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Rowan Atkinson has been blamed by the House of Lords for the plunge in sales of electric cars.
The Mr Bean actor, 69, described the green machines as ‘a bit soulless’ in a comment piece he penned in June last year.
The Lord’s environment and climate change committee has since been told the actor was partly to blame for ‘damaging’ public opinions on electric vehicles (EVs).
It comes as new petrol and diesel cars are due to be banned from 2035 under Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s net zero strategy – a plan designed to encourage drivers to buy EVs.
The Green Alliance pressure group said: ‘One of the most damaging articles was a comment piece written by Rowan Atkinson in the Guardian.
Atkinson, who is also known for his starring role in the Blackadder series, has a degree in electrical engineering and control systems, and described the cars as ‘a bit soulless’ but ‘wonderful mechanisms’.
‘But increasingly, I feel a little duped… I’m feeling that our honeymoon with electric cars is coming to an end, and that’s no bad thing,’ he wrote in his comment piece.
EV advocates slammed the actor for his article, accusing him of wrongly representing the present state of battery technology, The Telegraph reported.
Simon Evans, of the Carbon Brief website, penned: ‘Mr Atkinson’s biggest mistake is his failure to recognise that electric vehicles already offer significant global environmental benefits, compared with combustion-engine cars.’
People warned in Tuesday’s report that expensive price tags, insufficient charging methods and mixed messaging are halting some drivers from purchasing EVs.
Baroness Parminter, who chaired the committee’s EV inquiry, said: ‘Surface transport is the UK’s highest-emitting sector for CO2, with passenger cars responsible for over half those emissions.’
People who testified to the committee regarding the rollout of EVs brought up the issue of ‘a lack of clear and consistent messaging from the Government’ – allegedly providing ‘a vacuum for inaccurate press reporting to fill the void’.
The committee’s report mentioned a submission from the Green Alliance pressure group, which aimed to blame Atkinson for the public negative perception of EVs.
The submission was cited by people as proof of misleading reporting about the negatives of electric cars and battery technology.
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