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Tesla Roadster  (Source: Tesla Motors)

Left to Right: Hammond, Clarkson, and May  (Source: BBC)
Tesla isn't laughing when it comes to Jeremy Clarkson's antics

Top Gear is pretty much the biggest automotive show on the planet. It's car porn for car nuts and any enthusiast worth his/her salt watches every episode of the show by any means necessary. Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May, are known to take a few liberties when reviewing cars on the BBC program -- especially Clarkson -- but the antics of the show with regards to the Tesla Roadster are landing them in some legal hot water [PDF].

Jeremy Clarkson tested the Roadster along the show's famous "track" and made a number of false or misleading claims about the vehicle's capabilities. You can view the [admittedly low quality] Top Gear segment here for yourself. 

Tesla lays out the following portions of the review that were misrepresented by Jeremy Clarkson and Top Gear: 

  • The Roadster ran out of charge and had to be pushed into the Top Gear hangar by 4 men.
  • The Roadster’s true range is only 55 miles per charge (not 211).
  • One Roadster’s motor overheated and was completely immobilized as a result.
  • The other Roadster’s brakes were broken, rendering the car undriveable.
  • That neither of the two Roadsters provided to Top Gear was available for test driving due to these problems.

Ricardo Reyes, Vice President of Communications for Tesla, further hammers Clarkson and his antics in a blog post:

In the episode, two Roadsters are depicted as suffering several critical "breakdowns" during track driving. The show’s script, written before the cars were tested, has host Jeremy Clarkson concluding the segment by saying, "in the real world, it doesn’t seem to work."

Today, we continue to field questions and explain the serious misconceptions created by the show. Many of us have heard: I know this car, the one that broke down on Top Gear. Despite the show's buffoonery, Clarkson’s words are taken as truth, not only about the Roadster, but about EVs. 

Tesla goes on to say that these lies being perpetrated by Top Gear are damaging to its image, considering that the show is rebroadcast on BBC television and available over the internet. In fact, Top Gear has roughly 350 million viewers worldwide, so it's understandable why Tesla is a bit protective of its "baby".

Most enthusiasts who watch Top Gear know not to take everything that the show portrays as gospel, but Tesla isn't taking any chances with this lawsuit -- even if it comes two years after the original episode first aired...

Updated 3/30/2011 @ 11:45am EST

The BBC has responded to Tesla Motors' lawsuit, stating that it will "vigorously defend" Top Gear's claims.

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What is the Truth?
By tng on 3/30/2011 8:12:42 AM , Rating: 2
So the two cars used on the show may not have broke down for the reasons that they said, but did they break down? Sure looked like it to me, and if they did, does it matter what the reason was?

Having watched the show for quite some time, any car they put on the track they put through some serious hell, and by far, most leave under their own power. This sounds like Tesla thinks that they were not treated right, when really the cars they sent just were not up to the punishment that is required.

RE: What is the Truth?
By FITCamaro on 3/30/2011 8:19:01 AM , Rating: 1
I would respond to their lawsuit with "Would you like some cheese to go with that?"

RE: What is the Truth?
By mcnabney on 3/30/2011 9:09:33 AM , Rating: 5
Tesla has a valid point though. They have documented that some of the negative things concerning breakdowns was actually writen into the script before the cars even showed up to be tested. That piece of information could frame the entire review as a hatchet-job since it appears that the 'results' fit the conclusions that the writing staff made before they even touched the car.

RE: What is the Truth?
By BSMonitor on 3/30/11, Rating: 0
RE: What is the Truth?
By aegisofrime on 3/30/2011 9:26:30 AM , Rating: 4
It's on the PDF document linked in the article. Page 9, point 4.

I'm not saying that their claims are true! Just linking you to it. Just in case people accuse me of that. People on the Internet can be so jumpy.

RE: What is the Truth?
By Stuka on 3/30/2011 11:29:36 AM , Rating: 4
After reading it, it would appear to me that the "script" in the claimant's document, is in fact a "transcript", as in a log of the show as aired. I believe it states this in the paragraph preceding the excerpt.

Someonee correct me if I'm wrong.

RE: What is the Truth?
By mcnabney on 3/30/2011 12:32:07 PM , Rating: 4
No lawyer would even think of offering a post-production transcript as a working script. Apparently Tesla got ahold of an actual production script and could authenticate its creation prior to the review. It is pretty damning, if true.

And bashing Tesla for battery range on the track is pretty stupid. I have watched the show and never ONCE heard them complain that they got nowhere near the rated MPG on their review cars. The episode really does seem like a hatchet-job.

RE: What is the Truth?
By Solandri on 3/30/2011 1:30:11 PM , Rating: 3
And bashing Tesla for battery range on the track is pretty stupid. I have watched the show and never ONCE heard them complain that they got nowhere near the rated MPG on their review cars. The episode really does seem like a hatchet-job.

This is the second episode of the show I've ever seen. I thought it was a good, neutral review coming out overall positive for the car. IMHO many people are too used to the sugarcoated or astroturf reviews which never say anything bad about a product. Everything has flaws and drawbacks. If a review doesn't mention them, it's not a review, it's an advertisement. A good, neutral review will highlight everything that distinguishes a product from its competitors - both good and bad. In this case, because most people have zero experience with electric performance cars, it's particularly important to highlight the biggest differences. I'd been thus far skeptical of Tesla, but watching this episode made me more likely to buy the car if I were into that sort of driving.

