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FACTCHECK

Debunked: Video does not show a diesel-powered generator recharging an electric Bus Éireann vehicle

The video prompted complaints about environmental initiatives

A VIDEO THAT appears to show an electric Bus Éireann vehicle being re-charged by a generator has been shared online along with claims that the generator is being run on diesel.

Since Monday, versions of the claim accompanying the video have accumulated hundreds of likes on Instagram and have been seen more than 32,000 times on Facebook, as well as more than a million times on X, the platform previously known as Twitter, according to statistics provided by those sites.

The video was also shared on Reddit, where it was described as showing “Dublin Bus charging their electric busses using diesel generator”.

A logo for Bus Éireann can be seen on the vehicle in the video. Dublin Bus vehicles typically have a Dublin Bus logo in the same spot instead. Bus Éireann is a state-owned coach operator that mostly operates outside the Dublin area, while Dublin Bus is a separate company that operates services in the capital instead. 

“Unless I’m missing something here, you actually couldn’t make this up”, radio DJ Niall Boylan said in a tweet viewed more than 245,000 times. “Electric buses purchased to avoid using fossil fuels are charged using diesel generators in a depot. This is clear virtue signaling and utter nonsense.”

“Why are diesel generators being used to charge your electric buses that we’re being told are ‘green’ and ‘low emission’?”, another X user replied to a post by Bus Éireann.

Others blamed the Green Party and said that it showed that environmentalism was a “delusion”.

However, Bus Éireann said that these claims about diesel being used to power the generators were wrong.

The company has clarified that the generators in the video, which were used as a temporary measure, were run on sustainable fuel made from vegetable oil.

“This generator is not run on diesel,” Bus Éireann said in a post online. “These generators are fueled with Hydro-treated Vegetable Oil (HVO), which is an advanced fossil-free biofuel made by hydrotreating waste and/or sustainable raw materials.”

A representative from Clem Jacob Hire, a Waterford-based plant and machine-hire company whose logo can be seen on the generators in the video, confirmed to The Journal that all their generators run on HVO, which the company has also mentioned in social media posts.

“This is a temporary generator to facilitate staff training with our new EVs in advance of power being activated at our Limerick depot in the coming days”, Bus Éireann explained.

“The electrification of our Limerick fleet follows on from the successful introduction of our Athlone Electric Town Service, Ireland’s first electric town service. Three training vehicles are currently on site in Limerick with the delivery of the full fleet expected in the coming weeks.”

Climate change and Green policies and initiatives are frequently the target of misinformation

In particular, there are numerous claims that electric vehicles are worse for the environment than cars that run on fossil fuels, or that they are dangerous, or unreliable.

The Journal has previously debunked claims that a bus fire and a car explosion were caused by electric vehicles. Claims about whether batteries in electric vehicles made them less environmentally friendly than petrol or diesel cars were also found to be false, as well as a photo described as showing an electric bus being towed by a Diesel vehicle. 

Verdict

False. A video of a Bus Éireann vehicle being recharged does not show a diesel-powered generator.

Bus Éireann and the company that hired out the machine both confirmed that it runs on Hydro-treated Vegetable Oil (HVO), a biofuel that is more sustainable than fossil fuels. 

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