I’ve got plenty to say about the execution of the Mini E program- and if BMW continues to make a new poor decision seemingly by the day, it’s probably only a matter of time ‘til I’m one of several voices doing exactly that. But there’s no excuse at all for this video interview by CNBC of Peter Trepp, the first Mini E driver to take delivery of his new electrified ride.
There have been others who have criticized various aspects of the vehicle- and while I happen to think the Mini E is a kick to drive, it’s not without its faults. But Dennis Kneale, CNBC’s “reporter” takes issue not with the car, nor the program- but the fact that an EV could meet Peter’s needs in the first place. In a 2-minute piece, he manages to work in just about every tired stereotype; the only thing this guy leaves out is a sense of objectivity and professionalism, assuming he has either.
The piece starts with a condescending thump on the Mini E as a “toy poodle” of a car; true, it’s no SUV, but a good chunk of my generation grew up in vehicles no bigger than a Mini- and, electrification aside, the market is trending again toward smaller vehicles. Then we get the usual “if you try really hard, can you go fast enough to get a speeding ticket?” And on to the super-imaginative, “so you had to drive 20 miles to get to this interview- will you be able to get home without charging?” He finishes by informing Peter that his car runs on dirty coal, suggesting he’s not actually achieving any environmental benefit- a statement that’s long been proven false, especially in California, where Peter lives. Not that Dennis lets Peter answer- and truly, it’s not that there aren’t a few seeds of legitimate- even common- questions in the piece. But all of it is delivered with a level of snark that is more at home on the Daily Show than the nightly news, and any ability to do a service to the viewers by providing genuine information is lost.
The only shot I can’t fault is the price- at $850/mo for a 1-yr lease, BMW is basically hosing their retail customers while all but giving fleets away to cities. Still, those who are willing to participate in these programs, adopt new technology, and put up with all of the infant technical and process issues are paving the way for the rest of us. Yet there’s something in our collective subconscious- some mating of guilt and envy perhaps- that causes us to respond to those setting such an example not with admiration, but contempt.
CNBC, however, is hardly qualified to dish it out and call itself a news organization.