Bashing Tesla for the shorter battery range on the track makes perfect sense. With regular gasoline cars, if you run out of gas you take 5 min to fill it up and you're on the road again, so it doesn't really matter. With an electric, you're going to be waiting hours for a recharge. So it does matter that range is significantly lower in performance driving compared to road cruising on an electric, whereas it's not really worth mentioning with a gas car. It's touched on a legitimate contradiction between electric vehicles and performance driving - if you've got enough money to drop $100k on a performance car, you're not going to care much about how much the fuel/electricity costs. But you are going to care that you only get about 1 hour of fun driving out of it before you're forced to retire for the day to recharge.

Likewise, they highlight the poor handling performance, but also mention the simple cause - low rolling resistance tires. A track enthusiast who can afford a $100k car can simply replace those with regular tires. And they point out the car managed to match a Porsche 911's time even with the lousy tires. Its strengths (speed in the straightaways) are able to overcome its weaknesses (sloppy handling in turns). To me, that sounds like an overall positive endorsement.

The only part which was overly harsh IMHO were the mechanical breakdowns. A sample of 2 for a couple days isn't really representative; you need years of test driving to really say with much authority how reliable a car is.

RE: What is the Truth?
By W00dmann on 3/30/2011 3:23:29 PM , Rating: 2
Another balanced and well thought-out post by Solandri. Kudos.

RE: What is the Truth?
By Samus on 3/30/2011 5:50:23 PM , Rating: 5
Does anybody here actually watch Top Gear for legitimate car-buying advice?

It's an entertainment show. It doesn't neccessarily have to be accurate. It isn't news. It's allowed to express whatever opinions it wants. If you want real car reviews, read Top Gear magazine, Road & Track, etc.

RE: What is the Truth?
By UNHchabo on 3/30/2011 1:34:03 PM , Rating: 4
I have watched the show and never ONCE heard them complain that they got nowhere near the rated MPG on their review cars.

When they reviewed the Vauxhall VXR8 (sold in the US as the Pontiac G8), they complained that the gas mileage wasn't good, while showing the dashboard-indicated value: 7.6 MPG. Earlier in the same review, you can see them flash up the spedometer for a second, and at that time, the display reads 20.7 MPG.

In several of their reviews I've also heard them mention track-time fuel economy in a good way, as in "despite thrashing this car around the track, I still was able to manage 20 MPG with this hatchback!"

RE: What is the Truth?
By SoCalBoomer on 3/30/2011 5:11:29 PM , Rating: 2
They do talk about lower mileage gained on the track. The Ferraris, Lambos, etc. typically get about FOUR MPG (or less!) on the track - they talked about this pretty extensively on their MPG episode - where they raced a Prius against an M5 (M5 just had to keep up) and then compared the mileage.

It's a well known fact that cars get a LOT lower mileage on the TG-UK track. They thrash cars there - it's one reason why they didn't get access to a Veyron for a long time. . .

It sounds like you've watched one or two episodes. Granted, they don't talk about MPG every episode, but several times they have talked about how hard they are on cars on their track. So, since you never ONCE heard them talk about it only means you haven't watched that many episodes. I've seen every single one (since series 1) and they have talked about it a number of times, even mocking Jeremy's Ford GT's extremely low MPG and unreliability. . .

RE: What is the Truth?
By Aloonatic on 3/31/2011 5:22:48 AM , Rating: 2
And bashing Tesla for battery range on the track is pretty stupid. I have watched the show and never ONCE heard them complain that they got nowhere near the rated MPG on their review cars. The episode really does seem like a hatchet-job.
You clearly missed the half season or so when Clarkson bought a Ford GT only to be constantly ridiculed by May and Hammond because Clarkson lived further away from the studio than the car could go on a complete tank of petrol.

I'm curious out the script thing too. As far as I was aware, they used to test the cars before (sometimes waaay before) they filmed the indoor parts of the show where they commented on them. That's why the cars that they stand next to are often different colours to the cars that they tested, and the weather on the test track is nothing like the weather that it would have been on the day of filming, which is often on the Thursday before the show is aired on the Sunday.

I'm a little annoyed, as I just left a job where my bosses' daughter's boyfriend is a test driver on the show (and just bums around the place a fair bit of the time as they live on site), and I could have asked him a little more. Although, he's only been there for a year or so, so probably wasn't there when the Tesla tests were done.

RE: What is the Truth?
By xsilver on 3/30/2011 9:45:13 AM , Rating: 1
Ferrari do not allow their cars to be tested head to head or in a roundup with any other car.
Plus they have also been proven to ask which track the car is to be tested on and given 1 or more cars for each part of the test.

I dont actually remember reading/hearing/watching a bad ferrari review besides when they mention the newest ferrari is better than the old one.

RE: What is the Truth?
By Iaiken on 3/30/2011 9:54:14 AM , Rating: 2
They actually have a team whose job it is to test and tune their cars specifically for the Top Gear test track.

Also, if you say something bad about a Ferrari, you'll never get another Ferrari to review. So the onus is on the reviewer to provide a good review, rather than on Ferrari to provide a car worth of one.

RE: What is the Truth?
By aegisofrime on 3/30/2011 10:01:31 AM , Rating: 2
The review of the Ferrari 599 GTO wasn't exactly positive... IIRC, it was criticized for being virtually uncontrollable with the traction control off, and for being slower than the Ferrari 458 which was half its price.

RE: What is the Truth?
By Flunk on 3/30/2011 10:52:22 AM , Rating: 2
That's true, I believe they actually said that anyone who buys one is an idiot.

RE: What is the Truth?
By BZDTemp on 3/30/2011 11:31:23 AM , Rating: 2
Which is not the first time the knock Ferrari. For example they borrowed an Enzo from some rock star (Pete Townsend I think but not sure). They liked the car put also made a point in telling how little it had been used and that the visiting Rock Star left in a helicopter.

