'Astongate': Aston Martin promises review of controversial EV report

Aston Martin boss promises to investigate circumstances surrounding report on the carbon footprint of electric vehicles and internal combustion engine cars at the heart of ‘astongate’ accusations

Aston Martin chief executive Tobias Moers has promised the company will undertake a review of the circumstances that led to the publication of a controversial report accused of downplaying the environmental benefits of electric vehicles (EVs) which was allegedly produced by a PR company registered to the home of one of the auto brand’s executives.

In an emailed statement, Moers said that the document had been commissioned prior to his appointment at the helm of the British carmaker. He added that the firm would now investigate how the report at the centre of the lobbying scandal had come about.

“I am concerned about the media coverage relating to the recently published Decarbonisation of Road Transport report,” he wrote. “The company’s participation in the report was initiated prior to me joining the business and I was not aware of the contents prior to publication.

“We are conducting a review into the circumstances surrounding the commissioning and publication of the report. Aston Martin is fully committed to the development of both hybrid and battery electric vehicles, which has been facilitated by our recently achieved technology agreement signed with Mercedes Benz AG.”

The report, which lists Aston Martin, Honda, Bosch, and McLaren among its contributors, was slammed by EV researchers for peddling a highly contested claim that EVs had to be driven for 48,000 miles before they delivered lower emissions than a petrol car – meaning that zero emission vehicles would only become ‘greener’ than fossil fuel alternatives after six years. 

The findings were covered by a raft of national newspapers over the weekend before being trashed by industry experts and EV researchers, who pointed to major generalisations and inaccuracies in the study’s calculations of lifecycle emissions for an EV and comparable internal combustion engine car that had the net result of downplaying EVs’ green credentials.

The report then attracted further controversy when it was revealed that the public relations firm that worked on the report, Clarendon Communications, is registered in the name of the wife of James Stephens, Aston Martin’s director of government and external affairs.

There have been growing calls for the companies behind the report to provide greater clarity about who commissioned, designed, and produced the analysis.

Today’s update from Moers comes just days after an Aston Martin spokesperson told BusinessGreen that the company had no “formal links” to Clarendon Communications and emphasised the PR agency had been “contracted to another report contributor”.

Bosch confirmed ealier this week that it had commissioned the study “alongside Honda, Optare, Aston Martin and McLaren with industry members including LowCVP and the RTFA”.

Read more: businessgreen.com