Which electric cars does Rowan Atkinson own?

The actor is being blamed for ‘damaging’ electric car sales in the UK, but which electric models does he actually own, if any? We find out.

Rowan Atkinson, best known for his role as Mr Bean, was recently blamed for the slowing of electric car sales in the United Kingdom, after the actor penned a controversial column questioning the sustainability of electric vehicles (EVs). 

RELATED: Rowan Atkinson drives hydrogen-powered Toyota GR Yaris at Goodwood

As well as popularising that now-iconic little green Mini with black bonnet, Atkinson is a massive car enthusiast who owns a plethora of poster cars and even calls himself an early adopter of electric vehicles. 

He’s also not just some celebrity opining on a topic he knows little about; Atkinson holds a master’s degree in engineering and specialised in electrical engineering during his undergraduate studies.

Atkinson published an article with The Guardian in 2023 titled I love electric vehicles – and was an early adopter. But increasingly I feel duped“, criticising EV advocates for only focusing on lower tailpipe emissions, without considering the emissions required to make the cars.

“Electric cars, of course, have zero exhaust emissions, which is a welcome development… But if you zoom out a bit and look at a bigger picture that includes the car’s manufacture, the situation is very different,” Atkinson wrote. 

Atkinson claimed the lithium-ion batteries in EVs only last about 10 years (which was later amended to say “upwards of 10 years”), and are “absurdly heavy”, with “huge amounts of energy are required to make them”.

While many news outlets latched onto a quote in which Atkinson described EVs as “soulless”, it was actually part of a longer sentence that read “Electric vehicles may be a bit soulless, but they’re wonderful mechanisms: fast, quiet and, until recently, very cheap to run”.

Now the controversy has been renewed again after Atkinson was name-checked during a meeting of the House of Lords – the second chamber of the UK Parliament.

During the House of Lords’ February 2024 environment and climate change committee meeting, a letter from the Green Alliance think tank described Atkinson’s column as “damaging” to the government’s efforts to phase out internal combustion engine vehicles by 2035.

“One of the most damaging articles was a comment piece written by Rowan Atkinson in The Guardian, which has been roundly debunked,” the Green Alliance pressure group said, according to a Sky News report

“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.”

While there were 50,000 more new EVs sold in the UK in 2023 compared to 2022, overall growth in EV sales flatlined compared to the year prior.

As a result, the British government has nearly halved its EV sales forecast, with projected sales initially forecast to be 67 per cent of all new cars sold by 2027 being EV, now cut down to 38 per cent.

Does Rowan Atkinson own any electric cars?

Despite his doubts about electric cars, Atkinson apparently purchased an electric car before they were commonplace.

In his Guardian column, the actor says he purchased his first hybrid vehicle 18 years ago, and his first fully-electric vehicle nine years ago.

While he didn’t refer to a specific make or model in his article, Atkinson has been spotted driving an electric BMW i3, believed to have been purchased around 2015.

The Mr Bean star has a massive car collection worth roughly $US12.6 million ($AU18.86 million), with most being classic and high-end cars. Perhaps the most notorious car he has owned was the purple McLaren F1 that he crashed in spectacular fashion… Twice.

After selling the F1 in 2015, Atkinson was seen daily driving the quirky BMW i3 around London – but he hasn’t been spotted in an electric vehicle in recent years.

These days, his daily driver appears to be a red Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG with gullwing doors, while he enjoys cutting laps at the Goodwood Revival in his gorgeous 1965 Plymouth Barracuda.

That said, Atkinson is outspoken about his desire to move towards a hydrogen-powered future.

While attending the 2023 Goodwood Festival of Speed, Atkinson drove a hydrogen cell-powered Toyota GR Yaris and said he supported “the notion of keeping our minds open to how we are going to power cars into the future”.

“I think particularly for motorsport, electric racing cars are tricky as they sound like a washing machine moving on to a spin cycle,” he said.

“It’s hard but a lot of people are trying to retain the emotion [of an engine] which only a piston-engined car can give you. Maybe we’ll get used to electric racing cars and love them one day, but at the moment there is, let’s say, a certain customer resistance to them.”

The post Which electric cars does Rowan Atkinson own? appeared first on Drive.

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