RE: What is the Truth?
By UNHchabo on 3/30/2011 1:38:25 PM , Rating: 2
they borrowed an Enzo from some rock star (Pete Townsend I think but not sure).

It was Nick Mason, drummer of Pink Floyd.

The conclusion at the end of the review was the same conclusion that they've given to many Ferraris over the past few years: a technically brilliant car that takes itself too seriously to be any fun.

RE: What is the Truth?
By BZDTemp on 3/30/2011 3:04:20 PM , Rating: 2
You're right it was Mason. Thank you.

In a way I think super cars have become to good or rather they have become to good for drivers but maybe not for those wanting them as statements of wealth.

It's like what fun it is to drive on public roads one something where the performance levels are so beyond what can be used. In a way it's much more fun to be in a car where you can accelerate up through the gears without fear of jail time and where it's possible to drift a little without having to go crazy speeds.

RE: What is the Truth?
By Spuke on 4/1/2011 3:52:54 PM , Rating: 1
In a way it's much more fun to be in a car where you can accelerate up through the gears without fear of jail time and where it's possible to drift a little without having to go crazy speeds.
I like the way you worded this. BUT, for me, it's NOT more fun to drive a "slow" car fast. I've owned nothing but "slow" cars and my present one is, finally, the real deal. This car is eminently more fun than any of my previous cars and I've had some fun the previous one's for sure.

RE: What is the Truth?
By chick0n on 3/30/2011 10:19:48 AM , Rating: 1
Let me guess, you've never watched Best Motoring ?

they did a lot of "roundup" with Ferrari against other "supercars"

RE: What is the Truth?
By chiadog on 3/30/2011 12:04:51 PM , Rating: 2
The Ferraris and Lambs on the show usually are privately owned cars, not press cars. Read the credits.

RE: What is the Truth?
RE: What is the Truth?
By Sivar on 3/30/2011 11:17:42 AM , Rating: 3
Ferrari essentially maintains North Korea-like control over the press regarding their cars:

How Ferrari Spins:!5760248/how-ferrari-spins

RE: What is the Truth?
By aegisofrime on 3/30/2011 9:24:42 AM , Rating: 2
I actually went to read the claims document to see the relevant information about this part.

Basically, one Don Cochrane, Tesla UK Director of Sales & Marketing was in the studio before the car was driven. He happened to see the script with the words, "It's just a shame that in a real world, it absolutely doesn't work" Now, with no physical evidence, it's just his words against Top Gear's.

The thing about Top Gear is that, being funded with public funds, they are able to say it as it is, without fear of the plug being pulled because of an offended car manufacturer. As fans of the show will tell you, other cars have received far more scathing reviews that would have (and may actually have) condemned cars to the bargain bin (or whatever it is for cars)

RE: What is the Truth?
By Scabies on 3/30/2011 12:32:35 PM , Rating: 3
"It's just a shame that in a real world, it absolutely doesn't work"

Taken out of context that line could mean anything. I haven't seen the review, but far and away the largest problem of any EV is how it is limited to a certain radius from your home (unless you have a four hour pitstop planned somewhere.)

Which is unrealistic. Thus, "in the real world, it absolutely doesn't work."

RE: What is the Truth?
By Aloonatic on 3/31/2011 1:04:48 PM , Rating: 3
The thing about Top Gear is that, being funded with public funds, they are able to say it as it is, without fear of the plug being pulled because of an offended car manufacturer. As fans of the show will tell you, other cars have received far more scathing reviews that would have (and may actually have) condemned cars to the bargain bin (or whatever it is for cars)
Most of the recent incarnation Top Gear has been about super cars and prestigious saloons etc but they have reviewed more "every day" cars in the past, and there is no guarantee that they will give a good review just because it burns petrol.

It's all down to the manufacturer and how they take those reviews though. I seem to recall that a Ford car (might have been an early Mondeo) got a really bad review, but Ford took the criticism on board (no doubt Top Gear weren't the only people to pick fault with it) and sent back a new version a year or so later which the Top Gear team liked a lot, especially as Ford had heeded the comments made by journalists. Ford earned a lot of good will and respect for how they handled the situation too.

I can't help but think that Tesla might be better off coming back a year later with a car that they can cram down Clarkson's throat, rather than running off to mommy to say that the bad is saying nasty things about them. Or do they know that the former is not possible, so are having to go with the latter? To give Clarkson and the Top Gear crew credit, they are men enough to eat their own words if people come back at them with a decent reply.

RE: What is the Truth?
By DanNeely on 3/30/2011 10:59:52 AM , Rating: 2
Was is the only version of the script they wrote? Writing several variants to fit the actual test results seems reasonable to me as a time saver, then just pick the one that's closest to the results and tweak as needed.

RE: What is the Truth?
By BZDTemp on 3/30/2011 11:46:23 AM , Rating: 4
Even if that is the so they have no case. Top Gear is not an advertiser they payed to represent them nor are they a competitor doing a negative add.

Tesla was hoping for free advertising and got something else and now they try and mess with a show that has millions of fans of whom many was also potential customers. EPIC FAIL.

RE: What is the Truth?
By YashBudini on 3/30/2011 1:33:28 PM , Rating: 2
Tesla has a valid point though.

You have to wonder how honest this show would have been if it was around in the 60's/70's when Lucas Electronics made every vehicle that used their parts a non-running running joke of a car.

