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Archbishop of York reveals his memories of his first car

The Archbishop of York says his first car was not a memorable one. At least, not memorable for the right reasons. “My very first car was a second hand red Mini Metro,” said the Most Reverend Stephen Cottrell. “I loved it. But it kept going wrong. I kept spending money on it, thinking it would now be OK for another year or so.

“And it went wrong again. I think it may have been what is sometimes called ‘a Friday afternoon car’. Last of the production line before they shut down for the weekend, and riddled with faults.

“It got to be so bad that I imagined the AA might well phone me up and ask me to notify them of any long journeys was taking, as it was more cost-effective for them to trail after me, than wait till I broke down and come get me!”

The Archbishop grew up in Essex and was Bishop of Reading and Bishop of Chelmsford before becoming Archbishop in 2020, says he does enjoy long journeys.

“I’ve never been someone who is particularly interested in cars or driving, but I do enjoy a longish journey, but mostly because I work out in advance what music I will listen to. Perhaps an opera if I’m driving to London. A piano concerto to Hull. A blast of Bowie or the Clash on my way to York Minster. In fact, the sound system is probably the bit of the car I am most concerned about.”

He now drives an electric car. He said: “My current car, which is the official car for the ‘Archbishop of York’, is a Kia E Niro. It is the first electric car I have driven, and it is fantastic.

“People often ask me if I am anxious about the electricity running out. This seems a slightly odd question. After all, petrol cars run out of petrol. And at least with an electric car, the dashboard tells me clearly and down to the last mile, how much charge I have left, whereas a petrol car just has the needle hovering over the red on the petrol gauge, and you don’t really know with any certainty how many more miles you can go.

“The Kia does 280 miles on a full charge. This means I rarely have to “fill up“ on the road. I just plug it in when I get home. And when I am doing longer journeys, there is increasingly a very good infrastructure of charging points. It only takes about half an hour to get the car charged up again and I can have a coffee and read the paper while this is happening.”

He has no doubt what his best car was.

He said: “About 20 years ago, I had a Volkswagen Golf that I loved. We had a family sized Renault Scenic Megane which was great when we were travelling with all our family still at home.

“But probably the best car is the Kia E Niro. We are all going to have to make the change to electric cars. I’m glad to have been able to do this, though I realise the cars themselves are expensive. Hopefully, the price will come down and that before long, there will be a better secondhand market available. But the cost of not making these changes is far greater. Our planet depends on it.”

Pic byline for pic of Archbishop is Ravage Productions.

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