Trying to get the full green benefits of an electric car in Ireland is not helped by continued reliance on fossil fuels to generate electricity.

New data analysis shows the impact of electric vehicles around Europe varies hugely from nation-to-nation and in some countries they pollute more than petrol models.

Reuters reports that In Europe, where electric car sales are rising the fastest in the world, EVs in Poland and Kosovo actually generate more carbon emissions because grids are so coal-reliant, according to data compiled by research consultancy Radiant Energy Group.

Ireland ranks in the middle of European countries' green electricity table

Elsewhere around Europe, however, the picture is better, though this depends on what supplies grids and the time of day vehicles are charged.

Best performers are nuclear and hydroelectric-powered Switzerland at 100% carbon savings vis-a-vis gasoline vehicles, Norway 98%, France 96%, Sweden 95% and Austria 93%, according to the study shared with Reuters.

Charging an EV in Ireland, which sources 46% of its energy from renewables, saves roughly the same proportion of carbon as in Moldova, which sources 94% of energy from gas, the study found, because Ireland's backup fossil fuels are more carbon-intensive.

"Ireland produces a higher amount of zero-carbon electricity than Moldova - but it also gets about 13% of its electricity from oil (1.8 times dirtier than gas), 9% from coal (2.3 times dirtier than gas), and 3% from peat (2.6 times dirtier than gas)," said one of the researchers involved.

Laggards are Cyprus at 4%, Serbia 15%, Estonia 35% and the Netherlands 37%. An EV driver in Europe's biggest car manufacturing country, Germany, which relies on a mix of renewables and coal, makes a 55% greenhouse gas saving, the data also showed.