Rowan Atkinson blamed for slumping electric car sales

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Rowan Atkinson has been blamed for plunging electric car sales according to the House of Lords.

The British comedian and actor was blamed for “damaging” public perception of electric cars after an article he wrote for the Guardian in 2023 poured cold water on the emerging clean technology.

Atkinson is a known car enthusiast and has owned iconic supercars such as the McLaren F1.

In his 2023 column Atkinson says he felt “duped” by electric cars despite being an early adopter. He claimed that electric cars aren’t as environmentally friendly as they seem.

Atkinson says the problem with this is it focuses on just one part of the car’s operating life: what comes out of the exhaust pipes and ignores other elements such as the manufacturing and the mining of rare earth minerals, shipping and building of the batteries.

The finding that Atkinson was partly to blame for slowing sales of electric cars was revealed by the House of Lords environment and climate change committee.

UK think tank the Green Alliance says: “One of the most damaging articles was a comment piece written by Rowan Atkinson in The Guardian which has been roundly debunked.”

Other deterrents identified by the committee were the high purchase price and insufficient charging infrastructure.

Uses on X were quick to support Atkinson with one stating: “If Rowan Atkinson is responsible then give him a knighthood.”

Another users says: “Rowan Atkinson with a degree and masters in Engineering. Knows more than those pushing electric cars.”

High power costs in the UK can also mean fast charging your electric car can be more expensive than refuelling a petrol or diesel vehicle.

The UK is planning to ban sales of petrol and diesel vehicles from 2035.

Sales of electric cars are slowing in many other parts of the world as cost of living pressures bite.

Volkswagen has mothballed plans to build more battery factories as demand in Europe slumped according to a report from Reuters.

US maker GM has also slashed its electric vehicle targets as buyers shun the vehicles for conventional powered cars.

Australia faces similar challenges to the UK where electric cars often cost tens of thousands more than petrol equivalents and public charging infrastructure is extremely inadequate for mass adoption.

In Australia sales of electric cars jumped by 161 per cent in 2023 with more than 87,000 EVs finding a new home.

Tesla and emerging brand BYD led the charge accounting for more than 58,000 sales between them.

Head of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries Tony Weber says the latest January sales figures show Australia’s growing preference for big cars powered by petrol and diesel.

“Even with the current incentives offered by the Commonwealth and State and Territory Governments, sales of battery electric vehicles appear to have plateaued during recent months.”

Sales of electric cars only grew by 0.8 per cent in January compared to the same month in 2023.

Electric vehicle sales have softened in part because of logistic hassles for Tesla, which had to turn around a ship carrying thousands of cars due to biosecurity concerns. The brand also had to pause deliveries of the Model 3 to rectify child seat trouble in the latest model.