Mr. Bean on Electric Vehicles

Rowan Atkinson is more than just a comedic actor. He also has degrees in electrical engineering and control systems. As he writes in the Guardian, Atkinson was an early customer of EVs, but is now beginning to have second thoughts regarding some of the drawbacks.

From the opinion piece:
As you may know, the government has proposed a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030. The problem with the initiative is that it seems to be largely based on conclusions drawn from only one part of a car’s operating life: what comes out of the exhaust pipe. Electric cars, of course, have zero exhaust emissions, which is a welcome development, particularly in respect of the air quality in city centres. But if you zoom out a bit and look at a bigger picture that includes the car’s manufacture, the situation is very different.

  • Pete

Thanks for sharing that! I may be “stuck” on my thinking regarding BEVs (favorable), but I have to respect Atkinson for being relevantly educated and not “just” a Hollywood opinion holder.

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.

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No, the problem is relying on garbage data debunked long ago. That’s just another hit piece. The author was indeed duped, but not the way he thinks he was.

Here’s a Twitter thread from Auke Hoekstra, a researcher well-known in the field:



The problem with Mr. Bean’s article is the expectation of immaculate virgin birth. Initially airplanes killed lots of people but in time became safer than cars. Of course there are birthing difficulties but that is not a good reason to kill progress.

The Captain

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See myth #2 about EVs from the EPA

Nevermind. No one is going to go and click on that, so here it is

Myth #2: Electric vehicles are worse for the climate than gasoline cars because of battery manufacturing.

  • FACT: The greenhouse gas emissions associated with an electric vehicle over its lifetime are typically lower than those from an average gasoline-powered vehicle, even when accounting for manufacturing.
    Some studies have shown that making a typical EV can create more carbon pollution than making a gasoline car. This is because of the additional energy required to manufacture an EV’s battery. Still, over the lifetime of the vehicle, total GHG emissions associated with manufacturing, charging, and driving an EV are typically lower than the total GHGs associated with a gasoline car. That’s because EVs have zero tailpipe emissions and are typically responsible for significantly fewer GHGs during operation (see Myth 1 above).For example, researchers at Argonne National Laboratory estimated emissions for both a gasoline car and an EV with a 300-mile electric range. In their estimates, while GHG emissions from EV manufacturing and end-of-life are higher (shown in orange below), total GHGs for the EV are still lower than those for the gasoline car.

Bar charts showing lifecycle GHGs for an electric vehicle and a gas car

Estimates shown2 from GREET 2 2021 are intended to be illustrative only. Estimates represent model year 2020. Emissions will vary based on assumptions about the specific vehicles being compared, EV battery size and chemistry, vehicle lifetimes, and the electricity grid used to recharge the EV, among other factors.

Above, the blue bar represents emissions associated with the battery. The orange bars encompass the rest of the vehicle manufacturing (e.g., extracting materials, manufacturing and assembling other parts, and vehicle assembly) and end-of-life (recycling or disposal). The gray bars represent upstream emissions associated with producing gasoline or electricity (U.S. mix), and the yellow bar shows tailpipe emissions during vehicle operations.