Jeremy Clarkson Has Dubious Reasons For Rejecting Electric Cars

If you were still wondering if The Grand Tour Jeremy Clarkson to be much different than Top Gear, the verdict is in now.

Worth a read today is a piece by John Voelcker at Green Car Reports, which uses quotes Clarkson recently gave to Business Insider.

In the interview, Clarkson gives a blanket dismissal to Tesla and to plug-in electric vehicles. His money, and likely that of his colleagues on The Grand Tour, is still on hydrogen.

The answer is hydrogen. But the more plug-in electric cars that come along, the less demand there is for carmakers to get off their asses and start making fuel cell cars — which is where we must go. We must have fuel cell cars. The world has to have them.

Hydrogen may show another route, but it’s currently backed by just a few automakers and a skeletal infrastructure. Public electric charging isn’t exactly plentiful everywhere, but it has a lead.

Worryingly, though, Clarkson uses outdated and false rhetoric, according to Voelcker, attributing brown-outs in New York City to people simply charging phones, ignoring that brown-outs tend to occur on summer days when the whole city is running an air conditioner to stop from melting.

Clarkson goes on to insist we’re going to need vastly more power plants in the U.S. and Britain if everyone starts plugging in their cars. This runs counter to what many EV owners have reported from their own experience plugging their cars in at their own homes at night – and ignores newer and more efficient technology for producing electricity.

All of this is also in spite of his begrudging praise for the BMW i8. I don’t know how much time Clarkson has spent trying to fuel a Toyota Mirai, either, but I somehow doubt he finds that car so much more exhilarating than an i8.

Clarkson’s facts and views on EVs haven’t appeared to have changed since his Top Gear days of mocking the G-Whiz and first Tesla Roadster, something that landed the BBC in court with Elon Musk. Electric cars don’t work for every household, but interest is clearly there. Infrastructure, education and initial cost hurdles still need to be addressed, but that hasn’t stopped Tesla from cornering not-insignificant parts of the market with their takes on the technology, and from more established brands from having to take notice with cars like the recently shown Jaguar I-Pace. We’re past the point of dismissing EVs.

Opinions are one thing, but spreading potentially dangerously wrong facts is another. The show may be scripted, but Clarkson can’t seem to ever stop being that character. I’m still giving The Grand Tour a chance, but can’t help but thinking it’s stale. It’s interviews like this that remind me why.