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Fact Check-Photo shows electric cars in China, not France

Posts with a photograph of an abandoned car lot are falsely claiming it shows an electric car graveyard in France. Reuters fact-checked a similar claim in the past. The photo in question, however, does not illustrate this story, but was taken in Hangzhou, China.

Examples can be seen here and here .

The text in one post reads: “Ok you tree hugging liberals ... this is an electric car graveyard in France. See, when the battery wears out, the cost of replacing the battery is more expensive than the car, therefore, they get tossed out like a broken toy.”

Reuters debunked photos claiming to show an electric car cemetery in France, where cars were taken off the road due to financial difficulties and not problems with the batteries in May 2021, here . More than 2,500 of the cars had been resold.

The photos in these claims, however, do not show the same cars or the same country.

A closer look at the photograph reveals a watermark on the roof of the car on the bottom right corner that reads “@GREG_ABANDONED”.

The Instagram account by this handle is dedicated to documenting abandoned places, and it shared the earliest iteration of the photo Reuters could find (here) on June 19, 2021.

Greg Abandoned, the account owner, has stated he does not disclose his photo locations to keep these undisturbed, but he told Reuters he currently lives in China.

In the “car graveyards” story highlight on his Instagram page (here), the cars with the white tops as seen in the photos circulating on social media appear to have the logo of Chinese electric vehicle company Kandi (en.kandivehicle.com/).

Kandi did not immediately respond to Reuters request for comment so Reuters was unable to definitively determine why these cars were left in the lot.

Fact checker Lead Stories (here) pointed to an article (here) published on April 25, 2019 on Shanghaiist, where the third photograph in the featured slideshow features a matching skyline with the same trees, buildings and radio tower as the photograph in the posts.

Shanghaiist identifies the location of the lot as “on the outskirts of the city of Hangzhou along the Qiantang River.”

Another article (here) in March 2019 appears to show the same lot. In the second photo in the slideshow, the same shed with a white roof can be seen along the water. The spacing between the groups of cars on the left side is the same.

Both articles and the photograph in the posts show blue license plates, which are found in China, as seen here and here . License plates in France, on the other hand, are white (here).

VERDICT

Miscaptioned. The cars shown in the photo are located in China, not France.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work  here  .         

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