Mr. Bean Versus Electric Cars Sounds Like a Classic Sketch, Not Real Life

Rowan Atkinson wrote that ‘our honeymoon with electric cars is coming to an end’ in an astonishingly wordy opinion piece
Mr. Bean Versus Electric Cars Sounds Like a Classic Sketch, Not Real Life

Mr. Bean feels duped by a car — and we’re not talking about the blue Reliant Regal.

In an opinion piece penned over the weekend by Rowan Atkinson for The Guardian, the iconic physical comic and longtime gearhead expressed his growing fear that the emergence of electric vehicles is not the “environmental panacea” that early adopters, Atkinson included, once hoped it would be. Atkinson holds a bachelor’s level degree in electrical and electronic engineering as well as a master’s degree in control systems, so his interest in – and skepticism of — electric vehicles has an academic nature about it.

The U.K. government has proposed a ban on new combustion engine car production by 2030, a move Atkinson advocates strongly against. “Increasingly, I’m feeling that our honeymoon with electric cars is coming to an end, and that’s no bad thing,” he writes. I’m not sure which episode of Mr. Bean I want to see more — Mr. Bean Fights a Tesla, or Mr. Bean Goes on a Honeymoon With a Tesla.

Atkinson argues that the proportionally larger environmental impact of electric car production compared to that of traditional gas-powered vehicles coupled with the former’s limited longevity make exploring synthetic fuel options and the capabilities of hydrogen a more viable path forward for the future of consumer vehicles. Meanwhile, those of us who need a car now should “buy an old (gas-powered) one and use it as little as possible” if we wish to create the least amount of environmental impact.

The opinion piece has already provoked responses — The Washington Post posited that the age of the electric car is only just beginning and questioned Atkinson’s optimism on alternative fuel sources, while the nonprofit environmental journalism publication Inside Climate News argued that electric vehicles more than made up for the difference in carbon output from their production while on the road. The latter even quoted criticism that Atkinson was “cherry-picking” the data to mislead readers to a false conclusion, an accusation that he didn’t take lightly.

Atkinson responded to Inside Climate News via email, writing, “Everyone cherry-picks evidence to support his or her thesis and I’m sure that your scientists and experts will be doing the same. My primary aim was to encourage debate, perhaps a more nuanced debate about the vastly complex issue of carbon emissions and the motor car than I have seen hitherto. The fact that you’re having your discussion at all is great news to me.”

For a guy this famous for saying nothing, Mr. Bean yells at nerds with astounding verbosity.

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