The public's apathy for electric vehicles might turn out to be a good thing if research from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology is to be believed, with the thinkers claiming that charging chemical car batteries using electricity from coal-fired power stations generates more pollution than building and running regular petrol engine models.

Furthermore, manufacturing processes in electric car factories produce more toxic waste than the leftovers that come from building traditional models, with the production of electric vehicles having the potential to produce twice the level of global warming gasses on a per vehicle basis.

The report, which looked at the entire life-cycle of cars from production, through being driven to ASDA twice a week and on to their eventual dismantling and scrapping, found that in terms of the potential for pollution -- generating everything from acid rain to smog -- electric cars were at best equal to internal combustion models and often worse.

In fact, battery chemicals and their many manufacturing difficulties mean electric cars have already done most of their damaging-the-world stuff in the factory before they even hit the road. [Wiley via BBC]