Jeremy Clarkson Has No Clue How Electric Cars Work

Screenshot from The Grand Tour. Hybrids in the background.

The biggest voice in the car enthusiast world has once more trashed electric cars based on a bunch of misinformation and dipshittery. Jeremy Clarkson, what are you talking about, man?

Clarkson spoke with Business Insider recently in a Grand Tour-related interview. BI asked JC what he thought about Tesla, which he infamously faked the death of in his Top Gear days.

Let’s take a moment to gaze at this brain fart:

BZ: In the past you haven’t been a huge of fan of Tesla. Has your thinking changed at all?

JC: No, because I will never be a fan plug-in electric cars. You have brown-outs in New York already when you have people charging (phones) up, and running lights. America is barely coping with its demand for electricity. Same in Britain. We’re 5% and you’re 16% under here in the US. So, when people start charging their cars up, where’s the power going to come?

Who knows.

You’ll have to build more power stations. Is that environmentally friendly?

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.

Who knows? Not Jeremy Clarkson, that’s for sure.

NYC does not have brown-outs thanks to mobile phones and running lights. NYC has brown-outs when every last one of its residents all turn on their air conditioners they bought off the street at the same time.

What cracks me up is that Clarkson is specifically wrong about the electric car situation in New York City. I’ve lived here in the city during not just a brownout but a proper blackout. It turns out it’s easier to keep an electric car running in the city during a blackout than it is to wait in massive out-of-town gas station lines. Here’s my full story on one Tesla owner getting over on all of us gas-burners back in the days of Hurricane Sandy:

But all of this NYC-specific discussion is beside the point.

Clarkson is spouting the same general “it’s new and I don’t understand it and I fear it” mentality about electric cars for about a decade now. He’s used to the massive cost and environmental toll of sucking oil out of the ground, shipping it around the world, refining it, then burning it individually in billions of cars. He’s not used to sticking a plug into a car like he charges every single other device in his life. He hates what’s new that he doesn’t understand.

And what’s even dumber is he’s bullish on hydrogen cars for some reason! Hydrogen has been in perpetual development limbo for the past two decades with almost no progress whatsoever. Plug-in electric cars meanwhile have boomed. And yet Clarkson can’t open his saggy eyes to see that hey, maybe this tech isn’t exactly today’s savior.

The excellent GreenCarReports fact-checked Clarkson’s interview, and I’ll go to it to further hammer this point home:

Clarkson, however, appears unaware that it takes roughly three times as much energy to produce the volume of hydrogen that will enable a fuel-cell car to drive 1 mile as it does to charge the battery of an electric car to drive that same mile.

By that measure, hydrogen vehicles will boost electricity demand far more than electric cars to cover the same travel distances.

That doesn’t even begin to address the cost of installing a pervasive hydrogen fueling network in every market where fuel-cell vehicles are to be sold.

GreenCarReports went on to describe how electric cars are, at this point, practically a rounding error in terms of electricity consumption and that fears of an environmental cost of increased electricity production are misdirected.

Again, Clarkson has no clue about any of this, but he decides to spout whatever biases he’s got against EVs for reasons beyond my comprehension.

Now, there are some real issues facing the world of electric cars. There’s no single standard for plugs. There’s all kinds of shaky government programs that development in fits and starts. All of the cool EV startups are struggling to stay legit. But if you’re looking to understand anything about how electric cars are going to fit in with our future, don’t listen to Clarkson.

from Gizmodo