RE: What is the Truth?
By Omega215D on 3/30/2011 7:00:47 PM , Rating: 3
They presented the Tesla Roadster in a comedic light, but nothing they said was patently false. The range they presented was based on their usage on the track, as they said. The second car went into reduced power mode to keep from really overheating. And when they went back to the first car, the power brakes were inoperable due to a blown fuse. Neither car was immobile, but nor were they useful for track testing.

RE: What is the Truth?
By stu4500 on 3/30/11, Rating: -1
RE: What is the Truth?
By tng on 3/30/2011 11:54:35 AM , Rating: 2
Yanks don't get pommie comedy

Not sure what "pommie" is, but I really do find the show hilarious.

I still don't understand why Tesla is doing this. Either the cars legitimately broke down on the show or not. If they did break down, then they deserve the rap they got on the show.

If they did not break down then that is a whole different story.

RE: What is the Truth?
By mcnabney on 3/30/2011 12:39:55 PM , Rating: 2
I think that is the angle that Tesla is taking. The pre-writen script says that they are to break down, so obviously the creators of the show made them break down to fit the script.

RE: What is the Truth?
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 3/30/11, Rating: -1
RE: What is the Truth?
By Xaussie on 3/30/2011 12:51:35 PM , Rating: 5
Actually it is POME, Prisoner of Mother England and it Australians most definitely refer to the English as Pommies (e.g. ave a go you pommy bastard - shouted often when Mike Brearley was at bat). Originally it was how the English referred to Australians but over time it became used by Australians referring to English as well.

RE: What is the Truth?
By UnauthorisedAccess on 3/30/2011 8:47:57 PM , Rating: 4
I'd like to note that when Australians say 'pom' or 'pommie' it's not a derogatory word on it's own. The poms within Australia understand this though I've heard many stories of Australians being yelled at within the UK for using the word.

We use it to represent 'an English person' rather than a 'Prisoner of Mother England'.

Septics on the other hand... ;)

RE: What is the Truth?
By drycrust3 on 3/30/2011 11:36:53 AM , Rating: 2
There is such a thing as "Editorial License". Maybe Top Gear had been slightly melodramatic with the facts, such as having four people push the car into the garage when one would have been enough, but it doesn't change the facts: the battery was flat. People don't watch Top Gear for scientific reasons, they do it because it is a fun program.
In fact, I wouldn't even watch it for the car reviews, I watch it because of the adventures they go on. Sorry, I understated that, I should have said "fantastic adventures they go on". What other program has three people who know little about survival driving across some African desert in old cars?

RE: What is the Truth?
By mcnabney on 3/30/2011 12:37:51 PM , Rating: 2
Libel laws in Britain are pretty steep. Far more aggressive and binding than in the US. Just FYI.

/don't publish lies in the UK

RE: What is the Truth?
By drycrust3 on 3/30/2011 11:17:01 PM , Rating: 1
No, I didn't know that, I'm from New Zealand. My thanks for pointing out the issue of Libel, but I would have thought that before Top Gear agreed to test their car they would have had to sign some sort of "waver".
Either way, I know the world would be a poorer place without James May and Co.

RE: What is the Truth?
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 3/30/11, Rating: 0
RE: What is the Truth?
By UNHchabo on 3/30/2011 1:47:27 PM , Rating: 5
You missed the point of the exercise entirely. His point was: "it's not what you drive, it's how you drive it."

If you bury the accelerator into the carpet on a Prius, you *will* get 17 miles per gallon. Meanwhile, the M3 was able to get 19 miles per gallon while still keeping up with the Prius.

Of course a Prius will get better mileage than an M3 if you drive both conservatively. But the point is that if you drive aggressively now, you can save tons more fuel by changing your driving style, rather than driving the same way in a "more efficient" car.

RE: What is the Truth?
By tng on 3/30/2011 2:07:28 PM , Rating: 2
Well, I have a co-worker that has a Prius. He has a very heavy foot with the thing and hence only gets about 35mpg most of the time.

I tease him about it because I get 40mpg in a regular Civic.

Fortunately he did not buy the car for the mileage, he got it because he could drive it in the carpool lane here in California. I think that that privilege will run out this summer, at that point he is just a guy driving a really ugly car....

BBC has admitted it didn't need to be pushed
By Sivar on 3/30/2011 11:22:21 AM , Rating: 3
At least one part of the Top Gear review was admittedly false:

"They never had to push a car off the track because of lack of charge or a fault...It’s unclear why they were pushing one into a garage in the video; I’ll refrain from speculating about their motives."!5115617/shocking-scandal-top...

RE: BBC has admitted it didn't need to be pushed
By danobrega on 3/30/2011 1:06:08 PM , Rating: 1
They never had to push the car because they are not stupid and can look at the "power remaining" or whatever display they have in the car to know they have to stop.

I think the "pushing the car" is perfect acceptable in the context presented.

Top Gear is not a factual program, it's an entertainment program. Many things in the program are fictitious.

RE: BBC has admitted it didn't need to be pushed
By YashBudini on 3/30/2011 1:26:26 PM , Rating: 2
According to the Top Gear spokeswoman, the tested Tesla was filmed being pushed into the shed in order to show what would happen if the Roadster had run out of charge.

As Billy Joel wrote "I had my pointless point of view."

How exactly is this any different than a hydrogen vehicle running out of fuel? A propane vehicle? Solar? Wind? Human? Guinea pig? Diesel? A gas powered vehicle?

The implication is this vehicle has a unique problem. That's the lie. Apparently the Brits like to use the same technique as US propaganda stations, who shall remain nameless because even Helen Keller can identify them.

