Who are the biggest electric car liars - the BBC, or Tesla Motors?
Kryten from Red Dwarf weighs into 'leccycar race row
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.
Sponsored: Today’s most dangerous security threats