Rowan Atkinson blamed for falling sales of electric cars after saying he was 'duped' by 'soulless' EVs

Rowan Atkinson blamed for falling sales of electric cars after saying he was 'duped' by 'soulless' EVs

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Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 07/02/2024

- 10:29

The environmental group said the Government needed to do more to improve the perception of EVs

Actor Rowan Atkinson has been accused of harming the reputation of electric vehicles by a key campaign group in a recently released report warning of the EV transition failing.

A report from the House of Lords Environment and Climate Change Committee called on the Government to accelerate its support for the EV charging network to ensure the UK does not lag behind other countries in the transition to electric vehicles.

The 128-page report outlined a number of key recommendations, including tackling the “concerted campaign of misinformation” about electric vehicles.

It said the Government should take a “more proactive and leading role” in communicating a positive view of electric vehicles to drivers and provide more comprehensive information.

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Electric car charger and Rowan Atkinson

Rowan Atkinson has been accused of impacting the perception of EVs


As part of the report, written evidence was used from a number of influential organisations such as Zapmap and Transport & Environment, as well as car manufacturers like Ford and Stellantis.

Written evidence from the environmental group Green Alliance placed blame on actor Rowan Atkinson for contributing to the harm of the perception of electric vehicles.

It stated: “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.”

Rowan Atkinson

Rowan Atkinson is a known petrolhead


In a Guardian column written in June, the Mr Bean actor said he was an early adopter of electric vehicles, adding that he “loved” them, but claimed he felt “duped”.

He suggested that drivers across the UK may be better off by keeping their old petrol vehicles rather than switching to electric cars.

Atkinson, who also starred in the Johnny English film series, described electric vehicles as “a bit soulless” and questioned whether they live up to their environmental credentials.

Rowan Atkinson has been a vocal supporter of vehicles for much of his life, often being spotted in luxury and classic cars like a Jaguar Mark VII M, McLaren F1 and an Austin Metro.

He has supported the use of hydrogen fuel cells for passenger cars, calling it a “popular and accessible choice”.

The 69-year-old is a regular competitor at Goodwood Revival and the Festival of Speed and has supported the use of alternative fuels as a way to cut emissions in petrol and diesel vehicles.

He said: “I used synthetic fuel in my racing Jaguar at Goodwood this year and found it to be not just as good as the pump petrol used previously but in performance terms, superior to it in every way.

“It’s perhaps unsurprising that if you synthesise a fuel from first principles, you’re going to make a better product than that produced by just applying heat and pressure to some black gunk you dig out of the ground.”


Rowan Atkinson in his McLaren F1

Rowan Atkinson in his McLaren F1


New rules from Goodwood will require competitors at the Revival event to use a fuel that has a minimum of 70 per cent advanced sustainable components, in line with requirements from the FIA.

This will act as a drop-in fuel, allowing drivers to keep their engines and systems unmodified and without compromising engine performance.

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