounds.