It’s very hard not to imagine someone sitting at a desk in the BBC news department tapping a chewed ball point pen on their desk as they mutter, ‘there must be another way we can spin an anti-electric car story, there must!’
Well, they obviously had a good day, the latest is a doozie.
‘Electric Cars to Cost More to run than Petrol Vehicles!’
Ooh, shocking, click baity and controversial.
To give the BBC due credit they didn’t mention ‘range anxiety’ or ‘battery fires’ once.
For them that’s a big step forward, that’s been a staple for years but because those old chestnuts are now so bogus even the bafflingly anti-electric vehicle BBC news editors must finally have said, ‘Okay, let’s move on.’
Low-cost charging is still the status quo
What they do start with is the introduction of electric car owners having to pay for the use of a few of the public chargers run by Chargemaster and Charge Your Car.
The vast majority of the 7,300 plus charge points across the country are still free to use but let’s not let an annoying little fact like that bog us down.
If you pay the high fees that Chargemaster and Charge Your Car introduced months ago (I am implying this is hardly news, in fact it’s very old news) then indeed your miles after that charge will cost something close to driving a hydrocarbon burner, if you don’t count servicing costs.
However, at the moment 99 per cent of electric car owners charge their car at home at least 90 per cent of the time. This little fact is buried at the end of the piece and is attributed to Transport Minister Baroness Kramer.
Yes, balance, accuracy, but buried at the end.
Does this indicate bias?
Do the vast majority of people who scroll through BBC news reports just read the headline?
Yes, they do.
I drive my car all over the place and while I do use public chargers and indeed occasionally Chargemasters public chargers, I have yet to pay to use one.
Most of Charge Masters outlets are still free to use.
So this is a bit of a non-story so why would the BBC bother to run it?
It’s not news and the headline is not strictly speaking true.
If you own an electric car you would have to go out of your way to deliberately only use the few chargers that you have to pay for and nothing else, not charge at home and not use any free chargers for this story to have any relevance.
I think it’s a safe bet than very few of the 4-5,000 electric car drivers in the UK would go to the bother.
The real electric car story
So my question is the same as with all the other highly negative stories the BBC has run with on this topic. What editorial decisions have been made to come up with these weird non-stories and who has decided that the BBC cannot possibly be seen to condone the use of electric vehicles?
I am very well aware of the pressures on the BBC particularly in the news department. The Conservative Party, Rupert Murdoch and the Daily Mail all hate the BBC with a passion and consider it a bastion of left leaning liberalism.
The far left see them as a mouthpiece of the elite, a cultural cosh of oppression and agenda setting who’s sole aim is to maintain the status quo and keep the 1 per cent in total control.
That’s a good thing, the fact that they are annoying both extremes shows they are probably getting it right.
I am also aware that when a casually penned non-story like this sees the light of day, some obsessive nutter too immersed in his subject is going to get shouty, that’s me that is.
I know too much about electric cars, I can see the political spin, the sub text and the ignorance a mile off and it’s not fun.
I’m not suggesting that the BBC should be pro-electric car for some greener-than-thou agenda to annoy the Daily Mail, but a little bit of balance wouldn’t go amiss.
A little bit of research would show that even if you did use paid-for-chargers, which are obviously coming, the total cost of running an electric car is still way below a fossil burner.
But that’s not even the point.
The shift to electric power has far bigger consequences not only in running costs but in the geopolitical and environmental landscape, in notions of car ownership and energy use.
My main argument is that we can make electricity here, we can make it without importing shed loads of non replaceable fuels from the other side of the planet.
We are at the start of a transition, it’s going to be messy, powerful groups are going to get upset, now that is a real story.