Mr Bean star Rowan Atkinson has been blamed for “damaging” the reputation of electric vehicles, and for their low sales.
The actor’s name was mentioned in the House of Lords during its environment and climate committee meeting yesterday.
At the meeting, ThinkTank Green Alliance spoke about the obstacles facing the British Government in their bid to phase out petrol and diesel cars before 2035.
It was at this point that a comment piece from Rowan Atkinson, which was published last June, came up in conversation.
The piece’s headline read, “I love electric vehicles – and was an early adopter. But increasingly I feel duped”.
In a letter which was shared among their peers, ThinkTank Green Alliance stated the following.
“One of the most damaging articles was a comment piece written by Rowan Atkinson in The Guardian which has been roundly debunked”, they began.
“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”.
In the piece, Rowan Atkinson had called EVs “a bit soulless”, while criticising the use of their lithium-ion batteries.
The Johnny English star also suggested that drivers should keep their car for longer time periods, and increase their use of synthetic fuel, which would lessen the need for EVs.
“Increasingly, I’m feeling that our honeymoon with electric cars is coming to an end, and that’s no bad thing”, he wrote.
The actor had advised friends to “hold fire for now” on EVs, unless they drive an old Diesel vehicle.
Rowan Atkinson has always described himself as a “car person”, having obtained a degree in electrical and electronic engineering.
A week later, deputy editor of The Guardian Simon Evans, who is also senior policy editor of climate news site Carbon Brief, dismissed Atkinson’s piece.
“Atkinson’s biggest mistake is his failure to recognise that electric vehicles already offer significant global environmental benefits, compared with combustion-engine cars”, Mr Evans scribed.
This piece published by Atkinson was also used to make a point about such “misleading” reports about the sales of EVs.
The meeting at the House of Lords also mentioned insufficient numbers of charging points, “a lack of clear and consistent messaging from the government”, and higher EVs prices, as other challenges which the government face in their hopes of phasing out Petrol and Diesel.