RE: BBC has admitted it didn't need to be pushed
By tng on 3/30/2011 2:18:18 PM , Rating: 4
How exactly is this any different than a hydrogen vehicle running out of fuel? A propane vehicle? Solar? Wind? Human? Guinea pig? Diesel? A gas powered vehicle?
Ah come on Yash, you know how it is different.

If it were a Gas/Diesel/Hybrid vehicle they would have show someone walking down the road with a red can. A propane or NGV power car, I don't know what they would show.

For a PURE EV the solution is not so simple. Yes, you have to take the whole vehicle to where it can be recharged. You can't even do a battery swap on these since the battery packs are composed of hundreds or thousands of basically D sized cells. So the pushing of the vehicle is as much a reality in this case as the guy walking with the red gas can is.

RE: BBC has admitted it didn't need to be pushed
By YashBudini on 3/30/2011 5:11:55 PM , Rating: 1
If it were a Gas/Diesel/Hybrid vehicle they would have show someone walking down the road with a red can. A propane or NGV power car, I don't know what they would show.

If an EV was equipped with a slower charging 110V option I'd argue there are more electrical outlets in the US than there are gas stations.

The Natural Gas Civic compresses the gas, there's no roadside option for that. Yes, I see your point, but I think you see mine as well.

Assuming that the Tesla has some kind of low fuel indicator, and assuming the driver comes to their senses when the indicator goes on the question becomes what's the range at that point when driven carefully? My car does 40+ miles at that point, though anything after 30 the thing really is running on fumes.

I suspect charging stations aren't that far into our future. The question is what will be the profit margin on such recharging/refueling places. Can we expect to pay 40-50 cents a KW/H?

RE: BBC has admitted it didn't need to be pushed
By tng on 3/31/2011 6:47:09 PM , Rating: 2
If an EV was equipped with a slower charging 110V option I'd argue there are more electrical outlets in the US than there are gas stations.
OK, Point taken. Although I could say that still, if you just pull off at a rest area or even a gas station, it will be hard to find that 110V plug in.

You are correct of course, a low charge warning light would be on the vehicle somewhere, but if you have ever seen the show, a warning light seems just to incite them further. So I think that they would have tried to run it completely dead just for the sake of testing. I know I would have.

By YashBudini on 3/31/2011 9:01:49 PM , Rating: 2
a warning light seems just to incite them further

Children and their tantrums.

YouTube videos either don't get to the point or do get to the point much faster than these guys. Auto publications aren't worth a dime, just like my ratings.

Only 1 publication I've seen referred to the Ford Fusion's brakes as a clearly unsafe weakness. The rest of the rags called the brakes satisfactory. This is the problem with publications such as these, too much time and energy having to read between the lines. Don't get me wrong, Audio and Stereo Review were even worse at this kind of nonsense.

Currently 110V or even 220V access at convenient stores is not available due to sheer lack of demand. Of course what's to stop a tow truck from having a substantial generator that can get you up and running quickly? The unkind that runs of gas engines with no pollution equipment (/end irony).

Speaking of tow trucks. Any other car that stops in the middle of nowhere (especially this nice) would end up on a flatbed, not being pushed by 4 guys.

By YashBudini on 4/1/2011 1:07:39 PM , Rating: 2
Don't forget anyone could sell electricity. Malls, Starbucks, restaurants. No tanks and their issues.

RE: BBC has admitted it didn't need to be pushed
By PrinceGaz on 3/31/2011 6:27:47 AM , Rating: 2
If you own an expensive electric vehicle, rather than pushing it if it runs out of electricity without warning (which shouldn't happen, but anyway), why not just keep a generator in the boot (trunk) and take it out to charge the car for as long as needed to get you to a charging point in an emergency?

Portable generators aren't rocket science, and a 3KW model is relatively cheap and light and will charge the car as quickly as a standard 240V domestic socket.

RE: BBC has admitted it didn't need to be pushed
By Spuke on 4/1/2011 4:40:56 PM , Rating: 2
Portable generators aren't rocket science, and a 3KW model is relatively cheap and light and will charge the car as quickly as a standard 240V domestic socket.
And all you'll need is a cable with the female version of Tesla's charge port connector on it and you're good to go!

By YashBudini on 4/1/2011 7:13:28 PM , Rating: 1
Who's going to be happy standing around for that? And for how long?

At 240 volts 3000 watts works out to a measley 12.5 amps.

Do I need to cite or can I get away with the simple division of I = P / E ?

By Wiggy Mcshades on 4/5/2011 4:09:07 PM , Rating: 2
It takes numerous hours to charge the car, it running out of charge isn't an easily fixed problem unless you have a bunch of time on your hands. Batteries don't charge and discharge the same every time, the energy stored at the maximum capacity is not the same for each charge and the distance you get for a unit of energy can vary significantly. Even if you know the distance you're driving and have driven the car enough to know an average range, you have no guarantee of the range you will actually get on that day. These extra variables, most of which you can't even check, are what make the ev's running out of fuel unique.

By btc909 on 3/30/2011 11:52:44 AM , Rating: 2
Any America car on the UK Top Gear is a "Hatchet Job". Ever notice every America car is tested on a wet track?

RE: America
By BZDTemp on 3/30/2011 12:37:04 PM , Rating: 5
You must not have watched many Top Gear shows.

Yes, they don't like US cars much but that is not different than most Europeans and honestly the build quality of many US cars are not great (but it's getting better). Still this does not mean the come down on all US cars and they have for instance said very nice things about the retro muscle cars of late. Also the Hamster has declared his love for muscle cars more than once.

