So who's really being untruthful here?
None of this is to say that the e-car's problems can't be solved: for instance the prospect exists that new li-titanate battery tech may come on the scene, able to recharge in minutes rather than hours or days. Garages would be much more likely to deploy the necessary industrial 3-phase power outlets on the forecourt if such cars ever became widespread, though perhaps disappointingly it would remain impossible to charge up one's e-car so fast using home wiring.
Something else might happen to change the picture and make the future of the e-car rosier. But for the foreseeable future, there are enormous obstacles facing any mass takeup of e-cars.
So was the Beeb's piece "bias", "myths", "ludicrous", "absurd", as Tesla and Llewellyn have said?
Not so much, more like a bit naughty. It was plainly done from a more critical standpoint than most e-car journalism is - you do have to suspect that Milligan and his biz-section editors are personally a lot more sceptical about e-cars than even the average motoring hack, let alone green cheerleader-reporters like the Beeb's Roger Harrabin. It is, as even Milligan admits, really a bit unfair to the Mini-E to drive it to Edinburgh at midwinter - this says nothing about the car's performance as it was designed and intended to be used.
The Mini-E - or anyway its possible production successor - is meant to be a runabout for short commutes, shopping trips, school runs: the consumer sacrifices many of the capabilities of a combustion-engined car, but evades pretty much all of the various motoring taxes - a large proportion of the cost of running and fuelling a normal car - and gets to feel a bit smug. (Much though in fact you would actually do better overall for the environment to buy a fuel-sipping ecodiesel than a Mini-E style electrocar; and somebody has to pay the motoring taxes, so the present tax exemptions can't persist if e-cars become common.)
So the Beeb biz guys were a bit naughty: but they admitted as much, and their facts all seem to be in order. Can one say the same for the e-car lovers?
Certainly one can for Peilow: his Edinburgh stunt was every bit as meaningless as the Beeb's, but like Milligan he reports his facts accurately (if a bit less accessibly thus far - though no doubt, based on past form, we'll see massive detail in due course).
An electric vehicle enthusiast went to great lengths - nearly 500 miles - to dispel myths perpetuated by a BBC correspondent ...
No he didn't. It shouldn't have been a lot more than 400, if you believe Google Maps. Why not give us the actual figure, rather than bumping it up to the next hundred? And Tesla goes on:
David Peilow reached his destination within a day. In fact ... Peilow appears to be the first person ever to drive an electric vehicle from London to Edinburgh in a single day ... Peilow departed Wednesday morning from Tesla’s London showroom. He arrived in Edinburgh that night ...
That all sounds a hell of a lot better than "he got there in less than 24 hours on the road" or "he arrived 19 hours later". You could almost imagine that a normal, safe day's driving would get you from London to Edinburgh in a Roadster. And that last sentence isn't just spin, it's falsehood - Peilow actually arrived early the next day.
Perhaps worst of all, Tesla PRs tell the world that Peilow charged up "at conventional 240-volt outlets when necessary". He certainly did not: his first charging stop made use of a highly unconventional 70-amp specialist Tesla charging point, lent for the occasion by a Roadster owner in Nottinghamshire. For the second one he used a high-powered 30-amp outlet.
"Conventional" UK 240-volt sockets, the ones we all know and love, are limited to less than 15 amps and would have lengthened Peilow's journey by at least 36 hours.
That's a very untruthful press release indeed. If anyone here deserves the words "myths", "bias", "ludicrous" etc it isn't the Beeb. It's Tesla Motors PR - very much not the sort of people one would want to be a shill for, it turns out, even if you do get lent a Roadster for a few days. ®
*For some reason Llewellyn has changed the url of his e-car blog section to say "electric cars". It used to be called "electric car ranting", which seemed a better fit.
So why not just change the bloody batteries...!!
I had an electric car when I was a kid. I'd run it round and round the carpet and then, when it stopped, instead of plugging it into the mains to charge, I'd just take the old batteries out and put in a new set of HP7's!
So why this nonsensical assertion that you need to recharge the battery *IN* the car? All that is needed is simple bit of cooperation between the car manufacturers to pick a standard battery format/ layout, drive up to the garage, park in the right place and mechanical systems unplug the old battery (which is taken away for recharging), plug a new charged one in and away you go!
Charging up your battery "at the pump" makes as much sense as refining petrol at the garage!
Cheap electricity for cars? Tcha! Right.
Anyone deluding themselves that when the gubmint loses the cash cow that is hydrocarbon duty, it won't lash up the price of electricity for transport is deluded. We'll either end up with spy-in-the-sky roadpricing or astronomically priced electricity (or knowing the British government - of all hues past, present and future - both).
Can't wait for the tales on Watchdog of Mr Smith from Luton who took his electric car to France and discovered he needed an adaptor which costs £500 then went to Belgium and discovered he needed a different one, etc...
Well, I thought I should show my self important face
The Twitter tsunami was instant. 'The Register are slagging you off.' I think I should point out now that I am Robert Llewellyn, or as is so quaintly used in the sub heading, 'Kryten' 'cos that might get more hits. Cheap? Surely not.
You can see what I actually wrote here. http://llewblog.squarespace.com/electric-cars/
I read the article above, I wasn't in the least bit surprised. This Mr Lewis chap has clearly got a bee in his bonnet about the story and possibly me. The other unsurprising but much more important point is that as usual he's got completely the wrong end of a one ended stick.
Just for the record, I do have direct 1st hand experience of electric cars. I drove one pretty much every day for a year, a Mitsubishi iMiev. I drove 9,000 miles in it, at a cost of around £120. I do know what I'm talking about.
It is as plain as the plug socket you re-charge from that electric cars are presently rubbish at doing long haul travel like the trip attempted by the BBCs universally criticised Mr Milligan. Read the comments under the article, 100's of people questioning the motives of the idea.
My point is that the ridiculous adventure is the equivalent of driving a tiny diesel econobox hatchback off road around a muddy, deeply rutted forest track and proclaiming it rubbish, and 'not ready for us normal folks who can't afford a Range Rover.'
It proves nothing, teaches us nothing and is simply bad journalism. This whole caper is not about electric cars, it's about journalism. No back up facts, not comparison with how long it takes to drive in a conventional, internal combustion engine car with it's 25% efficient engine, it's massive waste of fuel, it's noise, smell and cost. But, of course, we are 'used to' such machines. They are normal, and electric cars are weird and scary and we don't want to change, or even think about change so an absurd story like this re-assures us we are right to carry on regardless.
I don't know what Tesla have said, I do know they've got their work cut out presenting anything like a balanced view in a world top heavy with rabid, 100% male petrol heads who show levels of aggression around their precious steam age tech that I would never have predicted. Now I know, I like to goad by calling ICE engines steam age tech, pistons, crank shafts, valves, flywheels, all developed in the steam age and barely adapted for the 'modern world.'
Hello internal combustion, it's 2011, can we have our world back please.
With the size and influence of the BBC, the story will have thrilled people from the Exxon boardroom all the way to... the BP boardroom.
And yes Mr Lewis, I did change my blog from 'Electric Car Ranting' to 'Electric Car' because I'm not ranting anymore, unlike the Register's Mr Lewis. I am trying to argue a point against a torrent of well funded propaganda.
I am citing no conspiracy theory, they are quite open about it. They don't want us to stop buying their product, I don't blame them, I'd do the same were I in their oily shoes.