"We’re trying to take the world to a better place here."

Where You Bean

Rowan Atkinson, the actor best known for playing "Mr. Bean," apparently has a bone to pick with electric vehicles — and in response, elecric car fans have a bone to pick with him.

In an editorial published over the weekend by The Guardian, Atkinson said that he feels, more and more, that he's been "duped" by the environmental promises by the industry, which he invested in early.

"When you start to drill into the facts," he wrote, "electric motoring doesn’t seem to be quite the environmental panacea it is claimed to be."

In short, Atkinson's argument stems from reports that the manufacturing of EVs produces 70 percent more pollution than that of standard cars, due to the production of the lithium-ion batteries that power them. While that figure, which was popularized by Volvo ahead of the 2021 Cop26 environmental summit, is indeed true, it doesn't tell the whole story — and undersells how much pollution gasoline-fueled cars generate, too.

Both the Washington Post and Inside Climate News dedicated editorials to bashing the Mr. Bean actor for his shoddy take, noting that although lithium-ion batteries are far from a perfect solution and have many issues of their own, his advice to keep one's old gas-powered as long as possible while alternative fuels and battery sources are developed is deeply flawed.

Rowan Gaskinson

In reality, the consensus is that while EVs are environmentally taxing to produce in the first place, their carbon emissions are significantly better when you look at their entire lifetime on the road.

In fact, ICN called Atkinson's argument "misleading" and in line with the fossil fuel industry's interest in slowing the switch to EVs.

The environmental news site went so far as to suggest that Atkinson, who notes in his piece that he has an electrical engineering degree and purchased a hybrid vehicle 18 years ago and a pure electric one almost a decade ago, might be skewing the facts to make his point.

ICN pointed to a Twitter thread written by Dutch EV researcher Auke Hoekstra in which he says that he's "not entirely convinced Atkinson is being honest," noting that he seems to be "cherry-picking" his "anti-EV tropes."

"We’re trying to take the world to a better place here," Hoekstra told the website. "We’re really trying, and this sort of cranky nitwittery really makes it harder."

In a statement to ICN, the actor countered that "everyone cherry-picks evidence to support his or her thesis" and that he is glad people are having a "debate" at all about the topic — but the whole thing sounds a lot like he was owned.

More on big polluters: ChatGPT Is Consuming a Staggering Amount of Water

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