I have a come up with a brilliant way for the James Bond franchise to play its part in the low-carbon revolution, keep Bond at the cutting edge of technology and stir up some public interest in the next film along the way.

Pierce Brosnan as Bond, with Aston Martin

The electric car is many things, but cool is not one of them. The technology may be improving, the ethical case strengthening and the marketing picking up, but petrolheads, the Jeremy Clarkson brigade, can’t quite bring themselves to take an interest. Now Electric Cars like the Tesla Roadster (my personal favourite, though at £88,000 a little outside my current budget) even look fantastic. Fundamentally, however, no matter how good the electric car becomes, a certain segment of the population won’t be able to take it seriously.

The reason? The car, in its petrol-driven form is deeply embedded in US-UK culture. The Beach Boys did not sing “Little Electric Deuce Coope”. There were no electric cars in The Fast and the Furious (and The Fast and The Furious 4: She’s Electric seems unlikely somehow). In Thunder Road Bruce Springsteen sings of getting out of small-town America and the likely fate of young men left behind: “They haunt this dusty beach road in the skeleton frames of burned out Chevrolets”. If he sang that now about those little nippy smart cars he would sound ridiculous. While Chevrolet have now expanded into electric cars, the image also doesn’t quite sit with the Chevrolet Volt – the industrial heartland of America is still characterised by petrol. And James Bond does not drive an electric car. I think we all suspect, deep down, that if he did he would find it much less easy to attract women with the speed and reliability he does. Besides which, Aston Martin, Bond’s car of choice, has dismissed the possibility of going electric.

But James Bond is the perfect vehicle (pun not intended) for showcasing the electric car. Bond always has the latest technology: that’s a big part of what the franchise is all about. Electric cars can be sold to the Bond audience as the latest, best, most high-tech thing. Best of all, it doesn’t have to be based on reality: I could be wrong here but I very much suspect that no-one has yet invented a car that can be steered by a mobile phone (and if they did it was after watching Tomorrow Never Dies not before) but Bond can have one because the audience understands that MI6 are ahead of the curve on this one. So Bond’s electric car can have limited range. He can hack into power lines on the road to charge it. It’s all fair game. And Daniel Craig’s masculinity will go a long way to making the electric car a thing of desire.

Daniel Craig as Bond, also with an Aston Martin

So how will this benefit the Bond franchise? Because putting Bond in an electric car will be highly controversial. There will be headlines and endless online comment pieces and blogs. The diehard petrolheads may all complain down the pub, but they’ll go and see it and all their friends will pick up on the buzz and want to know what’s going on and will go and see it too.

It’s a long road (again, pun not intended) to building up the electric car in the public eye, a task that falls partly to improving technology and partly to cultural change. An electric bond car would, however, leave the market shaken, if not stirred.

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