Perhaps the daftest travel "challenge" I have ever seen is currently being aired by the BBC. No, it's not the presenters of Top Gear trying to see who can get from Florence to the top of Mount Etna first in thirty year old Italian classic cars costing under £500 - it's Brian Milligan attempting to drive from London to Edinburgh.
What's so challenging or unique about that? People do it every day - some even go there and back. Not only that, the Top Gear team recently had a London to Edinburgh challenge of their own - Jeremy Clarkson in a steam powered train, James May in a Jaguar XK120 and Richard Hammond on a Vincent Black Shadow. If I remember correctly, the race was won by May who pipped the steam train to the post in the Jaguar after about 8 hours.
So this "challenge" is neither unique or particularly challenging - except Brian Milligan is doing it in an electric car - but why do I think it's so daft?
Because it's taking him five days to get there.
I really don't understand the BBC's point to the challenge. If they are trying to tell us that electric powered cars are viable alternatives to the standard internal combustion engine powered cars they are failing miserably. Nineteen fifties technology thrashes the latest 21st century electric wonder by four and half days!
If they are trying to demonstrate how "cheap" it is then that is a total failure too. Even assuming that Mr. Milligan is staying at an ultra cheap £30 a night B&B every night that's still going to set him back £120 - more than enough to get your average petrol driven family saloon all the way from London to Edinburgh and halfway home again. Imagine the cost of driving from London to Edinburgh in an electric car with a family of four - you're talking about the better part of a thousand pounds and ten days just to travel there and back. You can get to Florida and back cheaper and faster!
All they've proven is that electric cars are neither cheap, practical or even viable alternatives to traditionally powered cars. The mere fact that I could leave for Edinburgh now - four days after Mr. Milligan set out - and still get there before him proves that the electric powered car is the worst possible choice. Indeed, your average seventeenth century stage coach would get you from London to Edinburgh quicker than an electric powered car. So much for progress!