Maserati boss Harald Wester's proclamation that electrification of cars is "nonsense" proved to be a Shanghai show-stopper.

China, after all, is supposed to be the home of the electric car and a prime mover behind the philosophy. Government initiatives push the technology hard, and sales, while well below expectations, are at least in numbers you need more than two hands to count.

But, as you can read here, Wester backed his assertions with facts, producing numbers which demonstrated the average CO2 outputs of the power stations producing the electricity for electric cars, showing that they typically exceed the best petrol and diesel engines can offer.

There are at least two sides to this argument, and an alternative view is expressed by Volvo's chief of product planning Lex Kerssemakers, whose company is currently enjoying greater-than-expected demand for the Volvo V60 plug-in hybrid.