As for rain. Ever noticed it rains often in the UK :-)

Plus you are mistaken. Lots of US cars have been on the track in the dry:

RE: America
By mcnabney on 3/30/11, Rating: -1
RE: America
By Xaussie on 3/30/2011 1:04:46 PM , Rating: 2
I seem to remember the reviews of the M6 being quite scathing too despite the performance of that car being quite stunning. It was reviled as being ugly and having an iDrive system that Clarkson spent the whole test drive trying to figure out how to shut up.

I've owned an E39 540 which was a fantastic car and one of the best BMWs ever but its reliability doesn't even come close to my US designed and built Acura TL. 540 - failed steering box, failed DSC computer, failed power shade, wheel alignment, missing segments on LED display, 2 sets of rotors, 2 sets of brake pads, 3 sets of tires, one battery. Acura TL - not a single problem in three years, original brakes, tires, rotors.

RE: America
By tng on 3/30/2011 1:11:59 PM , Rating: 2
I would say that depends on the brand. BMWs are a typical high strung car that allot of people drive hard and it shows.

I think that you should preface your statement by saying that there are allot of brands in Europe that people here in the States have never heard of, so yeah, some of those brands may be junk. Counter this with the fact that Ford has a great reputation in Europe and I can see where you would say that.

There might be some Americans that would disagree with you though, I would be one of them if we were talking about GM.

RE: America
By silverblue on 3/30/2011 1:26:37 PM , Rating: 2
It's not all bad. I'm sure companies like Skoda, Porsche and Jaguar bring the average up. Still, owning a French car, I can understand why people would look down on European cars.

Which? conducted a survey of over 65,000 people in the UK in 2010, but they seem to agree with you in that European cars aren't in the top 10. In fact, it's almost solely a Japanese list (understandable as we don't really get American vehicles over here that much)...

If Audis are that unreliable then I look forward to the ones that sit on my back axle falling to pieces in my rear view mirror. ;)

RE: America
By BZDTemp on 3/30/2011 3:14:04 PM , Rating: 2
I of course disagree but maybe it's just that we get the rubbish US one's here and vice versa.

Three details.

1. I said nothing about European cars, some are great others not so much, I wrote about how Europeans dislike US cars.
2. I did not talk about brands but I of course should have been more precise. Let me explain, a Ford build in Europe is really not a US car but a European car just as a BMW build in the US is US car (hint, all the X-series).

RE: America
By hexxthalion on 3/31/11, Rating: 0
Another ridiculous lawsuit...
By masamasa on 3/30/2011 10:52:46 AM , Rating: 3
Is that how everything in America is solved?

RE: Another ridiculous lawsuit...
By Flunk on 3/30/2011 10:54:58 AM , Rating: 3
Of course.

By YashBudini on 3/31/2011 10:25:44 PM , Rating: 2
There's usually an arse at one end or the other.

If you watch other episodes.
By corduroygt on 3/30/2011 8:47:09 AM , Rating: 2
You'd know that they actually really liked the Tesla Roadster. They just say, due to the problems they had, that it has bugs to be ironed out and the reliability has to be increased.

RE: If you watch other episodes.
By stu4500 on 3/30/2011 8:49:52 AM , Rating: 2
yes they liked it who in the real world wouldn't

RE: If you watch other episodes.
By silverblue on 3/30/2011 9:33:35 AM , Rating: 2
I don't follow. Must everyone share the same opinion?

By acpryor on 3/30/2011 9:05:16 AM , Rating: 2
what'd they expect? if they like it, good review... if not, negative review... you take your chances putting your product out there for review or comparison tests... not to mention the most popular car show ever.... they won't win...

By probedb on 3/30/2011 10:39:18 AM , Rating: 2
I'd love to know why they decided to sue. It's not like people really pay attention to Top Gear TV reviews over here. It's an entertainment show and not a serious reviews show, it stopped being that many years ago.

If you want more serious reviews then read the magazine.

The stupid thing is they wait for 2 years to do it. I guess they must need the money.

By BZDTemp on 3/30/2011 11:42:01 AM , Rating: 2
Top Gear is not a review show it's a comedy show with cars. But apart from that you are right, the Tesla people are stupid for doing this and if anything they are just coming of as bitter and pathetic.

Top Gear in the current format has always been more than willing to tell it like it is. Just some random knocks I remember are:
A BMW M5 that broke down when trying to do "The Lap".
A Ferrari 599 with a defective windshield wiper driving Clarkson to try and fix it using gaffa tape.
Numerous cars declared great but stupid.
A deceleration they'd love Alfa Romeo but would not recommend one.
The several episode portraying the poor quality of the Ford GT that Clarkson bought (Lousy fuel economy, immobilizer going crazy, impossible to enter due to the doors...)

It's like that lawsuit Tesla ran at Fisker. They lost that big time and this one they will lose also and look stupid doing so.

Top gear is for entertainment for serious
By vision33r on 3/30/2011 10:26:31 AM , Rating: 2
I never watched Top gear for their car reviews. I watched it for the entertainment of poking fun at different cars and the show's antics.

I've never taken the show's words as facts or a serious review of a car.

However, I do agree with Tesla. Top Gear has a tendency to go off against new car techs like hybrids, electric, and even auto tranny gearbox techs.

Jeremy is a purist and so is James. Hammond is the only one that embraces new car tech.

RE: Top gear is for entertainment for serious
By Scabies on 3/30/2011 1:14:35 PM , Rating: 2
Which is odd because in the same episode they review a pre-production hydrogen-electric Honda and praise it up and down for its potential to change motoring.

By shiftypy on 4/1/2011 6:29:31 AM , Rating: 2
Yes I remember that too
They didn't say one bad thing about FCX hydrogen car. Felt weird.

