Rowan Atkinson drives H2-powered Toyota GR Yaris and calls EV race cars "washing machines"
CY Foong · Jul 14, 2023 05:00 PM
Known more for his portrayal as the child-minded, red-necktie-wearing, teddy bear-hugging man behind a green Mini with a number plate that spells out SLW, Rowan Atkinson, the man, is an accomplished person and a huge petrolhead.
However, the comedian caught a lot of flak from EV enthusiasts when he published a column in The Guardian stating that the whole environmentally-friendly image of EVs is nothing more than lies. In short, he was tricked, bamboozled, lied to, and whatever other vocabulary of equal meaning and he wasn’t happy at all.
So do the many EV enthusiasts and supporters who called him out as a petrolhead who is stuck in the past and not wanting to see change. The comedian with a degree in electrical and electronic engineering and a master’s in control system was in their eyes, an irrelevant dinosaur.
That behaviour of being EV hesitant is also being shared with a particular carmaker that unlike the others was a bit slow in the whole electric revolution. Toyota which was at the forefront of mass-produced hybrids 25 years ago came into the EV trend a bit late but in terms of finding an alternative fuel solution, it was developing a technology that few companies took notice of.
At the ongoing 2023 Goodwood Festival of Speed, Toyota showcased a few of its models including a Mirai Sport Concept hydrogen fuel cell car as well as running a GR Yaris H2 rally car and GR H2 Racing Concept at the famed hillclimb route. You can sense a pattern of what technology Toyota is focusing on here.
Hydrogen-powered cars are not new but Toyota has been spearheading its development in various racing events around the world and offers the Mirai. At Goodwood, instead of ex-Toyota Chairman Akio 'Morizo' Toyoda being behind the wheel, it’s another eccentric human being piloting the GR Yaris H2 rally car.
It’s hard to believe the man that everyone recognises as Mr Bean would be an accomplished driver behind the wheel but Atkinson did race at a few events before and owns a GR Yaris himself. So, it’s probably not surprising that he would want a go behind the wheel of its hydrogen-powered rally car.
In a recent interview with Goodwood, the race organiser, he explained his fascination with hydrogen-powered cars which still maintain that essence and familiarity of one running on an internal combustion engine (ICE). Atkinson compares pure electric race cars to a “washing machine moving on a spin cycle” and that they lack the same emotion as one running with pistons.
What do you think of that last remark? Before you get too triggered, Rowan ends the interview by saying to keep an open mind because there are other alternatives to fossil fuels currently in development. Besides hydrogen, carmakers are also looking into other carbon-neutral fuels in a bid to keep the engine running.