Debunking Myths: Answering Rowan Atkinson’s EV Skepticism

EVs have been a hot topic of debate recently, with some critics, like comedian Rowan Atkinson, expressing skepticism about their environmental benefits. The Guardian asked Simon Evans of Carbon Brief to debunk some common misconceptions about EVs, using insights from , and show why EVs are not just the future, but the present of sustainable transportation.

  1. Global Environmental Benefits: Atkinson seems to have missed the memo that electric cars are already doing a lot of good for the environment. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is pretty sure that EVs are better for the environment than traditional cars. Plus, they’re cheaper to run, even when electricity prices are high.
  2. Life Cycle Emissions: Atkinson thinks EVs don’t do enough to cut emissions in the long run. But the truth is, when you look at the whole life of an EV, from digging up the materials for the batteries to actually driving the car, they’re cutting planet-warming emissions by two-thirds compared to petrol cars in the UK.
  3. Battery Production Emissions: Atkinson pointed out that making EVs creates 70% more emissions, according to Volvo. But here’s the thing: while making batteries does create emissions, it’s not as bad as the CO2 emissions from running petrol and diesel cars.
  4. Hydrogen as an Alternative Fuel: Atkinson thinks hydrogen could be a cool alternative to petrol and diesel. But the research shows that hydrogen cars would only cut emissions by 39% today, compared to petrol engines, and maybe 56% by 2030. That’s not as good as what EVs can do.
  5. Battery Lifespan: Atkinson said EV batteries only last “about 10 years”. But according to Autocar, most modern batteries are likely to last as long as the car itself. Tesla even designs their batteries to outlast the car.
  6. Keeping Old Petrol Cars: Atkinson reckons it’s better to keep old petrol cars running than to switch to EVs. But a new EV would start doing good for the climate in less than four years, compared to an old petrol engine.
  7. Rare Earth Elements in Batteries: Atkinson thinks lithium-ion batteries contain rare earth elements. But that’s not true; they don’t.

So, to wrap up, Atkinson’s got it wrong. EVs are already helping to cut emissions, and they’re key to meeting climate goals in the UK and around the world. The alternatives he’s suggesting aren’t widely available, aren’t as good for the environment, and are going to cost more in the long run.

Pic (cc) Loco Steve on Flickr