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Top Gear Executive Producer fires back at Tesla Motors

In the eyes of many parents, their children can do no wrong. Efforts by others to point out any wrongdoings can be met with contempt or denial by parents. Like a parent scorned by a watchful school teacher, Tesla Motors lashed out at the BBC's popular Top Gear program after its battery of tests showed that the all-electric Roadster was anything but perfect.

Tesla filed a lawsuit against the BBC last week, citing numerous errors in Jeremy Clarkson's review of the Roadster and basically called the Top Gear crew a bunch of liars. Tesla went on to say that even though the original episode featuring the roadster aired over two years ago, the fact that the episode is still rebroadcast and available freely over the internet means that potential customers are not getting the "real" story on its "baby". 

While the BBC issues a brief statement following the announcement of the lawsuit last week stating that it would "vigorously defend" Top Gear, the show’s executive producer is firing back with full force now.

"The normal procedure for the BBC in a legal case is to acknowledge receipt of the other party’s claim, and then say no more and get on with preparing its [defense] for court," said Top Gear Executive Producer Andy Wilman. "Tesla, however, doesn’t seem content to wait for the legal eagles to settle matters. On the contrary, it’s been very busy promoting its side of the argument through the media."

Wilman goes on to counter three of Tesla's sticking points in a blog post: 

  1. We never said that the Tesla’s true range is only 55 miles, as opposed to their own claim of 211, or that it had actually ran out of charge. In the film our actual words were: “We calculated that on our track it would run out after 55 miles”… The figure of 55 miles came not from our heads, but from Tesla’s boffins in California. They looked at the data from that car and calculated that, driven hard on our track, it would have a range of 55 miles.

  2. We never said that the Tesla was completely immobilized as a result of the motor overheating. We said the car had “reduced power”. This was true.

  3. Tesla claims we were lying when we said the brakes were “broken”. They now say that all that had happened was that the fuse to the vacuum pump had failed, which meant that the brake just had to be pushed down much harder than usual. Well – to my mind, if the brakes are broken, then they’re broken, and if this happened to your car, you’d take it to the garage to get it fixed.

We'll keep you posted on how this legal dustup progresses, but it appears that Tesla may be biting off more than it can chew in this case.





"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson






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