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.

That car, you'll remember, was co-developed with a hydro electric power creator in Sweden, and Kerssemakers argues that such initiatives are key to ensuring electrified cars are authentic.

"I cannot build nuclear power stations or the like to ensure that electric cars are as clean as possible," he says. "But I can do my bit to ensure our part of the equation is as good as it can be.

"So we have a most efficient plug-in hybrid, we are partnered with a clean energy supplier so that customers can use certain charging points knowing the energy was created with minimal pollution. That may not be a large-scale solution yet, but it shows that it can be done."

So who's right? Clearly both men have agendas based in the products they sell, but even splitting that out of the argument doesn't provide a clear-cut answer. What do you reckon?