Tesla is just stupid. If you take Lotus Elise body and put 6000 laptop battries and an electric motor in it, sure it will be an awesome car but it can't possibly be perfect.
Yet in the public eye it was exactly that Tesla is greatest car ever. And Top Gear brought illustration against that image.

ohh come on....
By Integral9 on 3/30/2011 8:13:50 AM , Rating: 5
1) Jeremy Clarkson just hates electric cars, he's admitted it.
2) Tesla didn't discount any of the statements made by Top Gear:
...a) The car won't go 210miles on a track. Range is estimated by "average driving", which doesn't include a track or even aggressive driving
...b) The cars did break down... sorry tesla. You know you had design problems when you were working out your transmission issues. Did you think the problems stopped there?
3) You are competing with cars that have decades of race car building experience and while they are refining their instrument clusters, you are still working out power train issues.
4) Suck it up Tesla and admit your car isn't ready for more track time than a 3 lap "Sunday Cup".

5) Who cares? It's still the world's first production electric sport car. If I had a garage to charge it in, I'd still buy one. :)

RE: ohh come on....
By stu4500 on 3/30/11, Rating: 0
By LuxFestinus on 3/30/2011 8:13:19 AM , Rating: 2
One cannot discount the Barbara Streisand effect going on here as well.

By stu4500 on 3/30/2011 8:31:33 AM , Rating: 2
The best thing that can happen real world comments without corporate input just have deal with it

By danobrega on 3/30/2011 8:37:37 AM , Rating: 2
Despite the show's buffoonery

He just admitted that it's the viewers that misinterpret Clarkson's words. Good luck with that.

RE: Duh!
By stu4500 on 3/30/2011 8:43:22 AM , Rating: 2
buffoonery that's a big word

eum 2years later?
By plopke on 3/30/2011 9:08:33 AM , Rating: 1
I couldn't even remmeber they made that , I mean 2 years ago. They just point out general downsides of electric cars and what problems they encountered?

Beeing a true fan of the show I kinda disspointed this dint happen durign a season ;p.

Anyway topgear be prepared for a shitload of lawsuits then ,some that i can quickly think off.

-BMW : X5 nonesense
-Ferrari GTO : Calling it just a stupid branded car
-Peugeot : For beeing called borign and stupid most of the time.
-Volkswagen : 16 seseaons of beetle hate
-Every single caravan maker
-Mexico : for calling them lazy basterds
-French people : for suggesting the world would be a better place with lot less of them
-Lorry drivers : they really do not all talk about prostetues
-Bus drivers : they really aren't assholes

RE: eum 2years later?
By mcnabney on 3/30/2011 12:49:12 PM , Rating: 3
Those are all editorial judgments, which are totally protected.

Tesla is accusing them of fabrications and making things up that did not happen. If the car did not fail on the road and require pushing to get it back to the garage YOU BETTER NOT REPORT IT AS SUCH. A falsehood with the intent to cause harm is the definition of libel, so Top Gear and the BBC could have a problem.

I don't get it.
By silverblue on 3/30/2011 9:31:08 AM , Rating: 2
The review was generally positive, and since it was broadcast, the BBC have come out and said that the scene with pushing them the car the garage was "in order to show what would happen if the Roadster had run out of charge".

So yes, they misled the public, but it's not as if Jeremy wasn't impressed with the Roadster. What would clear things up would be if Top Gear got a new Roadster to test and forgot the original test. Regardless, they took two years to complain about it. Did it really harm sales? I doubt it.

RE: I don't get it.
By silverblue on 3/30/2011 9:34:56 AM , Rating: 2
Apologies for my poor English there. I meant to say "the BBC have come out and said that the scene with them pushing the car into the garage was" but I lost track of the myriad of amendments I was making at the time.

Fat chance of success
By Beenthere on 3/30/2011 5:17:26 PM , Rating: 2
Tesla is just wasting U.S. tax payer money on this frivolous lawsuit. Top Gear is completely free to report their experiences as well as their opinion.

RE: Fat chance of success
By YashBudini on 4/1/2011 7:18:49 PM , Rating: 2
Of course, there is no law stopping anyone from making an arse out of themselves.

Libel is something else.

leverage for a new test?
By Avatar28 on 3/30/2011 1:37:12 PM , Rating: 3
I wonder if Tesla has even tried to get them to do a new test. I mean, if the original was two years ago then surely they have managed to get a number of the bugs worked out in the intervening time.

Maybe the show has refused to do a new review and they are using this as leverage to get them to give it another shot.

By The Imir of Groofunkistan on 3/30/2011 8:57:15 AM , Rating: 2
seemed like a rather fair evaluation to long as the script wasn't completely written beforehand as stated above. The lawsuit seems stupid. Grow up, take the criticism, and make the car even better. It's not as if they didn't point out the good parts too.

Real smart, Tesla. Real smart.
By Patrese on 3/30/2011 10:13:35 AM , Rating: 2
Suing Top Gear is one of the most stupid things you can do if you're a car maker. The show has an absolutely massive fanbase worldwide, is nowhere near factual (Clarkson himself said that lots of times) and all the fans know it. It also relies on huge amounts of comedy and exaggeration. I foresee a hilarious piece about Tesla coming on the first show of the next series which will make them look real stupid, borderline retarded, and full of quotes like:

"Don't sue us for that, Tesla. It's not a fact. We're just mocking the hell out of you. Because that's what we do for a living, you know. And don't fell special because of that. We do that with Peugeot, Citroen, Renault, British Layland, Kia, Hyundai, VW, TVR, Porsche, Toyota, Honda, Tata, Chevrolet, Ford, Chrysler, Lada, Fiat, Mercedes, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, BMW and... Tesla. Among all the other brands we tested on the last 16 seasons."

