Blame put on Mr Bean actor Rowan Atkinson for slow electric car sales

Vintage car BMW 328 Mille Miglia Roadster (1939) and Mr Bean pilot arrived in Rome (near Castel sant'Angelo) during the historic race Mille Miglia started in Brescia. The route is: Brescia - Rome - Brescia. Shot in a public street. No permission required.

Rowan Atkinson has been held to blame for slowing down sales and “damaging” the reputation of electric cars (EVs).

During the House of Lords’ environment and climate change committee hearing last week, the Mr. Bean actor received some name-checking.

The Johnny English star’s June 2023 comment post, according to thinktank Green Alliance, was detrimental to the government’s efforts to phase out petrol and diesel cars by 2035. The group also shared its opinions on the primary challenges facing the government in this endeavour.

The pressure group told peers in a letter that was shared: “One of the most damaging articles was a comment piece written by Rowan Atkinson in The Guardian which has been roundly debunked.

“Unfortunately, fact checks never reach the same breadth of audience as the original false claim, emphasising the need to ensure high editorial standards around the net zero transition.”

The 69-year-old actor’s piece was headlined: “I love electric vehicles – and was an early adopter. But increasingly I feel duped.”

EVs were attacked by Atkinson as being “a bit soulless” and criticised them for using lithium-ion batteries.

He said: “Increasingly, I’m feeling that our honeymoon with electric cars is coming to an end, and that’s no bad thing.” He proposed remedies like people retaining their cars longer and using more synthetic fuel would eliminate the need for EVs.

A graduate of electrical and electronic engineering, the actor defined himself as a “car person” and claimed he told people to “hold fire for now” on EVs unless they had an old diesel vehicle.

The next week, Simon Evans, the deputy editor and senior policy editor of the climate news website Carbon Brief, responded to Atkinson’s accusations and wrote a rebuttal in The Guardian.

Mr Evans wrote: “Atkinson’s biggest mistake is his failure to recognise that electric vehicles already offer significant global environmental benefits, compared with combustion-engine cars.”

Atkinson’s opinions were used to illustrate a larger argument about EV sales being hampered by “misleading” news.

The committee meeting also emphasised the need for more charging stations, lower EV costs, and “a lack of clear and consistent messaging from the government” as other issues.

2 thoughts on “Blame put on Mr Bean actor Rowan Atkinson for slow electric car sales”

  1. I think all of us have a brain, I agree with Rowan Atkinsons comments and had already drawn those conclusions, I work with people the world over and the consensus is the same. Going electric is flawed, they are not as efficient as petrol or diesel, due to their substantial extra weight, and we as a country cannot support electric car owners efficiently, many of them are returning to petrol car ownership. I believe electric cars have their place, I don’t regard them as cars for enthusiasts, simply bits of ‘tech’ that do the school run or take you to Tescos. They are not a viable commercial option either for business, they lack range and convienince, they not as robust as petrol and diesel.

    The country has no intentions to go Zero emissions either, with new power stations burning wooden pellets. We already run at 95% network capacity at 5pm every evening, if everyone had an electric car we would need another 19 more power stations in the uk.

    Mr Simon Evans needs to wake up to the fact that electric cars are only as green as the power source that they are pugged into, some need more than 100kwh to reach 100% charge, that would power my house for two weeks! Petrol and diesel likewise are as green as the fuel they are filled with, and synthetic fuels are based on a net zero principle, and are taken from a sustainable source, much like the wooden pellets that power stations use are taken from trees that are grown for this purpose.

    My conclusion is that electric cars have their place, but are not a sustainable answer either. They need more development, likewise an internal combustion can be developed to be greener.

    We are not being given a choice, and this is the feeling that I get from consumers, and manufacturers.

    I work in the automotive industry and motorsport

  2. Kevan Chippindall-Higgin

    Rowan Atkiinson has the qualifications to recognise the shortcomings of EVs. The grid will be unable to cope with the huge new demands that even 7.5 KW chargers will place on the system, never mind that while electrical demand rises, generation has dropped and continues to do so.

    Then there are the public finances to consider. The only way to shift EVs is by bribery. An EV attracts miniscule Benefits in Kind (BiK) contributions and of course produces not road fuel duty whatsoever. If charged at home, VAT is only charged at 5%, knocking an even bigger whole in the finances and it is not as if we are exactly flush with cash at the moment.

    EVs have their place, but if you want to tow the caravan to the West Country for Easter, the range will drop to double figures and charge points are not designed for vehiles towing. Add to this charging time and it quickly becomes clear that they are wildly impractical.

    We must then look at second hand values. After a few years on a fleet, which is where the bulk of them are sold due to the expense of them, in what state is the battery? If it has been slow charged, probably not too bad, but if it has always been fast charged, then it will deteriorate. If range is not an issue, then there are some great deals to be had, simply because the trade does not like these things. However, if range is an issue, after 3 years it will have reduced by around 25% and in some cases, 50%. The cost of a new battery is 5 figures, making the purchase poor value for money. So the private buyer does not want them either, added to which there are very few technicians capable of fixing them.

    Last but not least is the fire hazard. Any car can catch fire, but providing the cycle of oxygen, heat and fuel can be broken, extinguishing it is fairly straightforward. With Li Ion batteries, you end up with thermal runaway and they are a total nightmare to deal with. Luton Airport had a massive fire in a multi storey car park that wrecked hundreds of vehicles and got so hot, the whole structure will have to be demolished.

    The blame was laid at the door of a diesel Range Rover which while not impossible, is unlikely. Even if it was the source, as soon as a battery got going, the fire was totally out of control and spread like, well, wildfire. Electric buses have been taken out of service in London after three spontaneously combusted. A new car transporter was adrift in the North Sea for around a week as its entire cargo of new cars was destroyed by a fire started by an EV. One man died before the ship was abandoned. The result is that insurers are viewing anything with a Li Ion battery with considerable suspiscion and premiums are soaring. Other organisations are viewing EVs as too high a fire risk to be admitted into enclosed or multi storey car parks, ferries, tunnels and so forth.

    This idiot committee continues to bleat that government must do more. It is asking turkeys to vote for Christmas. It seriously expects government to commit to spending trillions on charging, new generation and an upgraded grid while seeing its revenue from road fuel duty, road tax and VAT diminishing. The country is skint already. None of this makes any sense whatsoever and the sensible general public has recognised this and voted with its feet.

    Of course, the sting in the tail is that despite the 2035 phasing out of hydrocarbon powered cars, from 2030, 80% of sales must be EVs and a £15,000 a car fine levied if this is not acheived. Atkinson is quite right. People should keep their cars longer. I have three. One is 7 years old, another 20 years old and the third 34 years old. Admittedly the oldest is in a bit of a state and undergoing restoration, but mechanically, it is top hole.

    The result of this dogma driven ideology will be that car manufactuing is going to take an awful hit. People cannot buy new real cars, the EVs are too expensive and flaky for many, so they will stick with what they have and in the process, discover just how well built modern cars really are and how long, with a bit of care, they can last.

    Luckily, the EU has at last recognised the utter folly of this policy from an industrial view point and is starting to be sensible. The UK meanwhile is off its head, but no matter. The time will come when there will be convoys of new, proper cars heading north from southern Ireland. Northern Ireland remains in the Single Market, so the traffic of UK spec cars being bought in the republic, imported across the border with no hindrance, being registered in the north and sent to the UK. NI is within the UK, so not checks are needed either. Job done.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top