AS the founder of Britain’s biggest car festival, Chris Evans is one of the country’s leading petrolheads.
Or rather was. The star has turned green – and now commutes with one of two electric cars.
The eco-conscious DJ, 55, drives a Skoda Enyaq and recently decked out his latest, slightly fancier toy, a BMW i Series. He prefers the Skoda.
With petrol prices skyrocketing – and the Prime Minister currently hammering out a controversial deal with Saudi Arabia – Chris says: “I’ve always been very anti-electric. And then I tried one.
“You immediately make peace with it, it’s unbelievable. It’s so calming inside. It’s like when you quit smoking you think, “How could I ever have smoked?”
“You start looking at the exhaust coming out of the back of other cars like you’re seeing cigarettes coming out of someone’s mouth.
“Now I pull into a gas station and it’s like driving into an ancient Greek ruin because it’s no use to you.
“Suddenly the pillars look really old and the pumps look like they’re out of a movie from 50 years ago.
“You get obsessed when you look at those dirty exhaust fumes and think, ‘Why the fuck aren’t you buying electric cars?!’ They are the same price!
“And as for charging, it’s even more convenient – I don’t have a charging station at home, we just use an adapter that you plug into a regular outlet.
“And now I never have to interrupt my journey to go to a gas station.
“All that fear that you immediately overcome – once you understand something, you are no longer afraid.”
Chris and I were scheduled to meet up today to inspect a special edition 1965 E VW Beetle. Unfortunately it didn’t show up.
Nonetheless, readers can win the car – which is real – by writing CAR to 81155 and donating £10 to Comic Relief in the process.
As well as reducing his carbon footprint, Chris continues to improve his manual one.
Each day he parks four miles from Virgin’s London Bridge office and walks the rest of the way in.
After a three-hour show – one that has made him a catalyst for the growth of the entire channel, reaching 2.2 million listeners a week – he makes his way back to the (electric) car.
It’s not surprising that he now has the body fat of a whippet. However, a large whippet in lycra.
Once a legendary drunk, the 24-hour bender and groucho club stints are behind him.
Family man Chris is a long-reformed character, physically and mentally.
In his 2015 autobiography, Call The Midlife, the star revealed that he had tried various forms of therapy to help him navigate his 50th birthday.
You immediately make peace with it, it’s incredible. It’s so calming inside. It’s like when you quit smoking you think, “How could I ever have smoked?” You start looking at the exhaust coming out of the back of other cars like you’re seeing cigarettes coming out of someone’s mouth.
Chris Evans on switching to an electric car
More recently, he reveals, he’s started yoga nidra — a practice also known as sleep yoga. (Although, to be honest, listening to Chris’ relentless daily routine is tiring in itself).
Yoga Nidra originated in 700 BC. in India (thanks Google) and is described as inducing a state of consciousness between waking and sleeping.
It consists of eight phases, including “adaptation”, “internalization”, “body rotation”, “breath awareness” and “externalization”.
Devotees are taken ‘systematically’ through each shift – or ‘kosha’ – to be encouraged towards complete mental, muscular and emotional relaxation.
Chris adds, “Yoga nidra, or grounding yoga, balances my nervous system.
“If I get off the show and get upset, I can either fall or do 20 minutes of yoga nidra and rebalance the nervous system. It gets you out of your own head — no one wants to be wired and tired.”
Luckily, Virgin Radio’s popular DJ hasn’t gotten too clean – and this summer he’s hosting his 10th CarFest.
Headliners include Rag ‘N’ Bone Man, Paloma Faith, James Blunt and Steps, with a plethora of stars from Rob Brydon to Gary Barlow and Bryan Adams donating their time to the annual charity fundraiser.
In 2007, the former Big Breakfast host married stunning ex-golfer Natasha Shishmanian.
The couple have four children, Noah, 13, Eli, nine, and twins Walt and Boo, three.
When I get off the show and I’m humming, I can either fall or do 20 minutes of yoga nidra and rebalance the nervous system. It gets you out of your own head – nobody wants to be wired and tired.
Chris Evans on his yoga nidra
It is clear that he is absolutely devoted to his family.
Despite a hectic schedule of work, running, philanthropy and more running – he’s training for a sixth marathon – he believes the secret to perfect work-life balance is to get rid of his cell phone. Chris, who has raised nearly £20million for charity since CarFest launched, dumped his phone for the first time in 2019.
He got one from a friend last week, “sick of not being able to get hold of me,” and after cursory exploration returned it.
Even Simon Cowell, who also famously threw away his cell phone, recently succumbed and got a secret “bat phone.”
However, Chris isn’t into filming.
He believes it has improved his mental health by reducing anxiety — and most importantly, made him a better father.
“Every time I see you, you’re on the phone,” he half scolds, half sighs as I put my phone down.
“Even if someone says they won’t look at their phone for an hour, they’re still thinking about when that hour is up . . . so you’re still thinking about it
“It’s the whole ‘don’t mention monkeys, don’t mention monkeys, don’t mention monkeys’ thing.
“It’s both a massive time stealer and a massive focuser.
“I’m less scared without one — it’s that uncertainty. Phones give you a dopamine hit – chasing what you don’t have.
“When you get overwhelmed with dopamine, it neutralizes itself in your head, so you have to have a lot more for it to have the same effect.
“Then you get a hangover from that – you have to take the pain from all the same dopamine hit.
Even when someone says they won’t look at their phone for an hour, they’re still thinking about when that hour is up. . . so you’re still thinking about it It’s the whole don’t mention monkeys, don’t mention monkeys, don’t mention monkeys thing. It’s both a massive time stealer and a massive focuser.
Chris Evans on why he doesn’t use a phone
‘It scared me’
“Phones have changed so much [in the past three years]but you don’t realize it because you’ve become so used to microdosing the updates.
“So now your phone keeps asking you for things; It’s that old phrase, “You think you’re looking for Google, but Google is looking for you.” And it’s the same with a telephone. You versus Silicon Valley, but Silicon Valley is behind the screen. It scared me to death. No thank you.
“I have my kids, I have my job, I have my business. I have no time. Phones teach you to get things done with the least amount of effort, but the real key to enjoying life is to do everything with attention, not without.
“And when you do everything with attention, it’s more fulfilling and your life becomes more manageable. Also, it costs a lot less. Not having a phone makes you more present as a parent — it makes you more present in everything.”
Two years ago a report found that the majority of British children by the age of seven own a mobile phone.
A recent report claims parents with cell phones have 20 percent fewer conversations with their children and 39 percent fewer non-verbal interactions. None of Chris and Natasha’s children are allowed to use the phone.
He adds: “Noah is the only kid in his year without a phone.
“He turned 13 a few weeks ago so we talked about it and got him a device and let him download WhatsApp.
“But then something happened immediately – there was a bump – and he veered off it. It’s like stopping drinking. You can always start over, but you can never drink up what you’ve drunk.
“Noah is different and a better conversationalist. If you’re not on the phone as a kid, you’re a more present kid.
“I don’t understand how kids learn things now because the phone doesn’t want you to hold on to something for too long – it wants to give you another promotion to the next thing.
“When you read a book, stay in it. I’m happier without it.”
Win an Electric Beetle
For a chance to win the electric 1965 VW Beetle and make a voluntary donation of £10 to Comic Relief, text CAR to 81155.
And for information about Comic Relief and its work, visit comicrelief.com.
https://www.thesun.co.uk/tvandshowbiz/17986415/chris-evans-son-mobile-phone/ Chris Evans reveals he has banned his 13-year-old son from owning a cellphone