Nice photo
By Fracture on 3/30/2011 11:51:30 AM , Rating: 2
If you want to wear the same expression that Jeremy has in the photo, then you want to get an Ariel Atom and not some scaled up Power Wheels car.

You get what you pay for
By the goat on 3/30/2011 12:39:11 PM , Rating: 2
Had nobody at Tesla ever seen an episode of Top Gear before they got into bed with them? Top Gear is popular because they are honest with their reviews.

By Donovan on 3/30/2011 12:59:51 PM , Rating: 2
* The show stated that the car would run out of charge after only 55 miles on their track, then showed a scene of it being pushed to the garage.

* The show stated that the brakes had broken. Apparently a fuse blew that affected the braking assistance.

* The show stated that the motor overheated and that power was reduced. Apparently a thermal limit was reached which triggered the automatic power reduction.

- Top Gear's interpretation -

They said the car "would" run out, not "did". The scene of them pushing it off the track was a staged example of this. The mechanical problems did, in fact, occur.

- Tesla's interpretation -

The fact that the event was staged was not clear to viewers. The mechanical problems were hyped to give the false impression that the cars were not drivable.

- My thoughts -

I think it is fair to say that the presentation of the mechanical issues was very misleading, but I'm not sure that is enough for Tesla to prevail. The staged scene of the car running out of power isn't a big deal in the context it was presented, especially when they could have kept driving until the scene became real if they felt like wasting a few hours.

top gear
By kleinma on 3/30/2011 5:36:59 PM , Rating: 2
I just wish I could watch the actual BBC top gear here instead of the US knock off top gear they started running here.

By garagisti on 3/31/2011 2:31:42 AM , Rating: 2
Top Gear UK made an episode where they made their own EV, 'Hammerhead Eagle I-Thrust' and just for kicks they sent it to Autocar... Of-course they'd know a lot about cars and dare i say, James May may as well possibly give Tesla engineers more insight on re-engineering it. They've often stated what the real world problems are when you own an electric vehicle, like limited range and not so frequent recharge stations.

The lads are big fans of good/ great engineering and know their gold from turd, and well, you can't really pull wool on their eyes. They've knocked about Ferrari, Ford, Skoda, BMW, Audi, VW, Jaguar, Aston Martin, British Leyland amongst so many others and so many a times, it is hard to keep a count. I must say this, only a few times ever, it is more exaggerated and then it is meant to be more funny/ hilarious than anything else. The last episode of 16th season, they even knocked about Bentley, which Clarkson and Co absolutely love, because they acted in a ridiculous manner and not provided a car.

This is a no brainer and unless the judge really hates Britain/ Britishers, really a positive judgment for Tesla is not likely.

That auto show is just a joke
By Dax47 on 4/2/2011 3:35:49 PM , Rating: 2
Has nothing profesional to do with cars. It`s only a circus, a show made by 3 clowns that are trying to be funny, but most of the times they just look stupid.

Tesla is not the only car company trashed in this joke of a car test show.

I stoped watching top gear a long long time ago. For those who really are interested in cars, top gear fails totally. A big waste of time.

How to measure bias.
By YashBudini on 3/30/2011 1:10:53 PM , Rating: 1
Ask your how would the review had been worded if a Ferrari or a Lamborghini had the similar problems?

By stu4500 on 3/30/11, Rating: -1
RE: Yeah
By mcnabney on 3/30/2011 9:01:39 AM , Rating: 2
I thought the bodies and assembly were done in the Lotus plant in the UK?

RE: Yeah
By stu4500 on 3/30/2011 9:04:10 AM , Rating: 2
but the drivetrain is not

RE: Yeah
By Flunk on 3/30/2011 10:57:19 AM , Rating: 2
No, the majority of that is Japanese.

RE: Yeah
By YashBudini on 3/30/11, Rating: 0
RE: Yeah
By YashBudini on 3/30/2011 6:47:29 PM , Rating: 2
Idiots, cold beer was meant as a US product.

By vazili on 3/30/11, Rating: -1
RE: really?
By stu4500 on 3/30/2011 9:01:26 AM , Rating: 5
100 grand why wouldn't you drive it like that

RE: really?
By mcnabney on 3/30/2011 12:41:25 PM , Rating: 1
Because what they do is illegal on public roads and most private tracks won't allow it either.

RE: really?
By Camikazi on 3/30/2011 9:28:35 AM , Rating: 2
The Tesla is not an ordinary car, at 110k, it's an exotic sports car, just like most every car they test on the show. You send your sports car to be tested on the show then you should know what they will do to it and you should know they will not be kind if it breaks.

RE: really?
By Mitch101 on 3/30/2011 11:52:59 AM , Rating: 2
Makes me wish Saturn was around before GM ruined them. Anyone recall the commercials about them sending engineers out to examine various car problems? What I liked is they didnt claim they were perfect but were trying and were interested in making a better car more than blaming everyone else for why there were problems and taking responsibility for what would be a design or manufacturing issue.

RE: really?
By Spuke on 3/30/2011 9:56:48 AM , Rating: 2
No ordinary driver will drive their car like the show does.
Actual owners of this car DO drive it like on the show. There's a guy down in Malibu that had to get his car towed home because he was romping on it in the hills around there. It's a sports car not a Prius.

RE: really?
By Flunk on 3/30/2011 11:31:48 AM , Rating: 2
yes, the Prius is a lot more reliable.

RE: really?
By ekv on 3/30/2011 3:07:52 PM , Rating: 2
just be careful where you put the boot

"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs
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